September 21, 2019 In the News

Mohave Valley Daily News: Senate Candidate Kelly Makes Stop In Bullhead City

BULLHEAD CITY — Mark Kelly, Democratic candidate for the United States Senate, made a couple of stops in Bullhead City on Friday as part of a day spent making appearances around Mohave County.

The retired astronaut, Navy pilot and engineer spoke at Mohave Community College, toured the campus, then addressed people at an event at Laughlin Ranch hosted by the Mohave County Democrats.

While people are interested in what Kelly wants to accomplish if elected as a senator, he said, many people also want to know what it’s like having been an astronaut.

One thing: The view from above looking down at the earth was highly insightful.

“You get a sense we’re all in this together,” Kelly said.

He also has seen from space the deforestation of the Amazon that’s helping to heat up the planet through climate change.

Though Kelly said that as a child he wanted to be first person to walk on Mars, he doesn’t envision the red planet as where the people of earth will go to escape the effects of climate change.

“We have to conserve,” Kelly said. “Folks say we’re moving to Mars. Don’t believe them. We just need to do a better job taking care of our planet.”

If something isn’t done to slow the process of climate change, people should expect temperatures to threaten Arizona’s economy and way of life, he noted.

Longer, more severe droughts would make it more difficult to obtain clean water and increase public health risks. And Phoenix, which had 128 days that reached more than 100 degrees, could have double that number if current trends continue long term.

Arizona is one of the leading producers of renewable energy. Investing in research and development could make renewable energy more competitive and speed up the transition to a renewable economy.

“The only thing stopping us is irresponsible leadership in Washington,” he said.

Kelly is the husband of former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, who in 2011 was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Tucson. Six other people were killed and 18 injured in that incident. Giffords survived the ordeal but went through a lengthy, intense rehabilitation process.

“I couldn’t tell you how much harder this would have been for us if Gabby didn’t have good health care coverage,” Kelly said.

She since has become an advocate for gun control measures.

Kelly noted that 2.8 million Arizonans have pre-existing conditions and stressed that they shouldn’t lose or not be able to obtain health insurance because of it. Providing these people — and others around the country like them — with affordable insurance is paramount. So is establishing a public health care option to compete with private insurers, he said.

Also important is finding a way to lower prescription drug costs, which would require “taking on the pharmaceutical industry,” Kelly said.

He said he learned about the value of hard work from his mother, Patricia Kelly. During the 1970s, she was the first woman to become a police officer for the department in West Orange, New Jersey. That accomplishment included being the first woman to pass the physical fitness test designed for evaluating the fitness of men. Perseverance is how she improved her physical fitness.

Kelly is a proponent of public education and said he wants to see Pell Grants and other forms of financial aid fully funded. He’s against proposals to erase student debt because $1 trillion is a staggering amount of money. However, he said, allowing graduates to refinance their student debt is an important way to lessen the financial burden with which many struggle.

“The government shouldn’t make money on these grants,” Kelly emphasized.

Between his local stops, he talked about why he’s running.

“It’s important,” he said. “I really care about the country.”

Partisanship keeps politicians from finding solutions. Labeling people isn’t necessarily the best way to lead.

He’s not accepting money from corporate political action committees, saying that refusing such contributions allows legislators to be independent.

Kelly is expected to be running against Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally. She’s in the seat that was occupied by the late Sen. John McCain for more than 30 years.

Another man is running as a Democrat for the same seat in the Senate, Mohammad Arif. Along with incumbent McSally, there are two other Republicans running: Craig Brittain and Daniel McCarthy.

The primary elections are scheduled for Aug. 4.

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