When Martha McSally was appointed to the U.S. Senate, she promised to “devote all of my energies to ensuring that all Arizonans have a voice.” As we face the devastating effects of coronavirus, now is McSally’s chance to follow through on those words. Blindly following Mitch McConnell and actively participating in the culture of corruption he has created will not cut it. We need McSally to be an independent voice for Arizona, now more than ever.
The passage of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package will go a long way toward addressing the many hardships Arizonans have and will continue to face. But the way we arrived there is deeply troubling.
The initial version of the relief package was partisan and failed to provide protections for American workers. Worse, it was loaded with special interest giveaways and a totally unregulated $500 billion-dollar slush fund for big business with no oversight. The bill was a perfect illustration of the corporatist rot and corruption McConnell has created.
McSally blindly following McConnell’s wishes and so willingly voting for a Wall Street oriented bill should concern Arizonans.
Further, attacking Democrats for not supporting McConnell’s Wall Street driven relief package, then falsely describing the bi-partisan bill that passed as more or less the same does not demonstrate leadership, and it is not the voice Arizonans need in Washington.
Even with the relief package, the work is not done, as Arizona faces a continued shortage of ventilators, masks, gowns, and other essential medical supplies. The director of the Department of Health has now recommended limiting testing even further to ration the dwindling supply of tests. As a fellow veteran, I wonder: Would we ever go into combat so short on critical supplies?
Cases and deaths in Arizona continue to rise, and our hospitals are nearing capacity. Veterans like myself, first responders, the elderly, and other at-risk populations will continue to need additional assistance as new and unforeseeable problems are sure to emerge.
McSally must stop the partisan games. Instead of making false proclamations of suspending her campaign to focus on this crisis, we need McSally to find her independent voice and take decisive action to help our state.
McSally must use the bully pulpit of her office to call on leaders in Washington and here in Arizona to take immediate action. Like her seatmate, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and conscientious mayors around the state, McSally should call upon Gov. Doug Ducey to take more aggressive measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in Arizona, starting with narrowing the list of essential business and activities.
And the work in Washington can’t simply stop with this relief bill. Given the opportunity, McConnell will slip right back into his habits of abetting his corporate allies. McSally must push to ensure there is no premature “opening” of the economy by some arbitrary date, only to satisfy McConnell’s corporate allies. McSally must call on McConnell and her GOP colleagues to commit to doing what is best for everyday Arizonans and the country.
To get through this crisis we need our leaders to step up and stand as independent voices for us and not Mitch McConnell or Wall Street. Instead of taking a three week recess, perhaps McSally should immediately return to Washington and continue working.
Like Senators Goldwater, Hayden, or McCain, Arizonans want leaders who will stand tall and remain fiercely independent during this crisis. McSally now has that chance. I hope she won’t let us down.
— Mark Cardenas is an Iraq War veteran and a former member of the Arizona House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019. He currently is a legislative affairs specialist at Torres Law and Consulting Group.