YUMA, Ariz. – ABC5 Anchor Ella Sogomonian interviews U.S. Representative for the state of Arizona Ann Kirkpatrick (D) who is running for the U.S. Senate seat in the November primaries.
ES: “Welcome, I’m now joined here by U.S. Representative for the state of Arizona, Ann Kirkpatrick (D) who is campaigning for the U.S. Senate seat for the state of Arizona. Congresswoman, if you could tell us a little bit about your background I know that you were a small business owner, and of course most recently a U.S. Representative. So how would your experience benefit the state if elected in that seat especially in comparison to Senator McCain who has held that position for 30 years and is running for his sixth term?”
AK: “Well that’s very true and he represents what’s wrong in Washington he’s a prime example of that dysfunctional out of touch Washington establishment. All my work is for Arizona I was born and raised in this state on the White mountain Apache nation a small timber community and over the years I’ve see Arizona go through too many boom and bus cycles. My vision for Arizona is to build a strong, diverse and stable economy. And there are two important things to get that done. One is comprehensive immigration reform that includes the Dream Act and the other is building a rural class education system so we can have those educated workforce for the 21st century. I serve on the transportation infrastructure committee and also agriculture. And two important economic sectors for Arizona, but I always put Arizona first.
ES: “How do you feel that your previous experience will come to the table in order to serve the platforms that you will be focusing on?”
AK: “I took the Arizona values that I learned growing up here to congress. I’m not a partisan games player I’m there to get things done and I work with my colleagues across the isle because there are so many issues we are working on that are not partisan for instance I do a lot of work with veterans. So I want to thank all your watchers out there who are veterans. Thank you for your service. But I travel all over the state and I’m hearing from our veterans who have already paid the price they’ve served our country and yet they can’t get the benefits that they’ve earned especially in the tribal and rural areas.
ES: “We are predominantly in a red state so how do you feel as a representative of the democratic party as well as how would you use that voice in order to come up with ways to combat the issues like you mention education which is something you are going to pursue?”
AK: “Well Arizona is changing, but people tell me they want problem solvers. They want people who can go in there, work across the isle beyond party lines and get things done. And they are frustrated quite honestly with the gridlock in Washington.”
ES: “You said that for the state of Arizona agriculture is really important and we are pretty low-rated for our education levels so what are some of the things that you would like to focus on in those arenas but also to boost the economic growth especially in Yuma County where we have a really high unemployment rate?”
AK:“You do have high unemployment I spent this morning visiting some farms going around talking with the farmers and they really stressed importance of doing comprehensive immigration reform that includes a guest worker program. I went to the port of entry in San Luis and saw the long lines of cars and long lines of people. They were telling me what a struggle it is for some workers they have to get to the border at 3 a.m. to go work and those are the kinds of problems I am interested in solving. But also water is a major issue. You know we saw what happened to California last year so with the drought that’s something that we need to continue to work on. but quite honestly I support the farm bill because I’m on the agriculture committee but John McCain doesn’t. And so that’s a real distinction for people to think about as they’re making a decision next November.”
ES: “And when we did sit down with Senator McCain he did express his platforms would be water but also wildfires as a result of the drought as well so how would you approach it in a different manner?”
“Well actually getting things done. And so we put together a collaboration of people to look at the wildfire issue. Again non-partisan, bi-partisan, working across the isle, actually being able to come up with a national model that brings back the timber industry, creates jobs, creates forest health. And So I think the difference is the results that I’ve been actually able to get and people will see that.”
ES: “And in your time as representative of the state what are some of those things that you have gotten to accomplish that you are proud of today?”
AK: “Congressman Gosar and I have worked on come Arizona-specific legislation, wildfire legislation is part of that, then we have done some things to clear up titles on land exchanges we did a major project over near the Copper Corridor that will create over 4,000 jobs. So it’s actually getting those jobs to those areas. Bringing back the timber industry, bringing back that diversification, making sure that our farmers have the workforce that they need to have a thriving economy.”
ES: “Thank you so much for joining us that concludes our interview with Congresswoman Kirkpatrick who is running for the U.S. Senate seat in this coming primary election.”