In Arizona’s 7th Congressional District, the primary is everything.
Being a Democrat-safe district, Arizona’s only Democrat-safe district, the August primary is the only real election either of the contenders need to win in order to go on to the general election; where there are no Republicans running.
For the past couple of decades, that seat has been filled by Ed Pastor, a favorite among Latinos in this mostly South Phoenix district.
With it being such an important seat, it sincerely surprises me that the only two real candidates in the race are both people who fail to decisively get me to vote for them one way or another.
On one hand, you have Mary Rose Wilcox. Now Wilcox knows politics. She’s been on the Phoenix City Council, as well as on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. She’s smart, articulate, and does stand up for what’s right. Usually anyway.
She’s been shot before, and instead of giving up, she continued on by returning to her work representing the people of South Phoenix almost immediately after being a target of that heinous crime. Because of that experience, Ms. Wilcox now fights for comprehensible gun laws. And because she understands how complex of an issue it is, she also understands and in fact advocates for better screening and mental health treatment of all people.
Ms. Wilcox has taken on Sheriff Joe head on, unlike her opponent, Ruben Gallego.
Now Ruben Gallego is not as experienced as Wilcox. He’s only served two terms in the Arizona legislature, but he has earned a name for himself down there. He’s the Assistant Minority leader, and claims to have done all he could to get Jan Brewer to veto SB1062 – the “okay to discriminate” law that the Governor did later veto. He’s a veteran, who is well educated, and young, full of energy.
If you’re looking for an experienced leader, look no further than Wilcox.
If fresh, young, innovative ideas are what you are looking for, then Gallego is your man.
At the end of the day, however, I am looking for someone who will positively change the game of Arizona politics the most.
And while Mary Rose Wilcox does have experience, she also has baggage. Baggage that I don’t want her to bring to Washington. She did, after all, endorse Warren Stewart (see: Shame on the Maricopa County Democrat Party: Warren Stewart Doesn’t Celebrate My Community) an anti-LGBT member who ran for Phoenix City Council. That begs the question on where she stands on LGBT issues in general. In addition to that, she did attempt get Ruben Gallego’s name off the ballot in a bizarre and poorly done manner that only led to public outcry, and really hurting her campaign. That then leaves the question of how committed she is to winning this seat the old fashion way, where candidates knock on thousands of doors, and turn out the vote.
One of the biggest problems with now retiring Congressman Ed Pastor is that he didn’t get out of the vote. He didn’t knock on doors like Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema does, or how Ann Kirkpatrick has. He didn’t get his constituents excited about his race, which led to low voter turn-out in his district. Had he knocked on doors and turned out the vote, then its entirely possible that people like Sheriff Joe, and other countywide offices wouldn’t be in the hands of do-nothing or tea-party-crazy Republicans.
I fear that considering her political background, Wilcox feels entitled to the Congressional seat. She doesn’t seem to want it as much as Gallego. She doesn’t seem willing to work as hard for it, and that’s a problem. That’s a problem because whoever is elected in Congressional District 7 will have all the power of changing Arizona for decades to come.
Therefore, I throw my support behind Ruben Gallego. His young, eager desire to be elected to Congress could impact Arizona in positive ways. The same, tired politics of yesteryear are ones that Wilcox knows all too well, and ones I’m not interested in seeing any longer.