John Rodriguez

John Rodriguez

Submitted photo

On Aug. 9 the Republican candidates for Arizona’s newest Congressional seat, Congressional District 9, will face off with each other in Ahwatukee hoping to win votes to secure the party’s nomination. The victor will then face the winner of the Democratic primary in November for what will be one congressional seat both parties will be eyeing to add to their column.

Unlike traditional debates, this event will not have participation from a special interest group, political party, organization, nonprofit or media outlet. This debate is being hosted by me, an Arizona voter without the help of any group.

Why? I got tired of seeing candidates attacking each other taking time away from the issues that were important to me and my family. Long winded speeches from members of the audience were also a big turn-off. And finally, candidates often times ask supporters to attend debates to ask mean spirited questions to a challenger which, like personal attacks, took time away from the issues that were more important. I also did not like how debates tend to favor one candidate over another or give a pass to tough questions to the favored candidate. Rest assured, this debate will focus on issues and not the other nonsense. Candidates will be given equal numbers of questions; no limit to the questions asked, soft ball questions and personal attacks between candidates will NOT be permitted.

In fairness to the candidates, an offer was sent to each candidate inviting them to meet with me prior to the debate to see if they had any questions about me and how my debates are presented. This being the fourth election cycle hosting a congressional debate in as many years, an American first, each candidate understands the rules of the debate and have agreed to attend this debate with that understanding.

Many East Valley voters do not know that the 5th Congressional District has changed and much of CD9 will replace the current area of representation along with the current Congressman David Schweikert. Congressional District 9 includes all of Ahwatukee and parts of Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Fountain Hills, and the central corridor. Some voters also may not know that Independent voters can also vote in the Republican primary.

At the debate, candidates will not only deal with national issues such as the national economy, immigration reform, the war in Afghanistan, and the growing threats in Iran, they will also address issues that are closer to home. The newest Congress person will represent all of Ahwatukee and, if history repeats itself, residents of Ahwatukee will want to know the candidate’s position on the proposed South Mountain Freeway. The East Valley also has large retirement communities and they, too, have questions that are important to them.

The debate will be at the Pecos Community Center, 17010 S. 48th St. in Ahwatukee, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Moderators for the debate will be Susan Bitter-Smith and Ed Phillips.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident John D. Rodriguez is a community organizer and a sports agent. He can be reached at (602) 526-7512 or

(1) comment


I like the format in this debate, however, like most plans of mice and men, will the planned debate be as planned or will it stray from the carefully planned lay out? As everyone knows politicians have there own format and it is not the same as ours. This is proven every day in Washington. Our concerns are not their concerns. We want a government by the people and for the people. Politicians want a government which will line their pockets the quickest. Debate all you want but in the end all you get is someone who is seeking to line thier pockets. Stop and think how much money it costs to run a campaign compared to the salary these people receive. Now, you tell me why they are running for office. GREED!!

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