Kyrsten Sinema

Congressional candidate Kyrsten Sinema spent some time with Ahwatukee Foothills voters at the Democrats and Doughnuts meeting at Biscuits Wednesday morning telling them about her tough childhood and why it made her decide to run for U.S. Congress.

Sinema was born and raised in Tucson but moved to Florida after her parents divorced. When her step father could not find a job they ended up homeless. That experience made Sinema want to help families in a similar situation. As she got older she was able to go to college through Pell Grants and scholarships and became a social worker in Arizona.

Sinema eventually took her concerns for poor working families to Arizona legislators and finding no support, she decided to run for the Legislature herself. Now after seven years in the Legislature, Sinema is taking her concerns to Congress.

“Last year we were in the middle of a Tea Party Senate,” Sinema said. “I thought to myself that here we are in the middle of a Tea Party Senate where things are really bad, but I was still able to get eight pieces of legislation passed last year to help families in Arizona. Then I took a look at Congress and what did they accomplish last year? Nothing. They spent the entire year fighting on Fox News and didn’t pass a single bit of jobs legislation, didn’t do anything to help those facing foreclosure, they took forever to expand unemployment benefits for people and then here in Arizona our Legislature decided not to take advantage of that.

“That’s when I thought to myself that I’ve got to get to Congress. We need people who can reach across the aisle and get things done. I believe it’s time that we have a common sense, practical person who will stand strong for our Democratic values but has the ability to reach across the aisle to get things done.”

Sinema promised to create a climate of working together and focus on jobs and education if elected.

While Sinema spoke in Ahwatukee a new candidate announced a run for Congress. Republican Vernon Parker, former mayor of Paradise Valley, announced his candidacy and challenged Sinema and all other candidates to join him in calling for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“I was raised by my grandmother and during my early years I saw firsthand the desperation that so many lower income families feel, and came to the realization that the only way to succeed in life is through hard work,” Parker said in a statement. “It’s a perseverance that my grandmother instilled in me as a young man, through college, law school, in the White House and as mayor. It’s that tireless perseverance that will allow me to represent the people of Arizona in Congress and to always remember where I came from and what a difference one determined individual can make.

“Today I start the most important journey of my life, to represent the people of Arizona in Congress. We must find common sense solutions to fixing our economy, lowering gas prices, getting our housing market working again and to repeal the disastrous law known as Obamacare. That’s why I am asking my fellow candidates to join me in pledging to vote for a repeal of Obamacare.”

During a question and answer period Sinema told those present at Biscuits she would continue to support the Affordable Care Act.

“Studies have shown that when you talk about the individual elements of the Affordable Care Act, they are supported by 70-plus percent of our residents,” Sinema said. “My strategy is to lay it all out and say point blank, ‘Do you think it’s OK for the health care industry to refuse to cover a child who has down syndrome?’ Prior to the Affordable Care Act it was OK.”

Sinema will be running against Andrei Cherny and David Shapira in the Democratic primary. Republicans running for the office include Wendy Rogers, Martin Sepulveda and Travis Grantham. Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley entered briefly but has since ended his campaign.

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