Harry Mitchell

The primary in Congressional District 9 has pitted three of the brightest members of the Democratic Party in Arizona against each other.

All three candidates are leaders in our state and I am honored to call them friends. I believe that each of them would serve admirably — and the creation of this new district that includes the Valley’s communities of Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, south Scottsdale and north Phoenix has presented a great opportunity to send a strong community-based representative to Congress.

The East Valley has always been a unique collection of neighborhood-based communities in Arizona, especially when it comes to who we choose to represent us. Yes, we’ve disagreed on issues and done so passionately. Yes, we’ve debated and we’ve fought hard. But the nature of our politics has become increasingly polarized and divisive. This is why I didn’t wade into endorsing a candidate in this race lightly.

I believe it is important that we elect someone who understands and values neighborhood-based communities — and will work hard to represent it. This is why I’ve decided to cast my primary vote for State Senator and Tempe Union High School Governing Board Member, David Schapira.

I’ve often said that you can’t be successful unless other people want you to be. For the better part of 40 years, I’ve held the titles of teacher, councilman, mayor, senator and Congressman. I’ve been blessed to have so many people in our community be supportive of me. This is why I hope you will join me in supporting David Schapira for Congress.

• Harry E. Mitchell was a member of Congress from 2007 to 2011.

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