I’m running for the United States Senate because Washington is broken and Arizonans deserve independent leadership focused on solving the problems we face.

When I’m traveling around Arizona with my wife Gabby Giffords, many of you come up to say hello. And a lot of you tell us your concerns and your ideas. What I’m struck by is that all of us, no matter what our political leanings or where in the state we come from — we’re all concerned about the same things: being able to afford health care for our families, providing our kids with the education and the opportunities they deserve, whether wages are going to keep up with increasing costs, if the Social Security and Medicare that you have paid into and earned are going to be there when you retire.

Washington isn’t addressing these big problems in a way that helps working people in Arizona. Partisanship keeps politicians from finding solutions, and all of the money in our political system keeps politicians from being accountable to the people they’re supposed to represent.

I never expected to be here. Gabby was always the member of Congress in the family, and the person who taught me everything I know about how to use policy to improve people’s lives. I bring a different set of experiences to the table than most in Washington. Seeing the challenges that we face as a state and a country, I know I can put these experiences to use to make a difference in the lives of people here in Arizona.

Through 25 years in the Navy and at NASA, I learned how to solve really tough problems, and I also learned to get along with and lead people from different backgrounds and different opinions in service of a greater mission. Unlike the federal government, the International Space Station can’t just shut down when people don’t get along. And when you’re orbiting the Earth at 25 times the speed of sound and bad stuff starts to happen, you have to work the problem as a team, and you can’t dismiss ideas based on the politics of the person offering them.

That kind of perspective teaches you to look problems in the face, not ignore them like so many in Washington do. I’ve never looked at things through a partisan lens, and I believe Arizona needs an independent voice representing them in the Senate.

That’s why I’ll always put what’s right for Arizona and the country above any political party. And why my campaign isn’t taking corporate PAC money, so you know that I’m only accountable to you.

Running for the Senate is the most intimidating thing I’ve done since I walked up to the space shuttle for the first time. But now you know why I’m doing it, and I ask for your support. And if I have your support, I ask for you to contribute what you can, volunteer when you can, and be part of this Mission for Arizona. Because like any mission I’ve ever been a part of, I can’t do it alone.