Martha McSally (R)
• Age: 46
• Employer and position: recently resigned as professor of national security studies at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany.
• Education: graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy; master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Air War College.
• Political experience: none.
• Top priority: giving some folks in Washington the boot and getting people back to work again.
Ron Barber (D)
• Age: 66
• Employer and position: U.S. representative; former district director for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, 2007-2012.
• Education: bachelor of arts in political science, University of Arizona.
• Political experience: U.S. House of Representatives, June 2012-current.
• Top priority: bipartisan problem-solving for Southern Arizona; creating jobs, protecting veterans and military families; securing the border; protecting Medicare and Social Security.
Name two specific things you will do in Congress to spur job growth in Southern Arizona
McSally: Small businesses are the engine of growth and jobs. I will fight to roll back suffocating government mandates, regulations, and penalties on small businesses so they can feel confident to expand and hire again. I will fight to bring the F-35 to Tucson and ensure Davis-Monthan and Fort Huachuca are protected, as I know firsthand the value these bases, missions, airspace and ranges are to our national security and local economy.
Barber: I have already voted for a transportation appropriations bill that will bring millions of dollars to Arizona, creating thousands of construction jobs in roads, bridges and other infrastructure improvements. I support federal investments in solar energy, which will grow this local industry, and increased funding for research at the University of Arizona to help expand our biosciences and high-tech industries. I will also fight to protect our military installations, which are major economic drivers in the region.
What does Arizona need to do to expedite trade across our state's border with Mexico?
McSally: Mexico is Arizona's top export partner, which creates thousands of jobs here. With Sonora booming, we have a unique opportunity to become a regional hub that attracts logistics companies and brings many jobs. We need to expand the manning and capacity at the Nogales port of entry so commerce can flow 24 hours a day with minimal delays. Infrastructure improvements are also necessary so Southern Arizona is postured to attract logistics companies.
Barber: Trade with Mexico represents $6 billion annually to Arizona's economy, with huge potential for growth. We must secure our border while also modernizing our ports of entry to speed up the flow of legitimate commerce. Improvements in the Nogales port are under way, and we need similar upgrades at the Douglas port. We must also increase the number of customs agents at the ports to expedite the entry of legal goods and visitors across the border.
Should the Bush-era tax cuts be continued, and if so for whom?
McSally: We are suffering from the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression with 43 months of 8-plus percent unemployment. Now is not the time to increase taxes on Americans. Congress needs to stop "kicking the can" on the debt, spending, taxes and mandates, and sit down together to devise bi-partisan solutions to grow our economy, put people back to work and solve our debt crisis. We need leaders who will consider all possible solutions as much is at stake.
Barber: We must keep taxes low for middle-class families, who have sacrificed the most during the recession. That's why I voted to extend tax cuts to 98 percent of Americans but to allow those cuts to expire for millionaires and billionaires. Keeping tax cuts for the richest 2 percent adds over $1 trillion to our deficit. It's only fair to ask those who have benefited the most to do their part to help address our deficit.
Should taxpayer money go to support birth control? Why or why not?
McSally: I have been fighting for women's rights and equal treatment my whole life. Women and men should have access to affordable and available health care, including reproductive health, for themselves and their families. Title X funds have provided contraception and other preventative health services to especially low-income women and men since 1970, avoiding millions of unintended pregnancies and possible abortions. At the modest levels of funding (approximately $300 million), this is an acceptable investment.
Barber: Birth control is an essential health-care service and a part of almost every health insurance plan across the country. The issue of whether individuals should have access to birth control has been settled. This has been federal policy for 50 years, and I oppose efforts to limit this basic health-care service.