by Jim Nintzel
Here’s the recent Clean Elections debate between the eight Democrats running in Legislative District 27, which stretches west from the University of Arizona to Three Points. Candidates include former state lawmakers John Kromko and Sally Ann Gonzales, and Sami Hamed, John Bernal, Dustin Cox, Bob Gilby, Macario Saldate and Eric Bustamante. (For more on Bustamante's legal troubles, check out Hank Stephenson's "Punches and Politics" here.)
The most interesting moment to us came about 27 minutes into the debate, as the candidates talked about SB 1070. While most of them decried Arizona's new immigration law, Kromko had a different take:
People have been asking for comprehensive reform for a long time, and the federal government, the Congress has given us nothing—absolutely nothing. So 1070 was the only way that many people felt they could turn. So here it is. OK, everybody that wants something else: Let’s see it. OK? Isn’t that a fair deal? We’ll have 1070 on the books, it puts a little pressure on you. Whatever it is you want, show it to us. I think the citizens of Arizona have a right to that, and that’s what we need to do. So I think it’s doing good in more ways than one.
Kromko got a round of applause from one audience member: Joe Sweeney, the self-admitted racist and perennial candidate who is seeking a chance to challenge Congressman Raul Grijalva again this year. A few years back, Kromko was awarded an honorary degree from Sweeney's Alexander Hamilton Evening Law School.