“You know you’re not going to win, right?”
That was the first thing I said to Lucretia Free when we sat down to talk a couple of weeks ago. She’s one of five Republican primary candidates for the House seat in newly redrawn Congressional District 6.
Why the prediction? Lucretia Free’s not a bomb-thrower. She believes in bringing everybody to the table. She doesn't speak in talking points. And when she talks, you know those are her words, not something handlers are telling her to say.
We could use more of that, but Lucretia Free’s brand of politics isn’t selling well right now.
That said, she is solidly conservative, calls the Biden administration a train wreck and knows voters are tired of Washington cat fights.
That last part was driven home as she knocked on more than 4,000 doors gathering signatures to run. The monstrous district includes Green Valley, Sierra Vista, Safford and parts of Sahuarita, Casa Grande and Tucson.
She also gets a lot of face time with the public through her role as publisher and editor of the Vail Voice newspaper and as Supervisor Steve Christy’s person on the ground in Vail, Corona de Tucson and east Tucson. She heads up the South East Regional Council — kind of like our Green Valley Council — and chaired the Pima County Small Business and Transportation Advisory committees. Free graduated from college at 19 and had her MBA at 23 (www.free4congress.com).
A quick hit on the issues:
•2020 election: Joe Biden is the president, let’s move forward.
•Immigration: She agrees with the bipartisan Western States Sheriffs’ Association: The border is in crisis, raising humanitarian, national security and public safety concerns. While not all migrants who come over have nefarious intentions, we simply don’t know, she says. All we know is that they aren’t coming over through proper channels. What’s the answer? Get the right people in the room, find common ground and workable solutions. (Warning: nobody will leave the table completely happy.) But is that possible in today’s political climate? “I’m not optimistic about it happening anytime soon.”
•Bipartisanship: Free says Democrats and Republicans agree on important issues regularly, they just don’t get the ink. A recent win: Anti-trust reforms targeting big tech companies (Apple, Facebook, Google) that prioritize their own products to earn a buck.
“This is how the government was set up, for us to talk to one another and negotiate and figure out what we could do,” she said.
Inflation: Decisions made early on in the Biden Administration dug a deep hole, including unnecessary $1,200 stimulus checks, expanded child tax credits and extended unemployment benefits. Free says the decisions forced many small businesses to close their doors.
Guns: The problem will be solved incrementally, not quickly. “We need to have a national conversation on violence and, again, that takes time, that takes interest. We could do some gratuitous things, but in order to really look at the problem and to be able to solve it, it’s slower than that. It’s not a Twitter message, it’s not a post on Facebook. We have to dig down, we have to get the right people around the table, we’ve got to hash out and see where the common areas are and not just automatically go to strategies and solutions that have proven not to work but that are politically expeditious.” Gun bans, she says citing a recent Rand Corp. study, don’t work.
Donald Trump: The draw for supporters is his policies, not the man himself. She did not seek his endorsement.
— Dan Shearer