Tuesday night Arizona released its primary results and they should produce one of the most interesting and pivotal Senate races of 2018. Republican Jeff Flake’s retirement created an open seat in a state that while still red is certainly trending blue. Both parties selected their most electable candidate and both are women in what is looking like a year of the woman. Both are currently serving in the House. This should be a horse race where the Republicans are defending a seat that is one of three best pick-up opportunities for the Democrats who need to flip a net of two in order to take control of the upper chamber of Congress. In researching Democrat Kyrsten Sinema I found, as expected, a somewhat left-leaning moderate. To my surprise I discovered a much more interesting than anticipated candidate from the personal profile standpoint. In fact she may be the prototype Democratic candidate if they want to win in places they haven’t had historical success and appeal to the increasing pool of voters who reject party labels. Let’s explore.
Kyrsten received her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University at the age of 18 – about the age when most people graduate from high school. She went on to earn a Master’s in Social Work, a Juris Doctorate and a Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. She was raised Mormon but left the church about the time she left BYU. Today she identifies as a non-theist and governs as a secular American. Just the way the First Amendment stipulates and the Founders intended.
She is openly bi-sexual, which I’m sure will get a lot of noise during the campaign. Not surprisingly Sinema is a defender of LGBT rights and advocate for LGBT issues. She strongly supports equal opportunity laws and policies.
Her work history is diverse and illustrates her devotion to serving her fellow man. She was a social worker from 1999 to 2002. She began practicing as a criminal attorney in 2005. In 2004 she was elected to the Arizona legislature where she served until her election to the House of Representatives in 2012. During much of that time she was also adjunct faculty at ASU teaching graduate level courses in policy and grant writing.
As someone who obviously cares about the environment she began in politics in the Green Party. In 2000 she worked on the Ralph Nader campaign. Later she realized the most politically practical way to help her cause while still staying true to it was to run as a Democrat.
In the House she has been a member of both the Blue Dog Coalition and the Problem Solvers Caucus. The former being a collection of Democrats who are willing to work with Republicans; the latter a group with an equal number of House members of both parties dedicated to finding bi-partisan solutions to the country’s challenges.
Coming from Arizona it is tough to be liberal on immigration and win elected office. Kyrsten has been a consistent defender of the Dreamers. She voted against the abolishment of ICE. I am among the progressives who take a practical view of ICE; it needs to be reformed and have its priorities adjusted, not be abolished.
She is liberal on women’s issues, supporting the right to choose. She is endorsed by Emily’s List and earned a 100 rating from Planned Parenthood.
Health care is emerging as the number one issue for Democrats to run on in 2018 and Sinema will please progressives with her stances. She voted to keep Obamacare favoring improving the law, not abandoning it. She believes in health care for all but stays away from using the term “universal health care” because that verbiage doesn’t play well with Arizona voters. Under no circumstances will she compromise on protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions.
She supports reducing overall defense spending without jeopardizing national security. Someday we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that we keep a lot of bases open and weapons systems deployed for political not military reasons and we simply cannot afford to continue that practice.
America has a gun culture and few states better illustrate that than Arizona. Considering that, Sinema has taken some courageous stances on firearms. She is in favor of expanded background checks to include gun shows. She wants all guns licensed. These stances are consistent with those of the vast majority of Americans. In the process she has earned a 29 rating from the NRA and a “D” from the Gun Owners of America. Those are poor ratings which speak well of her.
Sinema hasn’t forgotten America’s senior citizens. She is a strong defender of both Social Security and Medicare. She opposed raising the retirement age.
The biggest problems progressives will have with her are that she is in favor of the Estate Tax and has not been a staunch defender of the Consumer Fraud Protection Bureau. To that I say, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Considering all this it is without reservation that tellthetruthonthem.com endorses Kyrsten Sinema for the United States Senate from Arizona. From a pure political junkie standpoint, this race will be one worth keeping an eye on!
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