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Mark Kelly is worthy of filling John McCain’s Senate seat

In this May 16, 2011, file photo, former NASA astronaut STS-134 commander Mark Kelly, front, waves a he leaves the Operations and Checkout Building with fellow crew members, including Mike Fincke, for a trip to Launch Pad 39-A, and a planned liftoff on the space shuttle Endeavour at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. A Kelly victory would shrink the GOP's Senate majority at a crucial moment and complicate the path to confirmation for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

In this May 16, 2011, file photo, former NASA astronaut STS-134 commander Mark Kelly, front, waves a he leaves the Operations and Checkout Building with fellow crew members, including Mike Fincke, for a trip to Launch Pad 39-A, and a planned liftoff on the space shuttle Endeavour at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. A Kelly victory would shrink the GOP’s Senate majority at a crucial moment and complicate the path to confirmation for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

I have been a registered Republican almost all my adult life who has always been comfortable engaging with people across the aisle on issues I care about deeply. I am still a Republican. But in the U.S. Senate election for Arizona, I won’t be supporting a Republican. I am supporting Democrat Mark Kelly.

To me, Mark represents the type of leadership that is becoming increasingly rare in Washington: he’s an independent thinker, focused on helping his constituents regardless of party, and is a veteran. Experience tells me that these are the type of leaders who get things done. I have spent over 25 years of my life working to get things done to make our communities healthier and safer. Mark Kelly will be a true partner in that work.

In October 1994, my life was irrevocably changed. My younger brother, an off-duty Rochester, Michigan, police officer, was ambushed and killed at the hands of a violent gunman. Adam was 27 years old; an Air Force veteran of the Gulf War. He left behind a wife who was five months pregnant and an 18-month old daughter.

The trauma of his murder left me reeling and questioning my privileged suburban life — I realized anyone can be touched by violence. The following spring, I saw an advertisement in The Arizona Republic for the Brady Campaign asking for volunteers. I called and was eventually connected with Sarah Brady, who invited me to Washington D.C. to meet with our elected officials. It was the first time I told senators my survivor story, and why we need to make sure our laws prevent firearms from being in the wrong hands.

The late Sen. John McCain was there in that Senate hearing room to listen to my testimony. We spoke about expanding the Brady Bill, which had been passed in early 1994, to protect Americans. Like me, McCain was a Republican who was concerned about making Arizona’s communities safer and was willing to talk across the aisle to look for solutions. John McCain was a man of honor, and he served our country with conviction.

Geraldine Hills

Geraldine Hills

Upon returning to Arizona, I founded a nonprofit, bipartisan group dedicated to fighting gun violence. We worked closely with Congresswoman Gabby Giffords when she was a state legislator – she sponsored bills protecting Arizonans from gun violence. In time, I met Mark Kelly.

Mark is a man of integrity and, importantly, he is a problem solver — he approaches issues from a practical point of view. He is not afraid to speak truth to power, unlike his opponent. Martha McSally has spent too much time and energy looking for ways to excuse President Trump’s behavior.

As a mother, a grandmother and a woman of faith, I believe Trump has deeply weakened the moral integrity of our country. We need leaders who will stand up for what is right — to tell us the hard truth, no matter what party they belong to.

Right now, our country is divided. We are sicker, we are poorer, and we are weaker in the eyes of the world. We need strong leaders who will rebuild our economy, fix health care, and protect Social Security, Medicare and the environment. We need to send people to Washington who can look for bipartisan solutions to the problems we face. I know that Mark will do that as senator.

In this election, we need to elect a senator worthy of filling the seat that belonged to John McCain — McSally is not worthy of that seat. Mark Kelly is.

So I’m calling on my fellow Republicans – it’s clear that Martha McSally will not be a senator for Arizonans and will not look for bipartisan solutions to the challenges we face today. Vote for Mark Kelly and send a real public servant to the Senate — a leader who will look out for Arizonans.

Geraldine Hills is the founder and president of Arizonans for Gun Safety.

 

5 comments

  1. Thank you for this article. I’m an EX-Republican and I’ll be voting for Mark Kelly, and Joe Biden.
    We need decency and competency in the WH.

  2. To Geraldine Hills, You are not a Republican any longer. You are a member of a party that kills babies at will, and wants to appease the terrorist of the world. Finds all its solutions in raising taxes, sending jobs to another country, and hates Christianity to the point of condoning Islam. You are being fed **** and think it is steak. Maybe it would be good for you to look over the many many accomplishments of President Donald Trump. Read one of the many books about him and how he grew up. I’ll even buy it for you. The second amendment is not only our right but our responsibility. Gun control could start with the banning of sanctuary cities, who release murderers at will. Seventy millions babies have been murdered in the US. How many did guns kill. How many Martin Luther Kings, Abraham Lincolns, Clara Bartons have not taken a breath because of the sacrifice to the god of convenience. How often have you thanked a policeman for doing his duty.

  3. Just remember a vote for Kelly is a vote for Chuck Schumer to be Senate President.

  4. Ms. Hills is right that Mark Kelly is “worthy” of McCain’s place in the Senate—neither man respects the United States Constitution or that of the state of Arizona. Senator McCain demonstrated that amply when he co-authored the National Defense Authorization Act, which blatantly infringed on the 4th, 5th and 6th amendment rights of the people and Mark Kelly has been clear in his contempt for our 2nd Amendment rights, as well. Just what we need, more government running amok and doing anything it wants.

    Bad things happen to good people. It’s always unfortunate when they do, but it does not give us carte blanche to punish innocent, law-abiding firearms owners who are exercising their right to protect themselves and their families from the very violence that people like Kelly and Hills decry.

  5. Trump thinks Evangelicals and Christians are nutjobs who do one thing. Violently support his presidency. He will do anything to stay in power. He doesn’t respect you or Jesus. He doesn’t attend church and will never ever be baptized in your murky waters. Jesus Christ was captured and tortured and crucified. Trump would call Jesus a loser.

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