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Congressional District 2 candidates Q&A

There are 11 candidates in the primary race for the U.S. House seat in Congressional District 2 — seven Democrats and four Republicans. One from each party will advance to the general election in November.

Ten returned a questionnaire from Wick Communications’ Southern Arizona newspapers; their answers have not been edited, and appear below. Yahya Yuksel, a Democrat, did not return the questionnaire.

Do you support construction of a border wall? If so, how extensive and how will it be paid for?

Matt Heinz-D: I think it’s important to note that we already have a border wall. The real issue at hand is that of the technological improvements that are needed to prevent human trafficking and stopping the drug trade.

Ann Kirkpatrick-D: I do not support building a wall.  As a former prosecutor, I understand the value of security, and a wall won't provide it. Walls can be tunneled under or climbed over.  I support making a significant investment in border security, and I have voted for that in Congress.  We must also adequately staff our ports of entry to facilitate trade and travel in an orderly fashion.  I also support policies that keep families together, I reject the Trump Administration’s agenda of building a wall. We should not be targeting productive working people for deportation.

Billy Kovacs-D: No. I do not support the construction of the border wall. What we do need is a comprehensive strategy to increase trade and capacity of our Douglas port of entry to spur economic development in rural Arizona. We need to put more money into trade schools, job training programs, and education than another border wall.

Lea Marquez Peterson-R: I support a wall where it makes sense geographically. I have spent time in Cochise County with Sherriff Dannels and ranchers along the border and they have reinforced we need more deterrents to keep people from crossing illegally. The wall is only part of the solution, we need more surveillance technology and more border patrol. We also need to make sure our border sheriffs have the resources they need to combat the crime associated with these crossings. We can find room in our bloated budget, we just need the political will to do so.

Brandon Martin-R: I support construction of a border wall across our southern border with Mexico. Mexico should in some fashion contribute to securing the international border. Good diplomatic negotiations may not include the price of bricks or steel but could address technology or physical border security.

Mary Matiella-D: No. Trump’s border wall is dumb. First, we already have a wall across much of our border. Second, the proposed wall would split the sovereign Tohono O’odham Nation. Third, scientists agree the wall would be an unmitigated disaster ecologically. And fourth, the wall would not make us safer. More than 80% of the contraband that comes across the border is smuggled through our ports of entry, yet fewer than 10% of vehicles are searched at the port. Heavily armed troops running around the desert, tactical teams harassing communities of color, and permanent “temporary” checkpoints are not making us safer.

Danny DJ Morales-R: * YES * The wall should be as contiguous as possible and as close to the designs tested by special operations units in San Diego * The wall could be funded by assets seized from cartels and terror organizations

Barbara Sherry-D: I do not support the construction of a border wall. It would be a surplurflous waste of money that would do very little to deter illegal immigration. It would instead send a message of hate to the rest of the world, potentially destroy Native and privately owned land, and would be a drain of American taxpayer money.

Casey Welch-R: Yes, I am for the border wall. If you going to build it, build the entire wall. The wall should be paid for through legal immigration. For every application to legally enter the United States simply add X amount to the total application fee.

Bruce Wheeler-D: No.

How will we know when we have a secure border? What would it look like?

Heinz: Our border will be secure when we can prevent criminal activities relating to drugs and human trafficking while also maintaining our commitment to being a welcoming nation of immigrants where everyone has the opportunity to live the American dream.

Kirkpatrick: Some say that we need to secure the border before we can address immigration. That approach guarantees failure. The problems are intertwined. The bill written by Senators Flake and McCain in 2013 is the best approach. It passed the Senate by a two-thirds margin in June, 2013. We spend more money today on border security than at any time in our history. We’ve doubled the number of border agents from 2003 to 2016. It’s time to address immigration. 

Kovacs: If we actually wanted to solve our southern border issue we would need to readdress our foreign policy in terms of our approach to helping to solve the overwhelming gang violence problem in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that we helped create through our mass deportation programs over the last decade and destabilization of governments and business in those countries. Since our increase of border funds to Mexico using the Merida initiative we only slowed down the amount of migrants that were coming into our country from these countries, and have had little effect on stopping the real border issue that happens to plague Mexico’s southern border.

Marquez Peterson: We will know when our border communities feel safe and secure — this won’t happen until there is a significant decrease in human and drug trafficking across our southern border. To achieve this, we need deterrents in place; a physical wall, additional border patrol agents, resources to border sheriffs and technology they need to be successful.

Martin: When immigrants from other countries arrive at ports of entry instead of crossing the desert. When our men and women in law enforcement are no longer at risk in rescue operations. When deaths from synthetic drugs sharply decrease and stop destroying American families, we will know what a secure border looks like.

Matiella: The border will never be secure, in the eyes of some, as long as there are minorities to scapegoat for this country's problems. But there are things we can do to make the border safer. Americans consume large amounts of illegal, imported drugs. Marijuana, a substance objectively safer than alcohol is the most smuggled. By growing marijuana in America and regulating it like alcohol, you take the cartel's number one product away. Additionally, we need to overhaul guest-worker programs and to end the visa backlog to more accurately accommodate and regulate the immigrants our economy and nation require to thrive. 

Morales: * When we cease to apprehend the same illegal aliens multiple times * When sensors and cameras stop picking up the traffic they do now * When Sheriff Deputies like my colleagues stop responding to 911 calls from lost and injured illegal aliens * When ranchers see a decrease in foot traffic, drug mules, home invasions, and human remains on their properties

Sherry: We’ll have a secure border when legal immigration into this country is reasonably attainable. Some people seeking legal immigration are getting deported. People flee here to escape extreme hardship. Rather than focusing on the issues that cause people to flee in the first place, the government focuses on deporting as many people who attempt to immigrate as possible. People will always try to get into the States to escape extreme hardship in their home countries. Without reasonably attainable legal immigration, people will still find a way in by any means possible, because it’s a matter of life or death.

Welch: Even after a border wall, drones, electronic surveillance, and expanded border patrol we can never be 100% secure. We can however get pretty close. Anything is better than what we have now.

Wheeler: When the overwhelming number of border crossings are conducted legally, orderly, fairly, and humanely.

Comprehensive immigration reform: What does that term mean to you, and how can we achieve it?

Heinz: Comprehensive immigration reform means protecting our border economy, creating a pathway to citizenship, and have a frank and honest discussion about reforming the systems in place for asylum seekers as well as those who have come to our country to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Kirkpatrick: Currently, roughly ten million undocumented people live and work in our country. They pay taxes and contribute to our economy, but they live in the shadows for fear of deportation. This creates a terrible situation where law-abiding people who witness crimes are afraid to alert the police for fear that they will be deported. This situation should be rectified. 

In 2013, the US Senate passed a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill which addressed the matter. The bill passed 68 to 32. The bill included strengthened border security, improved workplace enforcement, created a guest worker program so needed works can return to their country when their job is finished, put sanctions on companies which hire illegally, and created a pathway to citizenship for people who have been in our country for years working and abiding by the law. 

Sadly, the Republicans who ran the House of Representatives refused to allow a debate or a vote on this bill, which mustered support from 68% of US Senators. This is the correct approach to the issue, but until we have sensible leadership in Congress, we will continue to be stuck in neutral.

Kovacs: We need an immigration enforcement system that emphasizes and prioritizes removing criminals not non-dangerous law-abiding individuals. This policy is humane and it makes our country safer. We must not separate families at the border, go after non violent immigrants that are awaiting work authorization or visa application approval, and we must redirect border patrol and immigration officials to go after drug traffickers, sex traffickers, and the illegal smuggling of narcotics at our ports of entry.

Marquez Peterson: It’s critical that it starts with securing border. There are a lot of complexities to this issue, but I believe we need to move toward a merit-based system and limit the acceptance of extended family members. I do support finding a legal solution for DACA recipients but do not support amnesty. I would also like immigration reform to include elements of increased access to Work Visas combined with a push toward E-Verify amongst employers.

Martin: Comprehensive immigration reform is a political buzz phrase for saying that politicians intend to make new laws to replace the ones that they already fail to enforce. Security will be addressed and then discussion of merit based immigration, strengthening E-verify, and ending the diversity lottery and chain migration will follow.

Matiella: I believe in comprehensive immigration reform that includes protecting DREAMers, providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, and reducing the current visa backlog. Our nation’s economy requires migrant labor, and in larger numbers than are legally allowed for. Reform should also recognize the humanity in every person regardless of ethnicity or nation of origin. How do we achieve it? We elect a Democratic Congress and President. I hate to be partisan about it, but when Republicans control every branch of government as they do now, you see immigration reform is not at all a priority.

Morales: * Attracting and easing the process for immigrants most likely to be productive, law-abiding, assimilating, and self-dependent citizens. * Enforcing laws like Mexico that make entry and stays harder for those who violate visa status, interfere in domestic elections, who enter under false pretenses, who fail to abide by terms of entry, who engage in smuggling/trafficking, and who are not self-sufficient. * Tightening employment practices such as E-Verify and eliminating loopholes that are currently being abused such as the visa lottery system and chain migration.

Sherry: Comprehensive immigration begins with well-defined immigration policies. The government needs to clearly establish how many immigrants our country will receive and from where, what the basis for accepted applications is, what the immigration process is, and what the enforcement of this policy looks like. There needs to be oversight into human rights abuses by agencies such as Border Patrol and ICE to rebuild their legitimacy that is almost completely dwindled, and our current administration must stop deporting those who are in the process of legally seeking asylum here.

Welch: Merit based immigration. Applicants need to show basic aptitude of English, and a High school equivalent for processing.

•End birthright citizenship

•Make e- verify mandatory for all business in the United States

•Focus “soft power” on international development, and stabilization in countries like El Salvador, Honduras, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Increasing the living standard for the citizens of these countries will cut down on illegal immigration.

Wheeler: We begin with renewing DACA and allowing Dreamers to earn the security of citizenship.

Would you support a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, the so-called “Dreamers”?

Heinz: Absolutely. These aspiring Americans, most of whom have known no other life than here in America, deserve the opportunity to become permanent citizens.

Kirkpatrick: I am a strong advocate for the DREAM Act, which offers a chance at the American dream to undocumented young people who were brought to this country as children and are now working hard, playing by the rules and helping to strengthen our communities. These people know no other country but ours and they are American in every sense other than the legal sense.

DACA recipients should have a pathway to citizenship rather than fear deportation.

Kovacs: Yes I would. We need to protect and defend DACA and pass the DREAM Act. It's time we offer a pathway to citizenship for the 800,000 immigrants who were brought here as children. I support a pathway to citizenship for our nation’s undocumented. I am against the forced deportation of 12 million people. It is not a humane, socially viable or fiscally responsible solution. Let’s bring these folks out of the shadows and get them right with the law and on the books.

Marquez Peterson: I support finding a legal solution for DACA recipients, but I do not support amnesty. A legal solution provided after passing background checks would allow them to remain and contribute to our economy, but they would not get ahead of those already inline for citizenship.

Martin: No. I will not support a reward for breaking the law by granting citizenship. I do believe in finding the best possible transition from the United States to home countries of DACA recipients.

Matiella: Yes. Supporting a pathway to citizenship for people brought to this country is the right thing to do. DREAMers are students, they are soldiers, they are our friends and neighbors. This is why the vast majority of Americans support providing them a pathway to citizenship. President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress refuse to act. We must change that.

Morales: * NO * I am open to protected VISA status for the rest who pass EXTREME VETTING

Sherry: I support a path to citizenship for Dreamers. It is immoral and in some cases dangerous and irresponsible to send these people back to the countries where they were born. People’s rights cannot ebb and flow with the changes in political power. Under the Obama administration, the Dreamers were told that they would be protected under this program, and willingly gave their information to the government. To deny a path to citizenship for DACA recipients sets precedent to deny rights to Americans for various reasons depending on who is in power at any given time.

Welch: No. I am completely against amnesty. The Dreamers were brought to the United States illegally, and live in the shadows. They should return to their own country and pursue legal immigration into the United States. Supporting a path to citizenship for DACA recipients is unfair to immigrants who have legally pursued and followed our immigration process. I would like to see Congress implement integration programs for legal immigrants, which would include opportunities for new immigrants to learn about the values and culture, and the English language of the United States before proceeding to U.S. citizenship.

Wheeler: Yes.

There is a backlog of more than 300,000 asylum applications in the United States, prompting long delays and opening up the system to potential fraud and abuse. How can this be addressed?

Heinz: As a physician, I understand how to work with different people to achieve a shared goal. In this instance, that means refining our asylum application process to improve efficiency while maintaining the security protocols necessary to keep our country safe.

Kirkpatrick: The way that the Senator McCain and Flake's bill dealt with this problem was to remove the green card quota on specific countries, and instead allow people to come for specific job roles. The bill created a visa for immigrants starting new companies, a visa for highly educated immigrants in science and technology fields, a card for agricultural workers and a temporary guest worker program. By letting guest workers legally go home to their countries, fewer undocumented people would be trapped in the US and unable to leave and return for seasonal work.

Kovacs: We can make reforms in our operations and regulations that can work to bring our asylum situation under control, while taking steps to work towards a humanitarian point of view that focuses on due process and one that avoids large scale detention.

Marquez Peterson: This is part of comprehensive immigration reform — there needs to be clearer rules and standards. There are abuses in the asylum system — there are too many cases that clearly do not meet asylum standards which clog up the system for people who should legitimately qualify.

Martin: We must modernize our outdated ports of entry. The Douglas port of entry was built in 1933 and has had no meaningful upgrades to support proper screening of people and materials coming across our border. A two-port system that would allow for moving commercial vehicles outside of Douglas while leaving pedestrian traffic in the city would be the secure solution.

Matiella: If we are truly concerned with the number of asylum applications, we must do more to address the conditions in the countries the seekers are fleeing from. U.S. foreign policy dating back to the 1950s created much of the unrest in the Central American countries these asylum-seekers are fleeing from. To ensure the well-being of those countries (and our own), we should work with those governments to address the brutal conditions from which their people are fleeing.

Morales: Streamline and automate the process by employing solutions based on operations research, systems engineering, and advanced cognitive technology to vet legitimate asylum seekers and their claims in person.

Sherry: Those who seek legal asylum in the US still may be arrested and prosecuted by the government just for making a mistake: entering at the wrong port of entry, missing court dates, etc. This is a waste of resources, especially with new Trump administration practices that prosecute these cases criminally, not civilly. While the government wastes resources prosecuting people entering this country legally, and while they waste resources imprisoning innocent children, they cannot handle their critical responsibility of processing asylum applications. Due to this failure, more than 300,000 human beings suffer.

Welch: Hiring more people to process the applications, and investing in computer science technology’s that can reduce the work load.

Wheeler: A) Cut the bureaucratic requirements, such as 24 pages of instructions and information.

B) Increase the biometric centers available. Some states have only one "application support center" for this and other purposes. This makes it time consuming to go through the process.

C) Increase accessibility and transportation to centers of review.

D) Increase the number of case workers.

U.S. Border Patrol is down about 2,000 agents, not counting 5,000 the president wants to add. How can we attract people to the job?

Heinz: Many people join the Border Patrol as a pathway to other jobs in law enforcement. Addressing this underlying trend is the first step to retaining more individuals to stay in a stable position.

Kirkpatrick: Border Agents need improved training and job benefits.

Kovacs: Over the past year the federal government has paid Accenture Financial Services $43 million dollars to hire roughly 600 employees to fill positions within Customs, CBP, and the Air Force & Marines which gives me the inclination that there is a larger issue of attracting personal to these departments. Many blame “The Democrats” but the facts say otherwise. We need reform Homeland Security and CBP to reduce the mandated amount of agents, and refocus efforts towards prioritizing trade, illegal drugs, and human trafficking.

Marquez Peterson: The hiring process for border patrol needs to be reformed. There are issues with the polygraph test that makes it difficult for passage. I think Congresswoman McSally was on the right track with her legislation that would seek to get more retired military members among the ranks of border patrol.

Matiella: The militarization of the border is ineffective at keeping us safe. It’s no wonder the Border Patrol is having a hard time finding people willing to roam the deserts or harass communities of color within our own borders. One solution for attracting applicants would be to change the demand. Instead of hiring more troops we should hire more customs officers to patrol the border at the border, specifically at the ports of entry.

Martin: We need military to patrol our southern border to provide security while border patrol is policing. The illicit activities of drug and human trafficking along with murder, rape and kidnapping pose an international concern that must be addressed. With Fort Huachuca and Davis-Monthan we have the infrastructure to protect our communities.

Morales: * Waive the polygraph to applicants from local law enforcement agencies who have already passed polygraphs and who have no disciplinary records

* Establish a direct-hiring pipeline for U.S. Military Police and Masters at Arms with cross-

training opportunities to gain federal law enforcement officer certification status prior to separation from active duty

* Establish a U.S. Border Patrol Reserve and Auxiliary similar to those of the U.S. Coast Guard

Sherry: Border Patrol is in a controversial limelight at the moment. It is often seen as synonymous with the even-more controversial ICE. Both organizations need reform and oversight before the American people will see them as anything besides rogue agencies with little regard for human life. Border Patrol agents are tasked with grueling, dangerous work. It is hard to attract anyone to that work, especially so when there is constantly news of abuse of power in this field and of human rights. I can’t remember a time when law enforcement at the border was less popular with the American public.

Welch: In most cases, the Border Patrol is our first line of defense. They have an incredibly dangerous job. Why shouldn’t the U.S. Border Patrol be offered the same benefits as the Defense department offers soldiers and Veterans to attract people to the job? Examples are, sign up bonuses, access to Veterans Affairs, Educational Benefits, Tuition Assistance, Border Patrol Opportunity Colleges, Education on Duty, clothing stipend, Advanced Technical and Specialty Training, Cash Bonuses, Tax-Free Housing & Food Allowances, or Free Room & Board, 30 Days of Vacation per Year, Pension, Substantial discounts and deals throughout the private sector (link to Deals center), Health & Dental Care for you and your family, Special deals on Home Loans (VA Loans link) to name a few.

Wheeler: I would question whether we require another 2,000 agents. Existing personnel must be given the proper and modern tools to do the job more efficiently and without such a vast increase of hirings.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the tax cuts signed by the president in December will leave the nation more than $1 trillion deeper in debt. The current debt is about $21.2 trillion. The president now wants to make further corporate tax cuts. Do you support these?

Heinz: I do not support this administration’s current tax policy. I support tax relief for working families instead of for corporations. These tax cuts will ultimately increase our debt and hurt the hard working people of Southern Arizona.

Kirkpatrick: I take it as a first economic principle that we ought not expand debt while our economy is growing. Now is the time to pay down debt. But first we must balance the budget. Under President Obama's leadership, the deficit shrunk massively. Due to the great recession, the deficit for Fiscal Year 2009 was the largest deficit in history, but by FY 2016 we had it cut by roughly 60%. Now that Republicans are back in the White House, we see it growing again.

The irresponsible $1.5 trillion-dollar tax bill that passed this session is at bottom a reward to Republican donors. At this time of record corporate profits, it is important that everyone share the responsibility to pay down the debt. We cannot choose a policy where those at the top accrue more and more of the benefits of our prosperity, while the vast majority of people accrue more and more of our debts. 

Secondly, when we create jobs, we add revenue, which in turn cuts the deficit — that’s why we should advance policies to create a strong and diversified economy.

Kovacs: Absolutely not. We need to make sure we are pushing forward a more progressive tax code, which will require millionaires, billionaires, and the one percent to pay their fair share. We must Demand that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes. Corporations must stop shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. There must be a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. We must also enact a tax on Wall Street speculators who caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, and life savings.

 Marquez Peterson: I do support further tax reforms on businesses. The debt is staggering and its not because Washington has a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. The first step to tackling our debt is to get back to passing budgets. I support legislation that would tie congressional pay to the budget process, if congress doesn’t pass a budget, they don’t get paid!

Martin: I will continue to fight to cut taxes and wish to address individual tax rates before corporations see further cuts. Current unemployment numbers are at an all time lows while we are seeing record numbers in taxes collected. We have a spending problem in America not a taxing one.

Matiella: No, and I would repeal the tax scheme the Republican-controlled Congress helped him pass last year. We need tax reform that requires corporations and the rich to pay their fair share. That will cut the debt significantly.

Morales: Yes.

Sherry: I do not support further corporate tax cuts, and I did not support the tax cuts already made by the president. The cuts are wildly unpopular with the American people, who have already felt the pain of this tax plan in their bank accounts. On an individual level, the tax cuts did next to nothing for the working class people, and gave grotesque amounts of money to already-rich people. Why would we further sink our country into debt to do this again? There is no justification for this.

Welch: I’m happy with the tax cuts, but I’m not comfortable with the increase in debt. We need to curve our spending, and focus on a balanced budget. With less money from taxes entering into our coffers we need to cut more from our yearly budget to make up for the deficit.

Wheeler: No, I do not support further corporate tax cuts.

President Trump on July 6 imposed an additional $34 billion in tariffs on Chinese products; China retaliated with similar tariffs. Do you support the president's decision to raise tariffs on foreign products?

Heinz: No. We need consistent trade policies in place that won’t alienate our trading partners and allies. We certainly should not be engaged in a “trade war” where the American workers are the ones most at risk.

Kirkpatrick: Unfortunately, President Trump has used the issue of tariffs and trade more to score political points than to advance our economy. Global trade is a complex network of systems that have been negotiated over decades. When politicians like President Trump impose tariffs and threaten trade wars, they often just end up hurting the very same workers they claim to be helping.

I support international trade, with the caveat that we must do more to protect and promote fair labor and environmental policies around the globe. This will put American workers on an equal footing with those from other countries, while also ensuring that other markets are open to sell American goods. Trade should be conducted in a way that looks out for the interests of American workers. The Trump Administration's ill-conceived tariff plan will only hurt our national economy.

Kovacs: No. I do not support the presidents current trade war. With major U.S. manufacturers such as GM, and Harley Davidson publicly opposed to the Trump Administrations trade policies we see this as a major deviation of decades of U.S. trade policy and international cooperation in the global supply chain. This last week Trump announced that there would be $12 Billion dollars in aid to U.S. farmers that have been affected by these tariffs. This move doesn’t solve the issue, and only increase the size of our debt under his disastrous economic policies.

Marquez Peterson: I have some real concerns about the side effects of tariffs. Having talked to many small business owners in the district, they are worried this will affect their business negatively. I believe we can find a way to promote trade with our partners while protecting U.S workers and business owners.

Martin: The Chinese have been devaluing their currency, stealing our intellectual property all while accumulating resources around the world off our backs. We should tax the Chinese until we have a fair market and Americans stop footing the bill for foreign infrastructure. Congress should work to implement taxes.

Matiella: No, I do not support the trade war President Trump started.

Morales: Yes.

Sherry: I do not support the president’s decision to raise tariffs on foreign products. In his effort to appear to put America first, President Trump made a decision that will ultimately penalize American workers and consumers.

Welch: Yes, to a point. President is trying to correct a wrong. Trade between countries should be equitable, and fair. As The U.S. trade deficit with China was $375 billion in 2017. The trade deficit exists because U.S. exports to China were only $130 billion while imports from China were $506 billion.

Wheeler: No.

The American Society of Civil Engineers said in 2017 that the U.S. needs to invest $4.59 trillion into the nation's infrastructure by 2025. The Trump administration unveiled a $1.5 trillion plan in February that was dead by May amid arguments over funding. But infrastructure issues remain. What's the best way to address them?

Heinz: We need large scale investments from the federal government to improve our roads, update our energy grid to improve efficiency, and to rebuild crumbling bridges and schools. Ultimately, a short-term investment will result in huge economic benefits for our entire country.

Kirkpatrick: Investments in infrastructure are investments in American innovation and help to rebuild middle class. Arizona has widespread infrastructure needs, and I knows we can create thousands of jobs by getting folks to work on these projects. With smart, targeted investments, we can build the foundation for our long-term economic prosperity.

Kovacs: Infrastructure spending is an area where Democrats and Republicans can agree. I support making significant investments in rebuilding and expanding our country’s infrastructure and creating millions of good high-paying jobs that cannot be shipped offshore or outsourced overseas. My approach to solving this problem would require a 50 state solution where we would look at producing, sourcing, and allocating funds to every state so we can drive economic development in a way that provides buy-in from every federal representative in Congress. The increase in the workforce will then be able to lift discretionary spending ultimately driving economic development in our cities and towns.

Marquez Peterson: I remain optimistic that an infrastructure package can still get done and would work toward finding something that makes sense for the short-term and work toward a long-term strategy later. Our roads are crumbling in Southern Arizona and we desperately need some of our tax money coming back to improve them. One of the committees I’m interested in being appointed to is the Transportation Committee. I think it would be an incredible asset to have a Southern Arizonan on the committee.

Martin: Congress must cut spending and address the issue of federal vs state responsibility and look into private free market solutions to help solve these issues.

Matiella: This is where we need to invest money, not on erecting a dumb border wall. Manufacturing jobs aren’t just going to other countries, they’re disappearing altogether. Many of those good paying jobs families have relied on for decades aren’t coming back. We need to create millions of new jobs to get people back to work. We can start by making significant and lasting investments in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure – rebuilding here at home and by making sure people have the education and training they need to compete in our new, high-tech economy.

Morales: * Through a mixture of public-private partnerships, tax breaks for infrastructure industries, and short-term tolls for the largest projects

Sherry: The best way would have been to not have had such a massive tax cut for corporations, Since their trucks are running day in day out delivering their goods on our roads, and destroying our infrastructure more than anything else, with constant over weight violations, wide loads, bad tires, etc. When not using the roads they are using the rail system and our bridges, it should be mandated that they pay their fair share to repair what they contribute most to destroy.

Welch: Investing in our nations infrastructures is critical to the safety of our citizens, and is vital to our economy. Without proper infrastructure backbone such as roads, bridges, subways, railways, etc. our economy will eventually begin to shrink.

Wheeler: Infrastructure needs must be addressed by raising the funds through an equitable tax overhaul. For instance, by eliminating many corporate tax loopholes and off shore havens. Relying on a progressive income tax overhaul.

What traits would you look for in a Supreme Court nominee?

Heinz: While the U.S. House doesn’t have a role to play in the nominating process for Supreme Court appointees, my personal preference is for jurists who understand the Constitution and how it applies to the current state of affairs in our country.

Kirkpatrick: As a member of the US House, I would not get to vote for a Supreme Court nominee. That said, I would look for someone who has a strong feel for how the law affects ordinary people, and how it advances or denies their freedom.

Kovacs: I believe the next Supreme Court nominee should hold the rule of law above all else, including personal beliefs and political bias. We must defend Roe v. Wade, overturn Citizens United, and make sure that the attack on our Unions are met with a justice system that works for the American people and not the corporate interests. There is an attack on individual liberties right now in our country and that fight will come before the Supreme Court for the next several decades.

Marquez Peterson: I look for judges that show judicial restraint and do not seek to legislate from the bench.

Martin: A originalist that gives opinion based on the Constitution and does not attempt to legislate from the bench. That would include equality under the law no matter what social demographics apply. Government officials and those of wealth or fame should have no greater privilege under the law.

Matiella: A Supreme Court nominee should put the law over politics. I don’t care if they are conservative or liberal, justices should be ruling based on precedent and the rule of law, not based on political ideology.

Morales: * A strict constructionist who has a track record of interpreting the U.S. Constitution and or state constitutions as the founders intended.

* A nominee who is not a judicial activist, who does not legislate from the bench, or over-reach into the purview of the Executive Branch.

Sherry: My ideal Supreme Court nominee supports reproductive and abortion rights, supports union rights and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and would be generally progressive to balance the conservative-leaning bench. Compassion, High Morals, High Intellect, Historian, Fairness, Kindness

Welch: Traits that I consider essential in a Supreme Court nominee are Conservative, Common sense, Courage, Open-mindedness, Empathy, and Consistency.

Wheeler: Rational, objective, intelligent, experience in various fields of jurisprudence, open minded, and above all else fair and impartial.

Congress has seen a wave of retirement announcements in the past year, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. Some believe the president's low approval ratings coupled with little getting done in Congress on big-ticket items as the reason. Why do you think this is happening?

Heinz: There are any number of reasons as to why there are so many retirements happening right now. I think it’s important to note that our political leaders are also people with feelings, families, and obligations. Given the current political climate, I am not surprised that there are folks who wish to step aside and allow new leaders to take the helm.

Kirkpatrick: I would not presume to speak for either Senator Flake or Speaker Ryan. My view is that some Republican officeholders are dismayed that Trump is damaging our democracy by eroding the fragile norms around mutual respect, the rule of law, treating those with whom you disagree with dignity, and having what Thomas Jefferson called "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind."

Kovacs: Yes I think that low approval ratings has to do with some of it, but I think the bigger deal is the GOP is trying to reduce the amount of targets that Democrats have in a contentious midterm cycle. It’s easy to galvanize resistance to Martha McSally, Paul Ryan, and Jeff Flake, but it’s harder making the case against fresh faces in the GOP that don’t have as much political baggage and no voting record. It’s a numbers game, and they play it very well. They are willing to lose a few battles to win the war.

Marquez Peterson: I think the American people are tired of the business as usual in Washington. They want to elect people that get things done for American families. I believe we need more congressional members that have business experience and less career politicians. I think those in congress are taking notice to that.

Martin: It is not my position to speculate as to the decision of another. For individuals who support term limits they should be excited, why must we look for conspiracy where there may be none.

Matiella: President Donald Trump disgraces the office of the presidency on a regular basis and has made the Republican Party look foolish. Any dissent or criticism, no matter how minor or well-intended, is considered by the president to be treasonous. I still have a lot of friends in Washington – many of them Republicans. It’s tough right now for a Republican more concerned with governing than gamesmanship to get anything done. I understand their dilemma.

Morales: *Legitimate fear of their re-election prospects in primaries for some (Flake) and unfounded fear that the House Majority would be flipped for others (Ryan)

Sherry: President’s low approval rating and little getting done in Congress, yes. But also the president ruins the reputations and careers of those who work for him and shows no long-term loyalty to anyone who stops being convenient to him. This issue speaks to the larger issue of extremely polarized politics as well. After working in Trump’s GOP, it would be difficult to continue a career in politics without being seen as someone who supported an extremist who hurt American people so that the wealthiest among us could gain even more money.

Welch: There is no way that the wave of retirement announcements coincide with President Trump's approval ratings. His approval rating is currently hovering around 45%. Although, In my opinion, the recent wave of retirements do however correspond to President Trump. As Trump is an unconventional President, these career politicians are used to their status quo. They do not embrace the change that President Trump has brought to Washington D.C. politics.

Wheeler: Reflecting the conclusions of the public, that Congress has failed to address the many and real every day concerns of Americans, I believe many incumbents have simply given up. I want to represent CD2 precisely because Congress must be made to work for us and address these critical issues. The alternative to making Congress work is dangerous and destructive.

Is true bipartisanship a thing of the past? How necessary is it that both parties include each other in decisions, and how can it be done?

Heinz: I believe that bipartisanship has been washed away by ideological entrenchment. I do still believe there is hope for the parties to work together to craft meaningful legislation that will help hard working American families. We can find common ground to get the job done.

Kirkpatrick: I am no stranger to working across the aisle with members of either party in order to advance Arizona's interests.  In 2013, the US Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill. Unfortunately, the leadership of the House of Representatives made the political calculation that fixing our broken immigration system would hurt their party politically. The tried and true answer to this question is that members of Congress have to listen to one another and negotiate to get a good deal.  What has changed is that the Republican base now finds the idea of compromise to be threatening. When Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley talked about working with Democrats on health care in 2009, he was quickly slapped down by his party leadership. With Trump in the White House, there are now Democrats who feel the same way about working with Trump. 

I take it as a given that the job of a member of Congress is to represent all of the people in her district, even those who voted for someone else. That means listening and negotiating. 

Kovacs: I believe we once had leaders and statesman that stood for something. That statesmanship is something of a myth in American politics now, it’s a whisper of a time forgotten where tribalism and partisanship was put aside in the greater interests of the country. Where great ideas supporting a more perfect union thrived, and were promoted more than the interests of the powerful. I believe true power in a democracy lies within its people. To solve this we must change campaign finance rules and overturn Citizens United to begin to bring our political parties together. It is necessary for our Democracy to work how it was intended to.

Marquez Peterson: I work with Republicans and Democrats every-day in my role with the Chamber. If I’m elected to congress, I'll work with anyone to move Southern Arizona forward and put Americans first.

Martin: I will vote, and draft legislation based on constitutional principles and morals. I would welcome any representative to adopt similar practices. Government was not meant to run our lives, it was meant to protect our natural rights. We should self govern and protect our present and secure our future. For further clarification on our platform visit the website at www.martinforfreedom.com

Matiella: President Trump’s “take it or leave it” style of negotiating prevents anything from getting done in a bipartisan manner. He is more interested in scoring points on Twitter than getting anything done with members of the other party. I hope we see bipartisanism return. I enjoyed working with Republicans when I worked for the federal government. There weren’t a lot of Democrats at the Pentagon, but I enjoyed working with people from all political stripes, united for a common objective. That’s when government functions the best and can do the most good for its citizens.

Morales: * NO * Both parties should allow reasonable time for reading and analysis of all bills

* Both parties should treat each other (and their fellow Americans) with respect and proper decorum at all times * Both parties must always see themselves as servants of the people and not work to set themselves above the law, hold themselves to different standards, or enrich themselves at the expense of their constituents.

Sherry: Many people no longer see “right vs. wrong” but “blue vs. red”. This comes from polarizing news reporting, and the president attacking any news that portrays him as negative. As the country becomes more polarized from the completely separate sets of information they receive based on which news channel they watch, politicians follow suit. It is essential that both parties come together so progress can be made, and any progress that is made isn’t overturned every time there is a new administration. Bipartisanship is on hold right now, but it does not need to be a thing of the past.

Welch: True bipartisanship is not a thing of the past. I firmly believe it. Remember, for an Eagle to fly it needs both a left wing and a right wing. I’m hopeful our Congress can come back to its basics and run the country like it should be ran. In a true bipartisanship way.

Wheeler: No. Our nation has experienced other periods of deep partisan divides. The Civil War was the worst case. During, and following the Vietnam War was another period of deep divisions in our nation. We can, and must, bridge the divide and work toward common, important goals and still maintain our integrity and values. As the Democratic Whip in the Arizona House in 2013, I worked closely with Republican Governor Jan Brewer to pass Medicaid Expansion. Our bi-partisan effort brought financial strength to medical institutions and allowed 350,000 Arizonans to have health care coverage.


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