Five candidates are running in the newly-created Congressional District 1 in Arizona with hopes of taking a seat with the U.S. House of Representatives.
Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick is running against Wenona Benally Baldenegro in the August Primary Election.
Three Republicans are also running in the priamry. Patrick Gatti, Jonathan Paton and Doug Wade are looking to receive the Republican nomination.
The winner will replace previous Rep. Paul Gosar who is currently running for election in Congressional District 4 because of redistricting.
CD1 was formed earlier this year by Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission and extends from Oro Valley and Marana in northern Pima County to the Utah border in northern Arizona.
The district is 39 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican and 30 percent Independent.
District 1 also includes 11 of Arizona’s 21 American Indian tribes.
Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Arizona.
“Representation is about knowing the people you’re representing,” she said. “I was born and raised in the district. Both my mother and my father have roots going back 100 years in the district.”
Kirkpatrick earned a Bachelor’s Degree and then a law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law.
Kirkpatrick served as City Attorney in Sedona and taught Business Law and Ethics at Coconino Community College.
“I have a vision of this district based on a lifetime of living and serving here and that is a diversified economy,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick discussed a three-part plan for improving the economy.
“The first step is creating meaningful, good paying jobs in emerging technology, ” she said.
The plan also includes environmental protection and jobs in education.
In November 2004 Kirkpatrick was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 2.
Baldenegro was raised in Kayenta on the Navajo reservation. She earned national recognition as the first American Indian to graduate from Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College with a degree in English Literature. Later, she attended Harvard Law School.
“The people of District 1 want strong leaders in Congress who will stand up for their rights,” Baldenegro said.
Baldenegro has worked as an attorney and public interest advocate. She has worked for law firms and nonprofit organizations to expand educational opportunities, start-up businesses, economic development, banking and affordable housing.
“People want new long term jobs for the district,” Baldenegro said, referencing President Obama’s American Jobs Act as a way to achieve this. “It included money to rebuild the infrastructure, which is a huge need in CD1.”
Baldenegro helped to write policy and congressional testimonies about the needs of American Indians and rural Arizonans.
“We need to work with small business owners so they can get access to the capital they need now,” Baldenegro said.
If she is elected, Baldenegro will be the first American Indian woman to serve in Congress and the first American Indian from Arizona to be elected to Congress.
“We need to find a way to ensure that immigrant workers have a pathway to continue to contribute to the economy and continue to work,” Baldenegro said.
Patrick Gatti started a small business in 1977 as the only employee.
“As a small businessman we need to first take a look at the restrictions at the federal level so it entices people to open businesses.”
Gatti built the business up until it had 15 employees seasonally and sold the business in 2003.
“I’m running because I want to be able to vote against Obamacare and I think we need to get the economy going,” Gatti said. “We have an individual in the White House who has no concept of what it is to be making money. That needs to be corrected. The thinking he’s initiated through the White House needs to be corrected.”
Gatti said that his experience as a small business owner gives him a unique perspective.
“I want to be is a position to look at the rules that prevent people from opening businesses.”
Gatti has 27 years of business experience and 21 years of city council experience in La Verne, Calif.
“I know what it’s like to negotiate and come to common ground with someone.”
Jonathan Paton grew up in Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona.
In 1999, Paton enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve.
He was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2004 and after serving his term Paton enlisted to serve in Iraq as an operations officer in an intelligence unit. He was reelected in absentia in 2006.
Paton was elected to the Arizona Senate in 2008 and went on to challenge U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in 2010, but lost int he primary to Jesse Kelly.
“I’m running because I feel like the direction of the country is terribly off track,” Paton said. “We need more people in Congress who will hold the Executive Branch accountable.”
Paton has received the endorsement of Marana Mayor Ed Honea. He has also received endorsements from Marana Town Council members Herb Kai, Jon Post, Patti Comerford and Roxanne Ziegler.
“I can guarantee you that no one in this race had ever been to Saddle Brooke before this race or to Oro Valley or Marana,” Paton said. “I’m a lifelong Arizonan.”
Paton listed jobs, the economy and immigration as the biggest issues in Arizona this election season.
“I actually have experience with everything I’ve talked about in this campaign,” Paton said. “I voted for the largest tax cut in state history.”
Paton said more needs to be done to deal with illegal immigration.
“We need more troops on the border,” Paton said. “That needs to happen right away. They should have a primary role in protecting the border until there are enough border patrol agents.”
Wade is a precinct committeeman for the Yavapai County Republican Party. Wade was born and raised in Indiana. He served in the US army from 1969-1972 during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged from the 10th Special Forces.
Wade attended Indiana University and Arizona State University where he studied political science, economics and construction design and management.
“Like much of America, I’m not happy with the way things are going with the political class in Washington D.C.” Wade said.
Wade and his wife own a home in Sedona and run a commercial and residential renovation company.
Wade is actively involved in his community through his volunteering with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Verde Valley, Hands Across the Border, and Toys for Tots.