Tucson Weekly Endorsement: Giffords in Congressional District 8

When we endorsed Gabrielle Giffords in 2006, it was a leap of faith based on what we knew about her. As a member of the minority party in the Arizona Legislature, Giffords hadn’t had a chance to build a long list of legislative accomplishments, although we admired her voting record on environmental and health-care issues and her level-headed style.

Two years later, Giffords has proven herself to be a politician in touch with the needs of Southern Arizona.

Giffords stepped up when the Border Patrol wanted to build a massive permanent station on the edge of Green Valley. She stepped up when the Federal Emergency Management Agency wanted to include much of Marana in a floodplain, and she’s earned an enthusiastic endorsement from Marana’s Republican mayor as a result.

That’s real constituent service from an accessible lawmaker. And while Democrats in Congress haven’t been able to accomplish many of their national goals–improving health care, ending the Iraq war, reforming the broken immigration system–the blame for that rests with both parties, not just the Dems.

We respect what Republican Tim Bee has done for Southern Arizona during his time in the Legislature. But much of what we admire about him–his understanding that government can help those less fortunate through education and social services–is lost on most members of his own party. We’re also disappointed with his tacit approval of bigotry by allowing Proposition 102 to get on the ballot.

As we mentioned before, GOP rule of this country has been a disaster. This is not the time to give the keys to Congress back to them.

The Great CD8 Debate: A Ridiculously Delayed Liveblog of the Giffords-Bee Exchange of Soundbites

In case you missed KUAT-TV’s broadcat of the debate between Democrat Gabrielle Giffords and Republican Tim Bee, you can watch it here.

Here’ our liveblog on the event from the week’s TW print edition:

7 p.m.: Moderator Christopher Conover introduces Democrat Gabrielle Giffords and Republican Tim Bee, who both get rousing applause from their fans in the audience.

Giffords explains she’s a third-generation Arizonan, a product of public schools and a former business owner. She mentions her committee assignments (Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Science and Technology). She talks about challenges facing the nation: wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, record debt, rising prices for food and gasoline, and stagnant wages. She reaches out to the political middle by saying she’s worked with Democrats, Republicans and independents on issues such as securing the border, fighting the proposed Rosemont mine in the Santa Rita Mountains and improving mental-health services for veterans.

“I am an optimist, and I am a fighter,” Giffords says.

Bee says he’s also a third-generation Arizonan. He talks about growing up on a small farm as the child of a public school teacher and a homemaker. He talks about how he started his own printing business until he was elected to the Arizona Senate. He ticks off his accomplishments: supporting public education, reducing taxes and securing the border. He boasts about “cleaning the place up” once he was elected Senate president, including his decision to fire some longtime staffers who were too close to lobbyists, and his efforts to work with Democrats.

7:06 p.m.: The candidates are asked about energy policy. Bee says the country is too reliant on foreign sources of oil: “We need to drill wherever there are resources here in our country.” He also calls for alternative energy sources that are supported by the free market.

Giffords says the House of Representatives is ready to vote on a compromise Continue reading

Tim Bee’s Campaign Ad

The folks at Sonoran Alliance tipped us off to state Sen. Tim Bee’s new TV ad for his campaign against Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. It’s a slick spot that pushes the family friendly, consensus-building angle–so much so that he doesn’t even mention he’s a Republican; instead, he flashes the word “Independent” in big ol’ type there at the end. What does that say about the GOP brand?