Last week, we shared our endorsements for a variety of local and statewide offices. This week, we bring you our picks in the federal and legislative races, along with a few other local races.
U.S. Senate: Ann Kirkpatrick
Sen. John McCain has always been a conservative on most issues, but he used to at least show a willingness to work with the opposing party to find solutions to the problems that challenge the nation. But these days, with a few notable exceptions (such as immigration reform), McCain has embraced a "take-no-prisoners" approach to politics, best exemplified by his recent promise to block any Supreme Court nominee put up by Hillary Clinton (assuming she won the White House). And his reluctance to call out Donald Trump as a toxic political presence until just a few weeks ago also shows that McCain has surrendered too much in his pursuit of another term in the Senate.
Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick has shown that she's capable of working with both Democrats and Republicans during her time in Congress. At a time when polarized politics has resulted in gridlock in Washington, that kind of bipartisan approach is exactly what we need. Vote Ann Kirkpatrick for U.S. Senate.
Congressional District 1: Tom O'Halleran
You don't get much more bipartisan than Tom O'Halleran, who served as a Republican in the Arizona Legislature and now is seeking a congressional seat as a Democrat. That's not because his values have changed; it's because the GOP has become increasingly radicalized through the Obama administration as it sought to destroy him (and ended up doing great damage to itself). In the Arizona Legislature, O'Halleran was willing to work with Democrats to find ways to improve education, fund highway projects, expand healthcare coverage and otherwise make life better for Arizonans.
Even if his opponent, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, wasn't dogged by allegations of child abuse at a school where he worked 16 years ago, the Weekly wouldn't be endorsing him because his Tea Party politics play well on Fox News, but offer no real solutions to solving our nation's challenges. Vote Tom O'Halleran for Congress.
Congressional District 2: Matt Heinz
We respect the work that Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally has done for Southern Arizona, including her efforts to save the A-10 and prevent the closure of the Cherrybell postal center. And there's no doubt that she works hard both on Capitol Hill and back here in Southern Arizona to help constituents.
But McSally too often follows the party line, such as her support for efforts to defund Planned Parenthood's important work to provide health care to women and men in our community. And she still sidesteps too many controversial issues, such as her reluctance to say whether she'd support Donald Trump for president.
Democrat Matt Heinz showed during his time in the Arizona Legislature that his values were more in line with ours. He supports a woman's right to choose, improving the Affordable Care Act without losing the advances for people with pre-existing conditions and others who have benefited from Obamacare, and finding ways to break free of the dogma that has led to D.C.'s current sorry state. Vote Matt Heinz.
Legislature District 2, House of Representatives: Rosanna Gabaldon and Chris Ackerley
While we don't agree with Republican Chris Ackerley on every issue, we do think that he's been a solid supporter of education issues. And as long as the GOP will have a majority in the Arizona House of Representatives, it's useful to have a moderate Republican in the mix who can fight for Southern Arizona issues. Meanwhile, Democrat Rosanna Gabaldon has served well during her time in the Legislature and deserves another term. Vote Rosana Gabaldon and Chris Ackerley.
Legislative District 2, Senate: Andrea Dalessandro
Democrat Andrea Dalessandro is a tireless advocate for her constituents and a pain in the ass to the GOP majority in the Senate, so we're all for sending her back for another two years.
Legislative District 9, House of Representatives: Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley
Trauma surgeon Randy Friese has learned the ropes during his first term at the Arizona Legislature and deserves a chance to continue representing the residents of District 9, which includes central Tucson, the Catalina Foothills and the Casas Adobes area. Pamela Powers Hannley would be a fine replacement for Victoria Steele. The Republican in the race, Ana Henderson, is far too conservative to win our support, as she opposes LGBT equality, wants to continue hollowing out Arizona's budget with more corporate tax cuts that have proven that they don't pay for themselves and opposes increases in the minimum wage for working Arizonans. Handing yet another seat to the GOP majority that continues to underfund schools, make it easier for kids to get a hold of guns and shift taxes from Arizona's wealthiest residents onto the backs of average Arizonans is not the way to go. Vote for Friese and Powers Hannley.
Legislative District 10, House of Representatives: Stefanie Mach and Kristen Engel
Stefanie Mach has been a solid representative for Tucson, while Kristen Engel has an extensive background as an attorney who has specialized in environmental matters. Both would support better schools, more environmental protection, more university funding and smart economic development. Both would oppose the tax cuts that have crippled Arizona's ability to invest in education, infrastructure and the social safety net. Both would stand against the ongoing war on Planned Parenthood and abortion rights.
Legislative District 10, Senate: Dave Bradley
Democrat Dave Bradley has, over his long service in the Arizona Legislature, demonstrated that he is a thoughtful lawmaker who stands aligned with our values. He deserves another term.
Pima County Superintendent of Schools: Dustin Williams
While the Pima County Superintendent of Schools is mostly an administrative post, it does have some important duties, especially when it comes to filling vacancies on school boards. Pima County has two solid candidates to choose between: Democrat Dustin Williams and Republican Margaret Burkholder. We're giving the nod to Williams mostly because, while Burkholder ran a respectable campaign for Tucson City Council last year and has a terrific background as teacher, she let herself get manipulated by the local Republican Party into filing a "sore loser" lawsuit following her loss that was a waste of time and money.
Amphi School District
Sadly, the Amphi School District does not have a lot of great choices to fill three open seats this year. The only candidate we can really get behind is longtime teacher Julie Cozad, a teacher who can be trusted to make good decisions for the district. We'd also advise you to withhold support from Vicki Cox Golder, who served on the board 20 years ago and left behind a district that was plagued with insider dealings and poor management.