September 19, 2019 In the News

Parker Pioneer: Senate candidate Mark Kelly visits Parker

Mark Kelly, a Democrat who’s running for a U.S. Senate seat from Arizona, made a visit Sept. 19 to the Parker Community/Senior Center. Kelly toured the facility with Center Director Darla Tilley, spoke the lunchtime crowd, and then chatted with patrons for a time.

Kelly is running in the 2020 special election for the seat currently held by Martha McSally, a Republican. The seat was held by John McCain, who was elected in 2016 and died in 2018. Jon Kyl was originally named to fill the seat, but he only agreed to stay on until the end of 2018. Gov. Doug Ducey named McSally to fill the seat.

Kelly said he was visiting senior centers in the state and asking the patrons what their concerns are. He said he’d been to three such centers in the last week.

“You have the best food of the three centers I’ve visited,” Kelly joked to the audience.

Kelly is a Navy veteran and a former NASA astronaut. He is the husband of Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting incident in Tucson in 2011. That incident occurred at a public event where she and her staff were meeting with constituents. Six people were killed. Kelly said his last of three flights aboard the space shuttle was made while Giffords was in the hospital.

Kelly spoke for a time with the Pioneer and said he was running for the Senate because he has been a public servant for 25 years and he is concerned about the direction the country is going.

“The country is off-track on a lot of things,” he said.

As an example, he cited the Republicans giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations while the wages of working Americans have been stagnating. He also questioned why the federal government is running $1 trillion deficits.

One of Kelly’s biggest issues is health care. He said the government must do more to permit the marketing of generic drugs that save consumers money.

“People in the U.S. pay more for prescriptions than people in the countries around us,” he said.

Kelly said one of the biggest reasons for this is political donations from pharmaceutical interests. He said they make donations to keep themselves protected.

“We allow money from big pharmaceutical companies into our campaigns,” he said.

Kelly said there is bi-partisan legislation pending which would allow for more generics on the market, but it’s being blocked by the pharmaceutical interests. He said it was important to get the right people into office, including those who would bring more generics onto the market.

Jacob Peters, a member of Kelly’s staff, summarized the policies Kelly supports on prescription medications:

• Give Medicare the authority to negotiate down the price of prescription drugs for seniors.

• Cap out of pocket costs for seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D.

• Get cheaper generic drugs to market more quickly by cracking down on abuses of the patent system by big pharmaceutical companies.

Science, data and facts and not politics would be the basis for his policies, Kelly said.

“I really care about Arizona and the nation,” he said.

On his website, www.markkellycom, he offered this “Promise to Arizona:”

“This campaign is about the people of Arizona, not corporate PACs and the mess they’ve created in Washington. I won’t take a dime of corporate PAC money, and I’ll only answer to Arizonans.”

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