Tag Archives: Kyrsten Sinema

Downtown Phoenix, Photo: Flickr, squeaks2569

Phoenix Makes Case to Host Democratic Convention in ’16

City and government officials in Phoenix are currently preparing for a visit Sept. 9-11 from the Democratic National Committee. Phoenix joins four other cities – New York City; Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; and Birmingham, Ala. – as finalists to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

The committee of Democratic officials to visit Phoenix makes up the DNC’s Technical Advisory Group, and will assess Phoenix’s viability and readiness to host the convention.

With stiff competition from the other top cities, Phoenix stands out as the only finalist from the West, and offers a host of distinguishing qualities that are sure to pique the interest of visiting officials.

Although historically a red state, Arizona is on the cusp of becoming a swing state with its growing Hispanic electorate.

Phoenix is a majority-minority city, and Latinos make up more than 40 percent of its population. By far, it has the largest Latino community of any of the five finalist cities. As a state, Arizona boasts the third-largest Native American population in the country.

Phoenix is also one of the nation’s most LGBT-friendly communities, and earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index.

Mayor Greg Stanton leads Phoenix’s effort alongside Host Committee co-chairs U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Capt. Mark Kelly, convention liaison Ann Wallack, U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, and business leaders Rick DeGraw and Martin Shultz.

Stanton said that in addition to its diversity, Phoenix’s logistical advantages, amenities and experience hosting large-scale events are important to the city’s pitch.

“We’re really the perfect host city,” Stanton said. “Downtown Phoenix, with the convention center, arena and thousands of hotel rooms, is compact and just minutes from the airport via light rail. Throughout the Valley, we have exactly the kind of venues that are important to making national party conventions a success.”

The nation’s sixth-largest city boasts more than 500 hotels, 60,000 hotel rooms, and 40 full-service resorts. With more than 900,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, the Phoenix Convention Center is one of the largest meeting facilities of its kind in the United States, and is recognized as one of the country’s top 10 convention centers. It is along the city’s light rail line and just seven miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Phoenix is a hot spot for large-scale events and in just six months will host both the Super Bowl XLIX and the NFL’s Pro Bowl. The Valley of the Sun has previously hosted two Super Bowls, the 2009 NBA All-Star Game, the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, and plays host to MLB Cactus League Spring Training and the NCAA’s Fiesta Bowl annually.

More than 16 million people visit Greater Phoenix alone each year, making tourism one of Arizona’s largest revenue generators.

The 2016 Democratic National Convention is expected to bring upwards of 50,000 visitors to the host city, and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy. Phoenix’s bid has earned bipartisan support because city and state leaders – regardless of political affiliation – understand the positive economic impact of hosting an event of this magnitude.

“The economic benefits in Phoenix would be especially key because the convention would take place before Arizona’s tourism season really kicks off,” Wallack said. “Our community is prepared to make sure convention visitors have a special experience, and we’re thrilled to show the DNC all we have to offer.”

During the site visit, the DNC’s Technical Advisory Group will tour the convention center and US Airways Center, as well as top destinations in the region. The historic Orpheum Theatre will be among the unique venues showcased as potential sites for party caucus meetings during the convention.

The Technical Advisory Group is expected to make a decision on the host city at the end of 2014 and announce its decision in 2015.

For more information on Phoenix’s bid, visit www.phx2016.com.

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A Priority For The Next Governor

Three of Arizona’s five Democrat members of Congress last week joined all four of their Republican colleagues from the state to accomplish what a similar bipartisan majority in the Arizona Legislature did earlier this year: It loaded a badly needed shot in the arm for the small-business owners who generate almost every new job in the state and nation.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to make permanent a tax provision that would allow small businesses to write off up to $500,000 in new equipment purchases, and some improvements to real property, instead of depreciating the costs over time. H.R. 4457, titled America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014, would provide small businesses with expensing levels that are permanent, predictable and at a level adequate to their needs.

This change to Section 179 of the federal tax code, which overwhelmingly passed the House on a 272-144 vote, would prevent the expensing level to fall all the way to $25,000 in 2014, after being at $500,000 from 2010 through 2013. It also indexes the level to inflation. In addition, the House also passed a bill that eases the tax burden on small businesses that change from taxable C-corporate status to S-corporate status.

A quick sample of the small-business owners benefitting from the H.R. 4457 expensing levels would include:

* Your local pizza shop owner who might want to install new ovens and countertops that cost $100,000. He could deduct these capital improvements the same year he makes them, instead of waiting for the current 39 years to get his full depreciation.
* A farmer considering equipment purchases of $300,000 could do so with much more ease, knowing it could all be deducted the year she bought it, instead of only $25,000 of it the first year.
* A contractor looking to buy two work vehicles costing $60,000 would be more inclined to do so. Under current law, only $35,000 could be deducted—spread over five years—instead of all of it immediately.

On June 12, Arizona Democrats Ron Barber, Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema joined Republicans Paul Gosar, Trent Franks, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert in supporting this pro-jobs legislation. Congressmen Raul Grijalva and Ed Pastor, both Democrats, voted against H.R. 4457. The measure now goes to the U.S. Senate for its consideration.

Earlier this year, a similar tax relief act, House Bill 2664, passed the Arizona Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. It, too, would have created an immediate state income tax allowance, similar to federal Section 179 expensing for qualifying business equipment investments valued up to $500,000.

In a tragic misreading of the needs of Arizona’s economy, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed HB 2664 because “the money would be better utilized” on her spending priorities. Undaunted, NFIB is committed to vigorously lobbying Arizona’s next governor and the new Legislature next session to finally realize our own $500,000 allowance to spur new job creation.

Last week’s strong bipartisan House vote to pass H.R. 4457 is very encouraging to small business, especially as demonstrated by the votes of Arizona’s congressional delegation. If Congress and the president do succeed in making it federal law, Arizona’s next governor must match it. If Washington fails, then establishing the small-business expensing allowance in Arizona’s tax code will be all the more critical.

Farrell Quinlan is Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Kyrsten Sinema

Sinema will stay in Arizona’s 9th District

Democratic U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema won’t jump from her current district to the one being vacated by retiring Rep. Ed Pastor.

Sinema announced on her campaign Facebook page Thursday that she intends to seek re-election in her current 9th Congressional District that covers Tempe and other southeast Phoenix areas. The announcement comes a week after speculation emerged that she might change districts.

The 9th is a swing district that either party could win. Sinema won in 2012 by about four percentage points.

Pastor’s 7th District in south Phoenix is solidly Democratic, meaning Sinema could avoid a Republican challenge every two years if she switched and won.

Numerous Democrats plan to run in the 7th District. They include Sen. Steve Gallardo, Rep. Ruben Gallego and Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

Kyrsten Sinema

AzBA Brings Regulatory Burden to Sinema

Seldom will you find a Member of Congress spending his or her few days out of session at a community bank.  That’s just where freshman U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema spent Wednesday afternoon. “It’s our job in Congress to strike the appropriate balance between a secure banking industry and adequate access to capital for families and small businesses,” said Sinema.  “In order to fortify the banking community –a core component of Arizona’s economy – we must strengthen access to capital for middle class families as well as review the impacts of regulatory burdens.”

The Arizona Bankers Association brought Representative Sinema to Arizona Bank & Trust in Phoenix on Wednesday.  Bank President and CEO, Jerry Schwallier, said “[t]his was a great opportunity to demonstrate to Arizona’s only banking committee Member how the decisions made  in Congress impact the people we serve in Arizona.  I wish more public officials would take the time to do what Ms. Sinema did today.”

Community bank presidents Gail Grace, Sunrise Bank; Mike Thorell, Pinnacle Bank; and Ed Zito, Alliance Bank, all attended the briefing along with Paul Hickman, CEO of the Arizona Bankers Association.  Hickman commented, “[t]he community banking industry in Arizona today is facing increased pressure on all fronts.  Our association’s highest priority is to help both banks and entire communities by acting as their liaison to the government.”

The industry is working to grow the economy in the wake of the 2008 recession while also responding to the most comprehensive banking reform law of modern times.  The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is 2,319 pages long.  By comparison, the last major banking industry reform law – Gramm Leach Bliley – was 144 pages.  The Dodd Frank Act directs 398 separate rulemakings, of which 148 have been finalized, 121 are in some form of promulgation and 129 have yet to be even proposed.

Kyrsten Sinema

Sinema wins Arizona congressional seat

Former Democratic state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has been elected to represent a new Phoenix-area congressional district, emerging victorious after a bitterly fought race that featured millions of dollars in attack ads.

Sinema becomes the first openly bisexual member of Congress. Her victory came in a year when three states approved gay marriage, and at least five openly gay Democrats were elected to House seats. A Wisconsin congresswoman also became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.

Sinema had a narrow lead on election night that made the race too close to call. But she slowly improved that advantage as more ballots were tallied in recent days, and now has a nearly 6,000-vote edge that is too much for Republican Vernon Parker to overcome.

Sinema, 36, was on an airplane to Washington on Monday for freshman orientation and not immediately available to comment on her victory.

During the race, Parker, who took the national stage briefly in September when he gave the GOP weekly address, was criticized by Democrats as a tea party radical who would hurt children by cutting the federal education department.

Republicans countered saying Sinema was too liberal for the newly created district and doesn’t understand stay-at-home moms.

One other congressional race remains undecided in Arizona. Rep. Ron Barber, the hand-picked successor to Gabrielle Giffords, had a lead of a few hundred votes over Republican Martha McSally in the Tucson-area district.

The Sinema victory ensures that Democrats will gain at least one seat in the Arizona congressional delegation.

Republicans entered the election with a 5-3 advantage, and the new census added a ninth seat in the state. The delegation is now split 4-4, with the Barber-McSally race still up for grabs.

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Barber ahead again, Sinema lead grows

Two Arizona congressional races remained too close to call Sunday.

The hand-picked successor of former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was ahead again in his race to win a full term in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.

Results posted Sunday show Democrat Ron Barber pulling ahead of Republican Martha McSally by more than 300 votes out of more than 250,000 cast in the 2nd Congressional District race. The district covers parts of Pima and all of Cochise County. Pima County expects no vote tallies Sunday and Cochise County officials were unavailable.

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has seen her lead over Republican Vernon Parker in the Phoenix-area’s 9th District seat widen to more than 5,700 votes.

Maricopa County still has hundreds of thousands of early and provisional ballots to count. Pima County has about 33,000 to count.

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Arizona congressional races too close to call

Arizona’s three competitive congressional races were too close to call early Wednesday, including the Tucson-centered seat Rep. Ron Barber won in June to replace his former boss, Gabrielle Giffords.

Barber saw his small lead against Republican Martha McSally in the 2nd District disappear just before midnight, with McSally taking a tiny lead.

“We knew it was going to be close and this is exactly what we expected,” she said late Tuesday.

Barber reminded supporters that Giffords’ narrow 2010 win over Republican Jesse Kelly also wasn’t known for several days.

“We’ve got a little bit further to go,” he said. “It’s going to be tomorrow or the day after that.”

Both Giffords and Barber were wounded in January 2011 when a gunman opened fire at a “Congress on Your Corner” event for the then-congresswoman and her constituents. Eleven others also were wounded and six people were killed.

Giffords stepped down from Congress earlier this year to focus on her recovery. Barber beat Kelly in the June special election to replace her.

Kelly chose not to make a third run this fall. McSally, a retired Air Force fighter pilot, won the GOP nomination in August and sought to persuade some of the women and independents who swung to Barber in the special election.

“We knew it was going to be close and this is exactly what we expected,” she said late Tuesday.

In the new Phoenix-area 9th District, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Vernon Parker were in a near dead heat.

Both Parker and Sinema acknowledged the wait would be long, and Parker urged his supporters to be patient because thousands of ballots remained uncounted.

“I am telling you all to hang in there,” Parker told supporters in Phoenix. “We will win this thing. I guarantee you.”

Republicans have a slight registration advantage in the district, which includes much of Tempe and parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa and Chandler. But both parties’ totals are exceeded by independents, and many believe it leans Democratic.

Sinema told supporters there was good reason to be optimistic.

“Right now we’re going to keep our heads high, take a deep breath and pray for every vote to be counted in this election,” she said.

In northeastern Arizona’s 1st District, Republican Jonathan Paton’s slight lead over Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick diminished as Tuesday night wore on.

Kirkpatrick told supporters she was waiting for results from the Navajo Nation and other tribal areas that she hopes will put her back on top. The district runs from Flagstaff through eastern Arizona counties and then west into parts of Pinal County.

“Our race is looking good, but we’re not going to know for quite a while,” she said.

Depending on the outcome, Democrats could end up with a majority of the delegation or Republicans could hold on or add to their current 5-3 majority. The state earned a ninth seat after the 2010 Census and will fill it for the first time in November.

Voters in six districts chose their representatives along the expected 4-2 party split in favor of Republicans.

Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva won re-election in the 3rd District, freshman GOP Rep. Paul Gosar easily won in the 4th District and former Republican Rep. Matt Salmon coasted to victory in the 5th.

Republican Reps. David Schweikert and Trent Franks were re-elected in the 6th and 8th districts while Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor cruised in the 7th District.

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Schweikert, Sinema, Salmon, Gosar, Parker earn primary wins

In a bruising battle of incumbent congressmen, Rep. Dave Schweikert defeated Rep. Ben Quayle Tuesday as Arizona voters faced a scrambled political map during their late summer primaries.

Redistricting pitted several veteran politicos against one another here, but the fight between Schweikert and the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle to represent Arizona’s 6th Congressional District stood out. The two conservative congressmen were on the same page on policy but lobbed personal attacks at each other. Schweikert accused Quayle of “carpetbagging” for moving into his district and reminded voters about a scandal that haunted Quayle in 2010, when it was revealed he contributed to a racy Scottsdale web site.

Quayle dubbed Schweikert “dishonest Dave” and suggesting he leaked a report that Quayle was one of multiple congressmen who took a dip in the Sea of Galillee during a junket to Israel.

Quayle called Schweikert to concede shortly about 10 p.m. “This is big boy politics and Congressman Quayle was absolutely gracious,” Schweikert told reporters.

Quayle told supporters that he wasn’t through with public life. “I’m going to continue to work so we can make this country a better place, so my daughter will have better opportunities than we had,” he said.

The suburban Phoenix district is heavily Republican, making Schweikert a favorite in the November general election.

In the sprawling 4th District that covers much of northern and western Arizona, Rep. Paul Gosar beat off a strong challenge from state Sen. Ron Gould. Gosar was targeted by FreedomWorks and The Club for Growth, two funders of right-wing challengers to incumbent Republicans.

Gosar said he was not afraid to rule out compromise, while Gould campaigned as the true conservative with legislative experience.

Gosar called the challenge to him “an inside deal” and said the mostly rural voters of his district were not pawns for Washington power players. “They’re not here to be bought off or thwarted by outside interest groups,” he said.

In the 1st District, which covers the vast northeast of the state, the onetime Democratic Congresswoman Gosar beat in 2010, Ann Kirkpatrick, easily won her party’s primary to face Republican state legislator Jonathon Paton for the open seat in November. Gosar had left the district for the more Republican 4th after a state panel redrew the lines last year.

In the 2nd District in Tucson and the state’s southeast, Rep. Ron Barber, a former aide to onetime Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, easily beat back a Democratic primary challenge from a state lawmaker, three months after winning a June election to succeed the wounded congresswoman.

Another former member of congress, onetime Rep. Matt Salmon, beat former State House speaker Kirk Adams for the GOP nomination in another open district in Phoenix’s southeastern suburbs. And in the district that Quayle left, former Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema defeated two other prominent Democrats for the nomination in the new 9th district, which Democrats believe they have a chance of winning.

Sinema will face former Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker has won the Republican nomination in Arizona’s new 9th Congressional District. Some early ballots remain to be counted but results Wednesday with all 141 precincts reporting show Parker with an 800-vote margin over Wendy Rogers, with a total of more than 38,000 votes cast in the seven-way GOP race.