After eight years in the Arizona House of Representatives, Democrat Linda Lopez has hit her term limit and has her eye on the Senate seat now held by Sen. Victor Soltero, who is not seeking re-election. Lopez, 60, served four-and-a-half terms on the Sunnyside School District board and worked for the social-services agency La Frontera for 18 years. Her top priorities include quality education at all levels, protecting women’s rights and improving economic development. She faces no Republican opponent in the heavily Democratic district.
House of Representatives
The open seat left behind by Lopez triggered a seven-candidate Democratic primary. The winners were Dr. Matt Heinz, who took in 25 percent of the votes and Daniel Patterson, who scored 17 percent of the votes, narrowly beating the incumbent.
•Physician Matt Heinz ran a landslide primary campaign while still pulling his shifts at Tucson Medical Center. Heinz, who first came to Arizona from Michigan to complete his medical residency, says health care reform is at the top of his agenda, along with public education and renewable energy. Heinz says working in health care spurred his interest in politics. “This is a natural extension of what I’ve been trained to do,” he says.
This is Heinz’s second campaign for a House seat; he came in third in a four-way primary race for a House seat in 2006 in District 28.
•Environmentalist Daniel Patterson is a former staffer with the Center for Biological Diversity who now works for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a non-profit that represents federal and state employers who speak out against the government. Patterson has served as president of the Santa Rita Park Neighborhood Association, has been on the city of Tucson’s Planning Commission since 2005 and is the District 2 appointee on the Pima County Board of Adjustment. He also pens a local blog.
Patterson, who says the Legislature’s focus is “way out of wack,” says he would focus on the environment, education, health care and the economy at the Capitol. “I’d like to find a way to build bridges and change the tone,” he says.
After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2005, Juan Ciscomani was invited to participate in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a program that took him to Capitol Hill, where studied policy making at the federal level. He hopes to bring his experience to the state and local level.
Ciscomani decided to embark on his rookie campaign because he felt there wasn’t anyone putting up a big enough fight for the public education system. He feels the major issues affecting the state are a direct result of a lack of education standards.
“The standard we hold our students to is low,” he says, adding that poor education ratings scare away businesses and hinder economic growth.
The conception of his first child, expected on Election Day, ultimately inspired him to run for House of Representatives. He plans to fight for a stronger education system for his community, economic growth and public safety. He won 36 percent of the vote in the GOP primary.
Pat Kilburn, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, became involved in the Republican Party after he retired in 2002 from a long string of Federal careers, including: Park Ranger, Border Patrol Agent, and more recently, Treaty Liaison Officer with the Defensive Investigation Service, where he learned the art of give-and-take. “After six years of working with the Russians,” he said. “I can work with anyone.”
Besides the negotiation skills he picked up as a negotiator and the knowledge on immigration issues he acquired at the Border Patrol, he hopes to use his degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Montana in the Legislature to improve Arizona’s public education system and fix the economy by lowering taxes, cutting spending and attracting big alternative energy companies to Arizona.
Kilburn, who won 64 percent of the GOP vote in the primary, says he watched 100’s of hours of legislative sessions online and spent three days at the Capitol getting a taste of the Legislature in preparation for the job, adding, “I don’t come out half-cocked.”
Legislative District 29, which includes South Tucson, southeast Tucson and Littletown, is home to about 30,600 Democrats, 15,200 Republicans, 550 Libertarians and 20,000 voters who aren’t registered with those parties.
Candidate Web sites
Democrat Linda Lopez
House of Representatives
Democrat Matt Heinz
Democrat Daniel Patterson
Republican Juan Ciscomani
Republican Pat Kilburn