On a sparkling spring day in Tucson, Democrat Mark Kelly announced his candidacy for US Senate to a packed outdoor audience at the Hotel Congress in Tucson.
“This campaign is a mission for Arizona. This is a mission to lift up hardworking Arizonans, making Arizona safe and secure, to give every family in this state access to affordable healthcare, and to make sure wages grow for the middle class,” the former astronaut said. “I have traveled many miles to stand here today — 22 million miles, I think.”
Kelly invited several hundred people gathered to hear him to join his mission:
- If you want to reward work over wealth, join us.
- If you believe our strength is our middle class, and not the upper class join us.
- If you think affordable health care is a right and want lower prescription drug prices, this is the mission for you.
- If you know that Medicare and Social Security are earned, and we have to keep our promises to our seniors, sign up today.
- If you want college to be affordable and you want to make sure there are opportunities for good paying jobs for Americans who will not go to college, join us.
- If you believe we need to protect our children, our kids, from being shot in their classrooms or walking to school, that we need to make our communities safer from gun violence, please be part of this mission.
- If you want to take care of veterans and provide for the care and services they need, this is the team for you.
- If you know it’s long past time that we fix our broken immigration services, join us.
- If you believe that securing our border but doing it smartly, and not demonizing people and breaking up families, join this mission.
- If you understand that keeping Arizona habitable for our kids means addressing climate change today, we need you on board.
- If you want to put people ahead of corporate special interests and lobbyists and get dark money out of politics, we need you.
- If you feel in your heart the urgency of this moment, the importance of this election, join this mission for Arizona.
Kelly flew 39 combat missions during the first Gulf War and was a test pilot before becoming an astronaut. Kelly flew four space missions over 10 years, flying around the earth 853 times, and commanded the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 2011.
Kelly is running against the unpopular Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who ignored her constituents for two terms in Congress, lost the 2018 race for US Senate, and got into office only by appointment by the Governor.
A new poll conducted in the days after Kelly said he would run for a U.S. Senate seat puts him in a statistical tie with Sen. Martha McSally. Meanwhile, Kelly raised more than $1 million in the first 24 hours after his announcement Feb. 12 that he was running.
Kelly’s wife, former Congressman Gabby Giffords, also addressed the crowd, saying, “We need bold solutions, courageous ideas, leaders who put people first, not politics. I know the perfect person for the job. He’s tough, he’s smart, he works just as hard as I do — well, almost,” she said to a cheering crowd. “My partner, my rock, Mark Kelly.”
Gabby was shot in the head by a crazed gunman at a “Congress on your corner” event in Tucson eight years ago, but recovered.
Kelly and Giffords founded an organization called Giffords to fight gun violence. “The laws that we helped pass have certainly saved lives and protected families,” Kelly said.
Kelly saw the earth in orbit, a bright blue round ball against the blackness of space. As a result, many people ask him about climate change. “Don’t worry about the planet. The earth is going to be just fine. You know what we need to worry about, is us. All of us.”
“The current administration and some in Congress have been bad for our planet, bad for our climate, and bad for Arizona. If we don’t our act together soon, Arizona is going to have more heat, more drought, and less economic growth. We have to look this problem in the face and find solutions, and not ignore it.”