Raúl Grijalva: Focus on policy instead of petty attacks

In a recent op-ed by Pima County GOP Chairman David Eppihimer, the Pima County Republican Party leader took a direct nosedive into the proverbial political gutter. Devoid of any substantive policy proposals that would help the people of Southern Arizona, Mr. Eppihimer and my opponent Nick Pierson have resorted to petty personal attacks on my heritage, my family and my character.

I can’t say I’m surprised. At this point, it’s part of the Republican playbook. From the day that Donald Trump announced his presidential run by characterizing Mexican immigrants as “rapists and drug-dealers,” he hijacked the Republican Party to fit his own anti-immigrant, anti-progressive agenda.

Instead of condemning this assault on our values and institutions, Mr. Pierson and Mr. Eppihimer choose to embrace it. They turn a blind eye when families are barbarically separated at the border. They cheer as Arizona’s Republican leaders cut taxes for the wealthy and big corporations and allow our students and teachers to languish in underfunded schools. They paint our hard-working teachers as left-wing operativesand paid protesters for demanding a living wage and accountability from our elected officials. They choose to wallow in the swamp, and the people of Southern Arizona deserve better.

My record of public service to the people of Southern Arizona speaks for itself. I've fought to expand health coverage, protect public lands from mining interests, combat climate change, and proposed a major infrastructure plan that would employ 2.5 million Americans in its first year alone. Instead of throwing billions of dollars at a ridiculous border wall, I’ve helped bring millions of dollars in federal grants to Southern Arizona that improve local infrastructure and bring good-paying jobs. One $63 million TIGER grant helped build the Tucson streetcar, which helped revitalize downtown Tucson, creating new jobs and business opportunities. Another will completely overhaul SR 189 from Nogales to Tucson, modernize the Mariposa point of entry, and facilitate increased economic activity between Mexico and Arizona.

I did all this with little help from the Republican-controlled state government, who would rather prioritize tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations over supporting policies that help working families thrive.

But Mr. Pierson and Mr. Eppihimer don’t want to talk about policy. They would rather distract from their damaging policies by resorting to salacious personal attacks and dredging up an employment dispute with a former staffer. However what they have selectively chosen to ignore, is that this matter was reviewed by the Office of Congressional Ethics, which recommended the staffer’s complaint be dismissed because there was no evidence to support it. This matter was clarified, and I was cleared of any wrongdoing, yet my opponents continue to chew on a bone devoid of meat.

They’ve even resorted to attacks on my daughter, Adelita, a four-time elected official in her own right and a fighter for public education and children. The fact that they would bring her into their attacks shows just how unhinged this Republican leadership has become.

I agree with Mr. Pierson and Mr. Eppihimer on one thing. It’s true we need a change. Come Nov. 6, it’s time to vote out the Republican politicians who presided over cuts to public education and threaten social security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. The constituents of CD3 know my record, they know my commitment to our community and working families, and they will see the comments from Mr. Pierson and Mr. Eppihimer as the baseless insults they are: an overcompensation for their nonexistent policy agenda and their political and moral failings. Civility and solutions-based decisions can only come with a new majority that rejects the smears of the past and looks forward to a clean and healthy future.

By:  Rep. Raúl Grijalva
Source: Raúl M. Grijalva