/ Modified aug 5, 2016 4:52 p.m.

Two Democrats Compete to Face McSally in 2nd District

Congressional hopefuls Matt Heinz, Victoria Steele are former state lawmakers.


Two Democrats say they could better represent Arizona's 2nd Congressional District than the Republican incumbent.

Matt Heinz, an internist at Tucson Medical Center, worked for the federal government to implement the Affordable Care Act and is a former state representative.

Victoria Steele, also a former state representative, previously worked as a news reporter and trauma counselor.

They both say Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) is not representing the district well. The 2nd District spans the eastern part of Tucson and all of Cochise County, including the southern border with Mexico.

Here's what the candidates say about political issues:

On working with Republicans

Heinz recounted his experience in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2009 to 2012. He said he got eight bills passed along with a handful of "substantive amendments."

"My ability to work with a 2-1 Republican majority and then get bills signed by then-Gov. (Jan) Brewer really does demonstrate that I can work in any environment and advocate effectively on behalf of my constituents, and I think that that’s really important to independents, Republicans and Democrats," he said.

Steele also pointed to her experience in the state House, which spanned from 2013 until she resigned this year to run for Congress. She drafted a mental health first-aid bill with her seatmate, a Republican, only to find out her participation would be a problem.

“As we were putting it in I was told, 'You can’t have Victoria sign on that because we won’t hear it if there’s a Democrat on it.' So I let my Republican counterpart take all the credit. It was my bill, but it was one of those things that I learned really quick - it’s not about getting the credit, it’s about getting the job done,” she said.

On reforming the nation's immigration and border security

Both candidates support a comprehensive approach that includes immigration reform and border security enhancement. They explained what that means:

Steele: "What I would like to see is something that includes a path to citizenship. I think everybody who is reasonable understands we are not going to deport 11 million people who are living in this country.”

Heinz: “You have to look at the commerce and border economy as well as looking at security - and of course a pathway to citizenship where folks learn the language, pay back taxes, and move forward with the naturalization process, including a robust guest-worker program.”

On increasing gun control measures

Both candidates would push to require background checks at gun shows.

Heinz: “We also have to make sure that folks who are on the no-fly list are also on a no-buy list. And I was frankly stunned that Martha McSally has voted 12 times to prevent that from happening, which makes no sense to me.”

Steele would also prevent the following people from accessing firearms: "People who have felonies, people who have domestic violence convictions, people who have been adjudicated as a danger to themselves or others, or people who are on a terrorist watch list.”

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