Kyrsten Sinema

Citing the Ahwatukee Foothills as a key to her re-election bid later this year, Congresswomen Kyrsten Sinema made a rare visit to the area Wednesday morning.

Between cracks at Congress’ gridlock the District 9 U.S. Representative touched on her accomplishments in her first year and looked ahead to what she called an upcoming “doozey” election season during a nearly 30-minute talk at a Democrats and Donuts event.

Sinema spoke on immigration, veterans’ issues, the Affordable Care Act, the minimum-wage debate and prepped her supporters for the upcoming campaign.

“I want to briefly update you on Congress,” the freshman Congresswoman told close to 60 people at Biscuits Restaurant, “and since it’s Congress so it will be brief.”

On immigration: “We have the votes to pass an immigration bill on the House floor but don’t have the leadership to get a bill to the House floor. ... We’ll keep fighting until we get immigration reform. We need it, not only for the Arizona economy but because it’s the right thing to do.”

On the Affordable Care Act: “We need to fix it, not repeal it. That’s what the country has told us.”

On the minimum wage: “I support a raise to $10.10. The chance of that happening with this Congress: Zero. It’s an election year.”

And on her re-election bid: “This year is going to be a tough year but our goal this election is to win on election night, which means by a larger margin.”

Sinema, who did not carry Ahwatukee two years ago when she defeated Republican candidate Vernon Parker by 4.1 percent in a hotly contested race that was finally called six days after election day, said the small segment of Phoenix in District 9 will play a pivotal role in November.

“Ahwatukee is the swingiest of swing neighborhoods in our District,” she said. “If we win Ahwatukee we’ll win this election.”

District 9 is comprised of all of Tempe and parts of Paradise Valley, Mesa and Chandler as well as Ahwatukee. Sinema’s top challengers at this time are expected to be Republicans Wendy Rogers, a retired Air Force pilot, and Andrew Walter, the former ASU and NFL quarterback.

Recent reports said Sinema already raised more than $1 million for her campaign, compared to $300,000 for Rogers and less than $200,000 for Walter.

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