Read the transcript here:
C.J. Karamargin: Good evening. My name is C.J. Karamargin. I am the Vice Chancellor for Public Information and Government Relations at Pima Community College. On behalf of Dr. Suzanne Miles, our Interim Chancellor, Dr. Lou Albert, the President of the West Campus, and the Board of Governors, I would like to welcome you to the College’s Proscenium Theatre. We are honored to host this evening’s forum. Every day during the semester about 30,000 students come to Pima Community College’s six campuses to learn new things. You are here to learn more about the two women and one man who would like to represent our corner of Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives. Thank you for coming. Our moderator for tonight’s Congressional District 3 candidate forum is Christopher Conover. He’s going to go over the rules for tonight’s forum. Please during this forum no flash photography, the timing was perfect there. And if you want to address questions, please address them to all the candidates. Please welcome Mr. Conover.
Christopher Conover: Good evening everyone and before we really get going, let me thank all of you for coming out. I know we’re all busy in our daily lives and you have taken the time to come out and hear from the three people, one of whom will represent you in Congress in the very, very near future. Let me go over the basic ground rules for tonight. We have ground rules for the candidates and we have ground rules for the audience. Let’s start with you all since you took the time to come out and do this. Questions: The majority of the questions tonight will come from you. These folks up here are interviewing basically for a job to represent you so you get to ask the majority of the questions. Now the way we’re going to do that is as you were coming in you got cards and pencils to write questions down. If you’ve already written questions down, they’re arriving up here as we speak if they’re not already up here. Thank you for doing that. If you need a card, raise your hand and someone will bring one to you. If you have a card and you’ve not had it collected, hold the card up, someone will come and get it and bring it on up here. If halfway through the evening you, something strikes you and you want to ask a question, put your hand up and we’ll get a card to you. Now obviously with this many people and only 90 minutes, we won’t get to every question. As much as I would like to do that and you would like to do that, the reality is we’d probably be here after election day if we took the time to go through every question. So we will try to get to as many questions as we can as this evening goes through. If you’d like to watch this again, we will have it up on our website, azpm.org, tomorrow. We are streaming it live so you can quickly text your friends and family and tell them, ‘That’s m question, watch now.’ As I said, we are streaming it live. We will also a one hour version of this on Arizona Public Media Channel 6 tomorrow night at 6:00 cutting down a half hour, a lot of this stuff because the people at home really don’t care about this stuff that we will also cut down as we go through this evening. So it will be one hour on TV tomorrow night, an hour and a half online, you can watch it anytime you like. Now, the ground rules for our candidates. They will each have a three minute opening statement and then we have some questions from our sponsors, four questions. Those questions the candidates will each have two minutes to answer. After all three of our candidates have had their two minutes they will each be given an option of a one minute rebuttal or follow up. After that, now the show is yours, we’re going to your questions. For those, so we can get through a lot of them, we’ll go to 90 second answers and 30 second rebuttals, same format and we’ll just go right down the row in order so everybody gets to answer first, everybody gets to answer last, everybody gets to answer in the middle at some point during this debate. As we wrap up and get towards the end, I will give the candidates fair warning that we’re getting towards the end. They will each be given a two minute closing statement if you will, to clarify anything that needs to be clarified or just address you all directly. Debates are a lot of fun. I do this for a living. I’ve done it for a long time. There can be a lot of emotion in this. This is the person to represent us in Congress. Let’s try and keep the emotion, both positive and negative, in check. If there’s a lot of cheering or not cheering, jeering from the audience, people can’t hear what our candidates have to say and of course that’s why we’re all really here. We want to hear what these three people have to say. So with that, we’ll go ahead, I’ll introduce our three candidates and we will as they say, get the show on the road. I will begin closest to me on the introductions and move to the outside. We will begin with Raúl Grijalva. He is the Democrat who is hoping to represent District 1. I’m sorry, District 3. District 1 was last night’s event that I was at. Thank you for pointing that out. Next up we have Blanca Guerra. She is the Libertarian hoping to represent this district. And finally we have Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, the Republican. We will begin, since we did the introductions in that order we will give Mr. Grijalva the first opening statement and at the end of the evening, we will give Mrs. Saucedo Mercer the first closing statement working backwards basically. So, Mr. Grijalva, you have three minutes and thank you so much for coming to all of our candidates.
Raúl Grijalva: Thank you very much and let me thank first of all the League of Women Voters, an organization that I respect very much, for the nonpartisan way in which they conduct debates and forums and thank you very much Pima Community College for their hospitality in hosting this and of course Arizona Public Media for allowing and extending this discussion beyond the confines of this particular building and to a great many other voters that are going to be watching and listening to our comments. I’m here to ask for your vote because I believe firmly that I have earned the opportunity to continue to represent District 3, to represent a district in which I grew up, in which my mom and dad raised us and my two sisters, a district in which I have raised my family and very proud of them and very proud of the extended family that I have now. This is my home. This is where I was born and I have a…I carry a lot of respect for the place that I was born in. Here I learned my politics, many of the policies that I believe in firmly came, are rooted in this community as well as the fact that…how I see coalition politics as being able to move an agenda, I learned that here as well. But I also…and rooted in this sense of place is also the sense that solutions and ideas have to be something that is representative of a vast and diverse constituency, a constituency that sometimes carries contradictions but also carries with it an urgency to get things done. And I believe as part of the values that I learned in fairness, I believe in equity, I believe in fair play and I also believe very strongly that those are values that I will not abandon and give up. And as we go forward, I think the American people are frustrated by the fact that we have a situation now where there’s urgency in this country to move things forward but as we move forward, and I am not beneath compromise, I am not beneath consensus, but there are values and issues that I hope in this debate we get to discuss more fully, issues dealing with the reality of this nation, with the need to mend our social fabric and with the need for this government of ours that has served this nation so well to be an active part in the creation of economic opportunity and jobs for our community and to also invest in the education and the protection of its citizens. Those are the things that I’ve believed in, those are the things that I will continue to carry and that’s the voice that I’ve leant in Congress. I think I’ve earned this chance again. District 3 continues to be a district unlike any other district in Arizona and I’m proud to represent it.
Christopher Conover: A note on logistics ladies and gentlemen. We are not asking our candidates to guess how long they are speaking. We have a timer right down front here for those of you who can’t see it. Next up Mrs. Guerra, thank you.
Blanca Guerra: Thank you very much. My name is Blanca Guerra. I am your Libertarian candidate for Congressional District 3. I believe Arizona needs a new representative, a voice in Congress and I am ready, willing and able. I am a veteran of the United States Air Force. I am now a retired paralegal. Well, every once in awhile I’ll take a case now and then but I retired to live in my little ranchito out west of Tucson. I’ve been very active in my community uniting associations so we can secure our neighborhood. I’ve also, how should I say, gathered attorneys together to help those less fortunate in my neighborhood provide legal services for them. So I’m very engraved in my community. I believe that I can be…represent Arizona as it needs an assertive representation, a voice for the people. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have shown their loyalty to their caucus and to special interest groups. We have the Democrats who have in our worst or highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression imposed mandates and taxes on the people while the Republicans want to give tax breaks to the wealthy and strip the middle class and the poor from their benefits. I believe that Arizona needs a voice. I believe that we haven’t been listened to. I would be there in order for you to communicate with me because if there is no line of communication between my constituents and myself, how would I know what Arizona wants. I’ve lived here in Arizona since I was five years old. Outside of being in the military I’ve lived always here in Tucson. I am very familiar with legal procedures from my paralegal experience and I was a leader. I was able to unite the troops as I led them, my squad, during my Air Force time in my youth. I ask that you listen to all of the candidates tonight and see which is the only one who does not give you the rhetoric run around. That shall be myself as the Republicans and the Democrats both have told you the same thing, over and over again. I thank you for your time.
Christopher Conover: And Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you have three minutes.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Thank you. Good evening ladies and gentlemen. First of all I want to thank Pima Community College and our sponsors Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters, Arizona Public Media, Christopher Conover, our moderator, and you, our audience. Thank you for being here. I am Gabriela Saucedo Mercer. I have to give you a disclaimer. I am not a career politician. I am a mother, a wife, a grandmother and a very concerned citizen. I came to the United States of America in 1986 as an immigrant from Mexico. After five years of working hard, I made a goal to become a naturalized citizen. On July 3rd of 1991, I proudly took an oath to become a citizen of the United States of America. I am very honored and grateful to be able to say I am an American. I have raised three children. One of them is a United States Marine. She has served her country 10 years. I am very proud of my daughter. She has been in the sand box twice. One time she was there for seven months in Iraq and then she went to Afghanistan for 11 months. If she has the nerve and the courage to serve our country in a war zone, I have the nerve to run for Congress and represent the people. This election is about big government, the economy is crumbling and Washington is just taking our money and wasting it and that needs to stop. This election needs to be about the economy and jobs. People are still losing their jobs, people are still losing their homes and the federal government is not representing us and it’s time for us, the people, to demand proper representation. Over the last 10 years the people in District 7 have not had proper representation. What else can I tell you? Jobs. The sitting Congressman called for a boycott which cost 27,000 jobs to the State of Arizona and it hurt the very people that he’s supposed to represent. That’s not acceptable and I don’t think that is a…that doesn’t earn your stripes to be back in Congress and representing the people in CD3.
Christopher Conover: Thank you to all of our candidates for their opening statements. Again, let me remind you, and I appreciate the applause for all of our candidates. It does take something to get up here and to run and for the years it takes to run a campaign but I do want to remind everyone, let’s try and hold our applause and our hope for these candidates until the end. We now have four questions that were written by the sponsors, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber and the League of Women Voters to open up. Each of the candidates again will have two minutes to answer these and then each will be given a one minute opportunity for a rebuttal at the end. Our first question. Nearly all Americans agree that the extreme polarization in Washington has prevented our government from functioning for the people. It has also contributed to the collapse of confidence in Congress. Please tell us how you would address this problem. Since Mr. Grijalva went first, I will move one space down to Ms. Guerra. You have two minutes.
Blanca Guerra: Thank you very much. I believe the polarization is caused by a two party system. These two parties, the left and the right, have decided not to allow our nation to function because they don’t want to give the other party the credit. There needs to be a solution and I propose a third party in Congress, a party for the people, a voice for the people, one that can take the votes from the left and the votes from the right and let’s get something done in the center. There’s also another situation that I believe causes this gridlock. I believe in term limits and without term limits what our Congress is allowed to do is create this seniority type of issue in Congress. That means the longer that you stay in Congress the greater your seniority is. Well, seniority is just another word for control. These senior career politicians are in control of the situation, also meaning that they are less apt to listen to new ideas and I believe that is exactly what causes the gridlock. There’s a lot of new freshmen Congress that come in with fresh ideas but these senior congressmen, senators are set in their ways, very comfortable with what they’re doing, do not like the change, therefore avoid the new changes. We need fresh faces every few years. We cannot allow our representatives to get too comfortable and just forget about us. So I propose that you vote Libertarian, vote anything else but Republican or Democrat. Do not re-elect an incumbent.
Christopher Conover: Ms. Guerra, thank you, your time is up. Thank you. Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, same question to you, you have two minutes.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Well, each side, the right and the left, have their own ideas and when people don’t work together for whatever ideas they bring to the table, if those are the ideas are so set in their ways and they’re not willing to compromise in what is good for the people when it agrees with the Constitution, that’s what we have, polarization. For the last four years and even longer with Mr. Grijalva’s ideas, the ideas that they have pushed right now is hurting the people in the country. I don’t care if they’re Republicans, Independents or Democrats, it hurts everybody. We talk about the economy. Everything that this administration has done has taken us deeper and deeper into debt. That’s not helping the economy. The ideas that we see coming from this administration and like I said from Mr. Grijalva for the last 10 years have only hurt us so why are we keep voting for people that are hurting us directly, hurting the economy, hurting…gridlock doesn’t take us anywhere. We need to talk about what are they doing to represent us. Does it agree with the Constitution? Is it your ideas? We the people…our founding fathers said, we the people, are supposed to be citizen legislators. We’re supposed to talk to our representatives and present our ideas and those ideas need to be put on the working board and make it work. Talking about the economy. We have the worst economy since Jimmy Carter.
Christopher Conovers: Thank you very much. And finally, Mr. Grijalva, you have two minutes.
Raúl Grijalva: There’s a genesis to this gridlock, there’s a history and there’s current history to this polarization. I find it curious that we get momentary amnesia as to how we got here. We got here through policies. We got here through a decade of policies, two wars not paid for added to the deficit, added to the debt. A prescription drug benefit that favored pharmaceuticals and insurance companies, cost trillions, never paid for. And if we look at the tax cuts over the last eight, nine years to the richest one percent and to corporate America, not paid for and now we complain that we’re $5 trillion in debt. That’s how we got here. And polarization also is a consequence of two factors. One being the election of President Obama. I don’t know if it was so much the shock of losing the election as it was who won. And there was a commitment made that he was not going to be successful by the leadership of the Republican Party in the Senate and in the House. And then the effective control over the budget by the Tea Party in the House of Representatives. 30 times we voted to get rid of ObamaCare, it hasn’t gone anywhere but 30 times, no jobs bills and when we talk about compromise and meeting in the middle and consensus, trust me, I’m not working with the Republican Party of Barry Goldwater, I’m not working with the Republican Party of Jim Kolbe, we’re working with almost a theological sense of what needs to be done and not and the consequence of that has been gridlock, my way or the highway and occasionally some of us, and I include myself proudly in that, we draw a line. We draw a line against anti-immigrant legislation, we draw a line against anti-women legislation and we draw a line on a continuing a fiscal policy that got us in this hole and now we want to repeat that same fiscal policy again. That’s why we have gridlock.
Christopher Conover: Thank you for your time. You all now have the opportunity for a one minute rebuttal. Would anybody like a one minute rebuttal and Mrs. Guerra you do have the first opportunity for that.
Blanca Guerra: I’m fine.
Christopher Conover: Ms. Saucedo Mercer, rebuttal or are you fine and you have one minute for it.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Yes, I would like to mention a couple of things. ObamaCare. ObamaCare needs to be repealed. I don’t care if people have voted 30 times for it. ObamaCare is the largest tax increase for you, the American people, the largest tax increase, 22 new taxes, 16,000 new IRS agents. Who needs IRS agents? Talk about gridlock, we…Mr. Grijalva said, that it’s my way or the highway. I said, let’s talk about it. If it works for the people, if it’s going to work for us, for our own interests, let’s do it but if it doesn’t, I’m sorry but I guess it’s your way or my way.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, would you like a minute?
Raúl Grijalva: It’s a definition and the definition is as in the last two years and prior to that in the Senate the gridlock has been, and I’m very proud to have voted for ObamaCare and I proudly call it that. I’m okay with ObamaCare having preventive care, I’m okay with ObamaCare telling insurance companies, no, you cannot deny that person healthcare because they have a preexisting condition. I’m very comfortable that parents can keep their kids on until they’re 26 years old. I’m very comfortable with 80 percent of your premium has to go into healthcare and not into profit. I’m very proud of those and the fact that by the time it’s implemented 30 million Americans that have not one iota of healthcare other than to go to an emergency room and charge the rest of us will now have the opportunity to have something affordable and accessible. I’m proud of that and it’s a good thing.
Christopher Conover: Again, as we said before, obviously these issues are emotional, everybody has opinions on them and you’re doing a pretty good job of holding your applause but let’s keep working on it. Thank you. Okay, our next question, again from the sponsors. This one also I think will evoke some strong feelings so again, let’s try. Immigration reform remains one of the most important issues in the country and especially here in Southern Arizona. How will you go about solving this problem. And Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you get to answer this one first and as before you each have two minutes. You have two minutes.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Immigration. I am completely in favor of legal immigration, as an immigrant myself. We are a sovereign country with laws and regulations and everybody should come to this country the right way, the same way that I came. But I’m not sure if your question or the question is about legal or illegal immigration but I have to ask a question. Mr. Grijalva has been in Congress for 10 years and what bills has he introduced to fix the problem with immigration? I understand our immigration system is broken. It takes too long. People are upset. There are so many stories out there and each one needs to be addressed. What I want to talk about is border security and national security cause immigration to me, that’s what it…that’s what it’s supposed to be. We need to address that our borders are not secure, that it is a national security issue. We have open borders down south. I’ve been there. I have walked the border. There’s no such thing as secure borders people and if you want a tour I can arrange that so you can see for yourselves. National security. Nobody’s talking about some people that come across the border, they’re national criminals, international criminals. They’re infiltrating our borders. Border Patrol says that only five percent of those people are captured. What happens to the other 95 percent? Who are they? Why are they here? What are they doing here?
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, you’re up next and you have two minutes.
Raúl Grijalva: Thank you very much. And I’m a proud original co-sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that has been before the Congress the last eight years that I’ve been there, the Dream Act that has been original co-sponsored, I’ve been part of that…introducing that legislation for the last eight years. Let’s talk about some non-starters. Non-starters are that the issue of immigration and the Supreme Court said, number one, 1070 violated a basic constitutional issue, that this is a federal responsibility. This is a broken system that needs to be corrected and Congress has the responsibility to do that and you’re not going to do that with platitudes and with rhetoric. You’re not going to do it by scaring people, oh my god, it’s amnesty, oh my god, it’s open borders, oh my god, illegals broke the law, they’re changing our way of life and vigilantes are okay, we should have militia on the border, destroying our culture and our way of life. Those are all non-starters in a conversation where you want compromise and solutions. I would suggest that we have to look at the reality. We have blended families that need to be unified in this country. We have at one point in Iraq 33,000 of our troops in uniform serving us, serving us who are non-citizens and some citizens would come home to find their spouse and their children deported when they landed…when they came back to the country after serving us in those theaters of war. The issue of this reality and to say there’ll be self deportation, that somehow people will disappear. The greatest security step we can take right now is to know who’s here, have a process for early legalization and in that process unify families and begin to heal, and the word is an appropriate word, heal the divisions that have been created. Immigration has been a great bully stick to be able to win elections but it has not served the problem. The problem is with us and the crisis continues to grow. To ignore it and to use rhetoric is not going to get us to a solution.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you so much. Mrs. Guerra, same question, you have two minutes.
Blanca Guerra: Thank you. I have a comprehensive immigration plan that allows those undocumented individuals to do just that, register with the appropriate officials, let us know who is in the United States without documents. At that point they can begin to heal, they can begin to pay the fees and the fines which would allow us some revenue into our government, they could be made responsible for the entry either as a child or as an adult into our country by contributing to work, to pay taxes, to be a citizen of the United States if they so choose. They could get at the back of the line after they pay their fees and their fines. Right now what we have is immigration policies that support crime and the criminal. We do not make it easy for an individual to come visit or come shop in the U.S. The immigrants spend their money here, they stimulate the economy. What we should be doing is giving them a legal avenue to participate as appropriate people here in the U.S.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you have up to one minute for a rebuttal if you would like it.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Yes. The Dream Act. The Dream Act sounds to me like a political ploy. Congress is the only governmental agency if you want to call it that that has the ability or the power to set immigration laws. Mr. Grijalva, for me it is a…it looks like a dereliction of duty when President Obama circumvented Congress and went around us, the people, and declared that he was going to give amnesty or like I call it’s a ploy because two years is just a ploy. People are not getting amnesty, people are not getting their papers, it’s just a political ploy to win votes.
Christopher Conover: Thank you so much. Mr. Grijalva.
Raúl Grijalva: It’s kind of ironic. The Dream Act at one point was supported by Senator McCain, had a tough race, changed his mind. Representative Flake having a tough race in the primary, changed his mind. George Bush supported comprehensive immigration reform. Ronald Reagan did the last immigration reform that we’ve had in this country in 1986. My point being that there is a point where things can be discussed and worked out. Will I get everything I want? No. But I think if we’re going to move to comprehensive reform, which I would like to see, and we’re not going to get there all at once, then the Dream Act becomes a vehicle that has to be done incrementally and done immediately. These are kids for no choice of their own are in this country, they’re as American as apple pie and everybody in this room and why should they have to suffer a punitive consequence on a choice they didn’t make for themselves. These are bright kids, as American as anybody else, that deserve the opportunity. And to make them, make them scapegoats in this political rhetoric about hate and self loathing is really, really a mistake.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you.
Blanca Guerra: I think the Dream Act was a very appropriate policy to be propounded by the Congress. It allows for those young people who came here as children to be able to come out from hiding to try to live a prosperous life here in the U.S. Their parents brought them here for a better life and now they get the opportunity to achieve their American dream just like we achieved the American dream. I hope that Congress goes a little bit further and proposes more policies to cure this faulty immigration system. We need revenue. My plan allows for revenue to come into Congress, to our government, and we need to be civil to people. We just need to keep going forward.
Christopher Conover: Thank you so much. A quick reminder to all of you. We are nearing the time where we will begin taking your questions or asking your questions. If you have a question and you haven’t turned it in yet, please raise your hand and we will get some people to come and pick those up. If you have a question but you need a card, also raise your hand and we’ll make sure we get a card to you. If you have not yet written your question, please print. It makes my life a little easier reading them and I have to say the questions I’ve seen so far, there are elementary school teachers everywhere who are very proud. Your penmanship is very good. Our next question from the sponsors. The economic future in Southern Arizona is of utmost importance to all of us who live in this area. What plans do you have to strengthen our economic future through your role in Washington? Again, each of you will have two minutes and we have come all the way back around. Mr. Grijalva, you have two minutes.
Raúl Grijalva: I’ve introduced legislation in this session to do…to promote trade for the State of Arizona and for Southern Arizona. It involves our port of entries, it involves additional customs personnel and it includes a secure port of entry but it also, the flow of commerce and goods and services, it’s a $2.5 billion industry for the State of Arizona and a lot of it in Southern Arizona and we’re losing out. We’re the only state that has not advanced in terms of trade with Mexico. This is an opportunity. So trade is part of it. Diversification is the other part of it, to take advantage of the opportunities that we have here in alternative and renewable energies and begin to create those jobs for the future. And the last I think is investment. I think we forget too much and the role of government in that. This trickle down and waiting for the people that have accumulated money to spend it, we’ve been waiting around for a decade for that to happen and it hasn’t happened and the unemployment continues to be what it is. And for us it’s about people having jobs, disposable income and being able to be secure with them and their families and have a future. And so I would suggest that investment in education, jobs training and a direct hand by the government in job creation for our teachers, for our health workers, for our police and for our firefighters. You know, I…I think that in every area going back to FDR that when this country needed our government to be part of the solution, it was about job creation and stimulating an opportunity in the economy and investing in the future. And education is the best way to invest in the future. There’s a role for government in this recovery, it hasn’t been played out as much as it should and I think that role has to be much more robust, much more concentrated and if Southern Arizona is going to recovery fully, government, trade and diversification into new technologies and new jobs is going to be the way to go.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you so much. Mrs. Guerra, you have two minutes.
Blanca Guerra: It’s Ms. Guerra.
Christopher Conover: Ms. Guerra.
Blanca Guerra: Yes, I believe that we should be robust and put all the attention into creating jobs for Southern Arizona. Right now I can’t tell you what the problem is with the borders, the frontera here in Arizona, but we are losing trade from Mexico. Mexico is really considering to take their produce to another state which means that if we don’t start doing something about it, we need to pay attention to Nogales or that…Nogales is going to be left with even higher unemployment. Nogales is Arizona’s biggest port of entry, Arizona’s largest potential trade area. Why are we not paying attention to it? We could encourage more tourism. We could take the government away from intrusion in promoting jobs. The Rosemont Copper issue was delayed because of government intrusion and we need jobs, we need to limit the government in its reach in quashing us, we need to ask the government to make those regulations friendlier for a small business to start up. We have been squeezed, we have been drained of the ability to insure our own life, to seek out happiness. And that is what I would do.
Christopher Conover: Thank you so much. And Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you have two minutes for this question.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: In Southern Arizona we have great opportunities to tap into our natural resources. Sadly, the Democratic leaders in our city, our county, in our Congress, have making decisions to stop the growth and the free enterprise, the free market is not flowing because of government regulations. Government is not friendly to job creators so we need to get the government out of the way. The government with all the excessive regulations and the red tape, they always stalk about shovel ready jobs. Well, we were promised that four years ago. There was no shovel ready jobs. Mr. Grijalva admitted that on the recovery act or the bailouts as we all know it that there was…that they forgot the job creation. They left job creation out. See, his exact words. ‘We left job creation out.’ Well, it is proved that government does not create jobs. Government creates bureaucracies. So we the people need to get the government out of the way so the free market can flow. Free market is people that have money that want to invest, people that need to spend their own money, not rely on the government. The government has shown that when they want to pick winners and losers, it is wrong. Solyndra. They wasted a half a billion dollars of our money. That’s our money and what happened to Solyndra? They went bankrupt, with our money. That’s not acceptable.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Mr. Grijalva, you have up to a minute if you would like it.
Raúl Grijalva: Yeah, I think as we talk about the bailouts, it’s kind of interesting and ironic that Bain Capital took money from the bailout. I’m sure Mr. Romney…to pay bonuses for the executives there and to keep them from going…losing any more money. Mr. Ryan, who voted against it and rails against it, lobbied hard and earnestly to make sure that companies in his district got some of that stimulus money at the time. And what I said at the time, and it’s a vote that we lost, that a component of all the stimulus in the recovery act had to be a robust job creation, federal job creation. We didn’t win that argument and that’s what I meant. The component of the stimulus had to be job creation directed by the federal government in conjunction with private and public entities across this country. It didn’t happen. I wish it would have but to all of a sudden single out the bailout while people pocketed a considerable amount of money including presidential and vice presidential candidates is hypocrisy at its best.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you so much. Ms. Guerra, you have a minute if you would like it.
Blanca Guerra: Oh, we’re jumping all over the place, huh? We do need to concentrate on Arizona and building employment here. We need to get the economy stirred up. Focus on certain issues, for one, I’m telling you, the produce and the trade with Mexico needs to be number one. We need to put more blue and less green on the border which means just customs agent processing the work through. We don’t need more Border Patrols. We need more…less regulations, them to be more friendly to people like you and me so our neighbors can start their businesses without having to put up a million dollar bond. We need cooperation with our legislators both in the state and in the federal government to get together and do what’s best for Arizona. We need to stop this division here.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. And Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you have a minute if you would like it.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: No, I’ll pass. Thank you.
Christopher Conover: Our fourth sponsor question actually was touched on a little bit in the answers from this last question. The proposed Rosemont Mine is a controversial issue in our area and it would impact federal property in the Coronado National Forest that includes sacred tribal sites as well as sensitive wildlife areas. In addition, truck traffic and mining dust could violate federal clean air standards. Please share your position on this project, your reasons for that position and what impact your decision would have on Southern Arizona. Again, you all will have two minutes each for this and by my calculation, Ms. Guerra, you get to go first.
Blanca Guerra: All right. Very good. I support Rosemont Copper. They’ve recently been given a permit by the EPA so the EPA has been out there and they’ve checked their standards, their policies and their procedures for their mining situations there. Rosemont will bring, and I don’t know the dollar figure, I’m dumbfounded, I apologize. They bring revenue to our state, to Southern Arizona, which is badly needed at this time. They will not only bring jobs. With those jobs those employees will be paying their taxes which will allow for tax revenue. Those employees will also be bringing their families and everybody else that is attached to a job as in other businesses will be supported by Rosemont employees. What I would suggest or propose is that those people who oppose Rosemont Copper come up with another proposal of a profitable 20 year plan that will bring revenue to Arizona. I don’t think anybody has done that. I support Rosemont Copper. We need to get those unemployment lines shorter and we need to get those people off of welfare.
Christopher Conover: Thank you very much. Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you have up to two minutes.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: I am a strong supporter of Rosemont Copper. I have a question. What unemployed person here would turn down a job that is secure for 20 years? Mr. Grijalva says that 20 years of economic gain for our area, an increased tax base and good paying jobs is not good enough for our district. That’s what Rosemont Copper means; jobs, jobs, jobs. Good paying jobs. The average job that Rosemont will create is $60,000 a year. This means people in the mining industry, the University of Arizona creates wonderful miners. They have the School of Mining and all the graduates, they cannot stay in Arizona because they’re closing all the mines, they’re closing everything that has to do with mining so pretty soon the School of Mining is going to go down. Some people have concerns about Rosemont Copper and one of them is the water. I believe tonight actually they are having a hearing on the water issue and it’s going to be addressed. I know Rosemont has done everything that they can that is supposedly according to the law, according to regulations. They have gone through everything for five years and they still cannot extract the copper. We are the copper state. God has blessed our state with tons and tons of deposits of copper and we cannot get to it because of government regulations. The other concern that people have is what’s going to happen to the site when it’s all done. I understand that Rosemont Copper has set aside money to rebuild or bring it back to the best way that it’s supposed to stay natural state.
Christopher Conover: Thank you so much. And Mr. Grijalva, you have two minutes on Rosemont.
Raúl Grijalva: Thank you. I oppose the Rosemont use of forest land for a dumping ground for their tailings and for their waste. I would…I find it kind of ironic again that we talk about the issue of Rosemont and that this is going to be the panacea job creator for Southern Arizona. There is a 20 year life of this kind of…of this kind of benefit. Well, we’ve had 20 years plus of another kind of benefit, tourism, recreation, the use of those lands by thousands upon thousands of people, the sacred sites to the O’odham Nation. Those are not things that you just blithely ignore and I would suggest that those…that money that has been generated there by clean industry, being tourism and ecotourism and recreational use, are valid investments in the economy of Southern Arizona. The other thing is the quality and quantity of water, clean air issues, public health issues, habitats and a foreign company that’s going to export almost the entire amount of copper that’s extracted here, it will do nothing to reduce the cost here domestically. Pre-conditions have been set with China and South Korea for where that copper is going to go so what is the net gain for the American taxpayer, nothing. And the other issue is, those regulations are there for a purpose. EPA, NEPA, Clean Water Act, they’re there for a purpose, it’s to protect the health and well being of the American people and to blithely say, ‘They don’t matter because it’s more important that a foreign owned company gets the benefit out of American minerals, we should ignore those. No. All consequences have to be dealt with, intended and not intended, and until that table is clear about what the consequences will be in the future for this region which I don’t think will be good, I will not support it.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you. Ms. Guerra, you have up to one minute if you would like a rebuttal.
Blanca Guerra: Congressman, we need jobs. Our people cannot be…they cannot be supported on tourism. We need more good paying jobs. We don’t…well, actually, I would encourage telephonic jobs but we have very…one of the best schools in the nation. We have more than one of the best schools, both the U of A and ASU turn out students with degrees and those students with degrees I’m sure do not want to be selling cactus juice or cactus jelly to the tourists. We need good paying jobs here. We have the ability to maintain, we can attract, we’re a good climate. We need to encourage jobs here.
Christopher Conover:* Thank you. Ms. Saucedo Mercer, you have up to a minute if you would like it.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: You know, I always hear that Rosemont Copper is a foreign corporation from Canada. Does Mr. Grijalva know that ASARCO, a mining corporation here in Arizona in Green Valley with those ugly green mesas that we all see whenever we go to Nogales, is owned by a Mexican corporation and yes, it is a copper company. What is wrong with the fact that whoever wants to invest in our economy is welcome here? Jobs are needed in this economy. What is wrong with that? We need jobs, good paying jobs and Rosemont Copper is going to provide 2,000 jobs directly and indirectly and we need them.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. And Mr. Grijalva, you have up to a minute if you would like it.
Raúl Grijalva: As we speak, there are hundreds and hundreds of unfilled mining jobs all across the State of Arizona which begs the question as to the fact that there is production going on and jobs to be filled, point number one. Point number two, we’re talking about Rosemont, the parent company being Augustus, and I would suggest all of you look at a film that’s being done about that Board of Directors that’s going to be presented I think on the 9th on Channel 9 and it talks about what those deals have been and what they’ve meant to the American people. This is a company, Rosemont and Augustus, that have never, never created a mining job. This is a company, Rosemont associated with the law firm that decertified the United Steelworkers in 1983 after a strike and this is a company that has never said that they would deal with in collective bargaining in a fair way with the pensions and the rights of employees to be represented and associated with what union that they want to be with. That to me fundamentally goes against everything Americans believe in in the fact that when I work I need to be respected and I need to be represented.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, you’ve reached the end. Thank you. We’re now moving into the section of your questions and just a reminder for everybody, the candidates will have 90 seconds to answer the questions and they will each be afforded a 30 second rebuttal for this as we move through the rest of this evening. This first question from the audience stays with the economy but we go to the other end of the district, we go to Yuma specifically for this question or this question is specifically about Yuma. It says, Yuma consistently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. What will you do as a member of Congress to try and create jobs in the Yuma area? And according to my notes, Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you get to this question first and we have 90 seconds.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: You are correct, Christopher, Yuma has 32 percent unemployment. I’ve been complaining for about a year and a half and I’ve been always saying that it was 28 percent unemployment. I was corrected last week, it’s 32 percent unemployment. Yuma is an agricultural town. There’s a lot of agricultural jobs but it is seasonal kind of jobs that are available. One of the biggest complaints in Yuma is the lack of brain power. People want to bring jobs to Yuma but they don’t have…Yuma doesn’t have the pool of workers that are ready to be working on certain fields so corporations don’t come to Yuma. We need, again we need to Mr. Grijalva talk about, we need to invest in education, yes. We need to invest in education and we need to attract corporations, companies but we need to let…we need to take the government out of the way in order for corporations to be able to create jobs. Again, government is not the solution, government is the problem.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Mr. Grijalva, you have 90 seconds.
Raúl Grijalva: Yuma accurately stated, agricultural, seasonal, unemployment during non-harvest times peaks and it peaks at really high level, a vast retirement community and the other base of employment is federal jobs, government jobs. I’m sure in the Ryan budget when you cut those government jobs by 40 percent it’s going to help the area of Yuma tremendously. It’s about diversification and it is about investment and, you know, you can’t have it both ways. As you coordinate with industry to begin to train and prepare people to take the new opportunities in front of them, Yuma area is becoming one of the major solar producers in the State of Arizona. AWC, the community college, is training people in that industry and in order to do that you have to have an investment by the government in the preparation and creating the opportunity to have those technical people available. Corporations are low to spend their own money to do that process. The partnerships has to be, we will train them, we will educate them, we will invest the taxpayer money in these men and women and you will be here and you will hire them. That’s the partnership. To say that we just sit around on our hands and wait for corporations to magically create a job is a fantasy.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you. Ms. Guerra.
Blanca Guerra: Yuma is another very large port of entry for trade from Mexico. We need to utilize our ports of entry for…to stimulate the economy. This is one major way that these border towns are going to get work. It is an agricultural area but we also have in Yuma people coming from California to enjoy our better weather because they can’t afford it over there. But what do we create for them? We’ve really allowed them nothing so we as Congress or representatives of Arizona should pay more attention to Yuma and their unemployment rate, give them a handout, support more jobs. Just recently there was an oil refinery proposal that failed in Yuma. They couldn’t come up with the funding so it failed and I know that the people from Yuma wanted, they were looking forward to good paying jobs like the refinery was going to offer them. We need some more ideas. Yes, it does come with investment, we need…our representatives need to go out and look for investors, look for jobs to come to Arizona, they can do it.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. And Mrs. Saucedo Mercer.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: This is my rebuttal?
Christopher Conover: No. Actually, yes. Sorry I got lost there. Yes, this is your rebuttal. You have 30 seconds for the rebuttal if you would like it.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Well, Mr. Grijalva talks about the Ryan plan. Well, on his people’s plan, on his people’s budget, he wants to destroy our military. Yuma has one of the largest Marine bases. If you take that away from Yuma, Yuma’s economy is going to go to 90 percent unemployment so how does that work, I don’t get it.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Mr. Grijalva, you have 30 seconds if you would like it.
Raúl Grijalva: Thank you. The budget we propose is an alternative to the Ryan budget, talks about a military that is smart, prepared for the 21st century, technologically adapt to what is happening now and, and that the investment in our military corresponds, corresponds to the needs of the country and our international obligations. It doesn’t say that you slash it by 90 percent. And when you have a state…
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you, that’s the 30. And Ms. Guerra, if you would like 30 seconds you may have it.
Blanca Guerra: I’m going to take it right back to the Yuma issue. We need jobs in Yuma, we need to concentrate on fixing our ports of entry. We need to stimulate the economy and how do we do that, by settling down our representatives, stop the bickering and get some resolutions into Arizona. It’s possible, we just have to get it done.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Our next question deals with foreign policy and the military. We’ve touched a little bit on the military in this one. Mr. Grijalva, you will be able to answer this one first. The war in Afghanistan has gone on for more than a decade now. Do you support the current timetable of combat troop withdrawal? If not, what is your approach to continuing or ending U.S. combat presence in Afghanistan? And of course this is for everybody. Mr. Grijalva, you go first, you have 90 seconds.
Raúl Grijalva: Yes, thank you. The timetable I would have preferred would have been much more rapid than the one that we’re on and the timetable for getting out of Iraq would have been much more rapid than it occurred. Two adventures, driven by bad information and driven by I think a sense that we can solve every issue in front of us through the use of our military might and that has proven not to be true. We reached a milestone in deaths in Afghanistan. It has been another war that we did not pay for. Our brave men and women have sacrificed a lot. At the very minimum, at the very minimum, the extraction from Afghanistan has to remain on the timetable that it’s on, I would have wished it would have been much more rapid. You know, our ability and our strength militarily is unquestioned but the fact that we as a nation began to use other tools to deal with the crisis in the Middle East in particular, diplomacy, humanitarian aid, education and began to reach out in a different way and we proved it in Iraq that might alone does not deal with it and as we extract ourselves, the consequences of our presence, those countries go back to the quagmire that they were before we were there. I think this experience and the brave men and women that have sacrificed, we owe them a lot more than repeating these mistakes over and over and over again.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Ms. Guerra.
Blanca Guerra: I wonder if we owe them to stay there. I would like to see all our men and women come home but all the effort we’ve put into the Afghanistan, if we don’t do it in a proper…leave in a proper function and way, those people who we chased out are just going to reinvade it again and everything that we’ve done to change that will be just gone. So when we do bring our men and women home, it has to be done properly. It should be done quietly too. There’s no reason why we need to tell our enemies that we are leaving, so they can hurt us on the way out? Come on. We do need some kind of security here. It’s our men and women that…it’s easy to say men and women, it’s really difficult to realize and put yourself in the place of those men and women. They’re our children, they’re our brothers and sisters that sacrificed their life. Most important of all I believe is to do what is best for them when we take them, when we allow them to come back home.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. And Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you have 90 seconds.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: The wars. The war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, we were promised by President Obama that it would be over in his first year as president. Well, it didn’t happen. Like I said, my daughter has served both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our military has not been able to win the wars because the politicians get in the way. I find it very disingenuous or insincere when Mr. Grijalva talks about our brave men and women in uniform when he, himself, along with three other members of Congress gave Code Pink, a letter, a congressional letter to allow them to travel behind enemy lines to bring aide and comfort to the enemy. Excuse me. In my book, that is treason.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, you have 30 seconds for a rebuttal if you would like.
Raúl Grijalva: Yeah. We heard the same, we heard the same scenario in Vietnam that if we just let the military do what they need to do, that everything will be taken care of and I…the ability of people to point out patriotism, call people treasonous or whatever, in an atmosphere in which there has to be dialogue, there has to be discussion, I find kind of frightening. We’re at a point in America where it is demanded of us that we support our troops but it’s also demanded of us that we be very, very careful in how we use a weapon such as treason and accuse somebody else of it without any merit or…
Christopher Conover: Your time is up, Mr. Grijalva. Thank you. Okay, ladies and gentlemen, thank you. Ladies and gentleman, please. Thank you. Ms. Guerra, you have 30 seconds if you would like it.
Blanca Guerra: I think I’ll pass on this one, thank you.
Christopher Conover: Okay. Ms. Saucedo Mercer, you have 30 second if you would like it.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: I just have a question. What else would you call it but treason?
Christopher Conover: Moving on to our next question. Candidates across the country in races and across Arizona continue to see government regulations or say government regulations are in the way. Are all regulations bad and are there good ones? Please cite an example if possible. Ms. Guerra, you get first bite at this apple and you have 90 seconds.
Blanca Guerra: Which is bad regulations? There are a lot of regulations that benefit us. I’m going to use the EPA. EPA takes care of our air. We need a group like that. We need zoning, we need a lot of regulations but what we don’t need is over regulating, over regulating to the point where a person, the public, the plain Jane Doe and John Doe, cannot start a corporation or business on their own because of over regulation. You need permits to open your door, you need permits to get a telephone, you need permits to close your day and permits to hang up your telephone. We need insurance to be monitored, insurance companies to be regulated so we can afford, we the people can afford insurances, all kinds of insurance coverages. And I’m going to…since I’m in insurance I’m going to go into ObamaCare. ObamaCare is effectively a tax but can you imagine in this plan this talks about taking care of everybody, everybody’s covered but does it cap or does it insist that the insurance companies cap their premium amounts? No, it doesn’t. We need to regulate them.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Ms. Saucedo Mercer or Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you have 90 seconds for this.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Regulations are killing jobs. I understand that some regulations are outdated. We need to go back and revise some of those regulations. Rosemont Copper, good example. They have spent millions and millions of dollars to bring…to be able to do their job, to be able to create jobs but because of government regulations they haven’t been able to do it. They have gone through all the process, the EPA, the air quality, everything has been done right like I said tonight they’re talking about the water issue. Everything has been addressed but because of government regulations they haven’t been able to. That’s insane. I know a lady here in town, she was…she wanted to start a restaurant business. It took her 18 months to go through the process for her to be able to open her little taco stand. It’s not acceptable.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Mr. Grijalva.
Raúl Grijalva: Yeah, I think there are some absolutely appropriate regulatory controls that need to be in place. When it comes to American people’s public health, clean air, clean water, to prevent companies and corporations from dumping mercury into our water, to prevent emissions that are toxic that are going to hurt people, public health is important and that has to be part of the oversight that the…that government has in behalf of the American people. Financial; Wall Street needs to be monitored, Wall Street has to have the Securities Exchange Commission to be robust and have investigative powers and also have the power to level penalties so that we don’t end up with the housing crisis that we have as a consequence of Wall Street and those financial institutions using and abusing the American people.
Christopher Conover: Ladies and gentlemen, please.
Raúl Grijalva: The other point is, I get a big kick out of people talking about big government regulations and those same people like big government. They like big government to stick their nose into people’s bedrooms, they like big government to tell you who you can love and not love, they like big government to tell you what religion should be in the classroom and not in the classroom. That’s okay big government but when we’re trying to protect people’s public health, that is bad big government.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, again. Ladies and gentlemen, again, let’s keep the applause and the boos to a minimum. Thank you. Ms. Guerra, you have 30 seconds for a rebuttal if you would like it.
Blanca Guerra: You know, Raúl, that was very good. That was really good. How can one top that? That is absolutely correct. For the Republicans it’s okay for big government to be in my bedroom but you don’t want the EPA, unbelievable.
Christopher Conover: Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you have 30 seconds if you’d like it.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Government regulations, oh, boy. Did he mention something about housing? Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae, they were regulating and what did they created, the housing bubble that crashed our economy and what happened to your houses? Many of us lost our houses.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. And Mr. Grijalva, you have 30 seconds if you would like it.
Raúl Grijalva: Yeah. Let’s talk about another phenomenon in the life of the American people and in our quality of life, it’s big, rich individuals and corporations that have now…
Christopher Conover: Ladies and gentlemen, please.
Raúl Grijalva: …decided because of Citizens United that they can buy candidates, they can spend anonymous money and they can influence elections at a rate that has never been seen. The biggest threat to the democracy of this country is the fact that we can have one individual, one individual, spend a billion dollars and begin to influence and control an election.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you for your time. Ladies and gentlemen, the longer we applaud, the more we boo, the fewer questions that get answered. We are in the portion of the show that are your questions, let me remind you of that. Our next question, we’re going back to the border. Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you will be the first to answer this. Which is more important for securing the border, drug policy or immigration policy and why and you have 90 seconds.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Securing the border is not about keeping the poor illegal alien from coming here looking for a job. Border security is national security issues which we are not addressing. We have trans-national criminals coming across the border and nobody’s addressing that, nobody’s calling them for who they are. We cannot talk about border security without talking about national security. The federal government has failed us, has failed the State of Arizona. We need to secure the border. The federal government’s number one job is supposed to be to secure…to protect the people in this country. If you go back to the San Diego sector, back in 1986 when Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to 12 million people, there was a promise that we were going to secure the border. Congress sat on it. They never acted upon it except for former Congressman Duncan Hunter. In the San Diego sector they built the double layer fence. Crime is down, they don’t have the same problems that we are having here in Southern Arizona. We need to secure the border.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Mr. Grijalva, same questions and you have 90 seconds.
Raúl Grijalva: You need in the long term comprehensive immigration reform to fix the immigration policy that’s not working to deal with the reality of individuals coming here to find economic refuge and try to work in this country. But the drug policy issue is critical to the protection of the border and all of us. A focused approach on organized crime and the syndicates who don’t care we have 1070 or the Dream Act. Their job is about making money and bringing drugs to this country and others here taking guns to the other country. So I would suggest a drug policy has to be an important component of protection. And, you know, one of the things that we can’t do on the border is to create the hysteria that we can’t do anything about it unless we build a seven layer fence. The reality is that we need a policy that’s comprehensive and the reality is that you need an enforcement strategy that focuses in on where the real danger is and that is…that’s organized crime and the drugs and people smuggling, that is where they are making their profit. We have missed that target and I think it’s time that that target became the priority of our national policy with regard to border security and it has not been up to this point.
Christopher Conover: Thank you so much. And Ms. Guerra.
Blanca Guerra: I think the question was which one would I prefer. I prefer them to work at the same time. We do need to take the funds that are given to the criminals on the other side. There are people that want to come to this side without documents that pay thousands of dollars to criminals to bring them over. There is also the lack of attention to the cartels and their ability for them to come over, take our weapons and then use them against us. There has to be a form of security and I believe that there are policies that are just not being effective, they’re not effective because our Congressmen and Senators are not working together to get this done. Once again, we need to unite our representatives, force them to work, force them to find a resolution that fits Arizona.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, would you like 30 additional seconds?
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Yes.
Christopher Conover: You may have them.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Mr. Grijalva talks about comprehensive immigration reform and again we cannot address that issue until the borders are secure. Mr. Grijalva is always busy declaring wilderness areas that only serve as sanctuaries for the drug cartels and trans-national criminals that bring their illegal products into our country and illegal human smuggling.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, would you like an additional 30 seconds?
Raúl Grijalva: Yeah. As I said earlier, the issue of how you deal with the border, the complexity and the difficulty in putting a cohesive policy together is not going to be, as my opponent Ms. Mercer has done, by cheerleading our militia and vigilantes on the border and say, ‘Great! Look what a great job you’re doing.’ Even the Border Patrol has stated over and over again that they need to get out of the way and let professionals do the job. She has been there, she’s cheerleaded for them and I think that adds to the hysteria and it adds to the perception that we cannot solve this problem.
Christopher Conover: Mr. Grijalva, thank you. And Ms. Guerra, you may have 30 seconds if you would like it.
Blanca Guerra: There are solutions. Once again, we need to get down, stop the arguing, stop this polarization of our representatives and just do the work. It’s not going to be very difficult to say, ‘Hey, we need to secure the border.’ How do we secure the border? We have technology, we need to use that technology to the best of our ability. We need to push those policies through that will allow people an avenue, a legal avenue into entry to the U.S.
Christopher Conover: Thank you very much. We have reached the time in our program where we are going to closing statements. Let me thank all of our candidates for answering questions and let me thank all of you for asking questions. Each of our candidates will be given up to two minutes for a closing statement. Since we started at this end of the table with opening statements, we will start at the other end of the table for closing statements. Mrs. Saucedo Mercer, you have two minutes for your closing statement.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer: Thank you. I am running for the United States Congress because I understand the people of Arizona. We have been misrepresented for the last 10 years and it is time for good representation, it is time to listen to the people, it is time for citizen legislators to come together and work together for what is good for we the people, not for we Washington, D.C. or special interest groups. I am asking for your vote tonight. I will work hard to represent you. I will have an open door. I will not call for a boycott of our state. I vow to be an ambassador for Arizona, to bring jobs to Arizona, to work with the state legislators to bring…to attract jobs to Arizona. We need to get the government out of the way. We need to have open discussion about the issues and we cannot keep going about, ‘Well, I am a Republican, I am a Democrat, I am an Independent, I am a Libertarian.’ This is ‘We, the people of the United States of America.’ We need jobs, we need to stop talking about politics and rhetoric. We need jobs, people. And I ask you for your vote November 6. Thank you.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Mr. Grijalva, you have up to two minutes for your closing statement.
Raúl Grijalva: Thank you very much. This election is not as simple as left versus right. It’s about right and wrong. And as we go forward, I make a commitment that I will in a very righteous way not allow Social Security benefits to be tampered with or changed. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher so that private companies make more money. I will not allow the stripping of environmental protections of public health and for the special places in our country. And, I will accept the reality in this country and in this state that we are a diverse community, a community that demands mutual respect, a community that insists that as we go into a future that we do not marginalize people, that we do not get into a place where it’s all about self loathing and not promoting the self and the opportunity people have. You know, I’ve lived in this state my whole life. I’m very proud of it, proud of what my dad and mom did and my dad is an immigrant, to give me an opportunity at the American Dream that I want every other person to have. And as the face of America changes, we shouldn’t be afraid of that. The face is not changing because the soul’s the same, the values are the same and those values that I learned as a young man and as a kid in this community, values of tolerance, equity, equal under the law and mutual and self respect are things that I’m going to continue to represent in Congress, going to continue to fight for those things. And I am willing to sit and make it better and I give you that commitment. Thank you very much.
Christopher Conover: Thank you. Ms. Guerra, you get to bring it home as it were. You have up to two minutes.
Blanca Guerra: Thank you very much. And I thank you all for attending. You’ve been a fantastic audience. On November 6th you are going to have the power in your hands to change this failing path of our government. The Democrats and the Republicans have made promises, promises that they have failed to keep. The people of Arizona do not have a voice in Congress. I propose a third party in Congress but you know who the third party is, it’s you, it’s we the people are the third party. We need that voice. The government was created for us and by us. We have allowed those political factions to take control of our government and it’s time we stand up and on November 6 say, ‘No, we are not going to give it back to those people who have wronged us. We will not make the same mistake again.’ We the people need a voice and it’s up to we the people to get it there. It’s possible and on November 6th you can tell the rest of the world that you want to make a change. I ask for your vote on November 6th. I am Blanca Guerra, your Libertarian candidate. I will be your voice.
Christopher Conover: To all three of our candidates, thank you so much for coming and participating and answering questions from your constituents. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the point where you get the final word. You don’t get the final word tonight but early ballots go out this week and November 6th you certainly will get the final word. Thank you so much for coming. On behalf of the League of Women Voters, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, Pima Community College and Arizona Public Media, have a great night.