Grijalva's work merits a fifth term in Congress

Our view: Despite call for boycott, Democrat's experience cannot be ignored
2010-10-21T00:00:00Z 2012-10-12T06:44:07Z Grijalva's work merits a fifth term in Congress Arizona Daily Star
October 21, 2010 12:00 am

Rep. Raúl Grijalva has served Congressional District 7 ably and should be re-elected to Congress.

Grijalva, a Democrat who is completing his fourth term demonstrates he understands how lawmaking works at the federal level. He has been a successful advocate for Southern Arizona projects and issues, and earned valuable seniority on important committees in the House.

These are attributes that voters should value. That said, Grijalva's call for national organizations planning conferences to boycott the state in response to SB 1070 was a shortsighted reaction to the new Arizona immigration enforcement law and a disappointment.

He has since backed off, saying the boycott was intended to force lawmakers to think about the law's consequences. Further, he said, the Justice Department "took the heart out of many of the points of contention," and, finally, that the boycott cost people their jobs.

The boycott has, indeed, hurt Arizonans. But, for the record, we don't believe that every boycotting group took its marching orders from Grijalva or even knew of his involvement.

Many other voices around the state, country and world condemned the measure, which is arguably unconstitutional and may well promote racial profiling. The law and political posturing have been hugely damaging to our state's image.

Grijalva was wrong to raise a call for a boycott against his state. Period.

His opponent, Republican Ruth McClung, has mounted a challenge but lacks experience and credentials that we believe are required: McClung, 28, has had few jobs and her experience in community involvement appears to be minimal. She touts her qualifications by saying Washington needs the perspective of a "rocket scientist," but a bachelor's in physics and a defense-industry job hardly rise to the level of tested leadership experience.

McClung, a fiscal conservative, wants to cut federal spending to balance the federal budget; she also supports a stepped flat tax, with several levels of flat taxes based on income.

She also told us she would bring to Congress an understanding of waste and duplication in defense spending.

When asked why the problem of wasteful defense spending hasn't been solved, especially because it's been an issue in Washington at least since World War II, Grijalva responded that defense spending tends to be "sacrosanct" and regarded as proof of patriotism in Congress.

Grijalva said he supports spending-reduction goals spelled out by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, which include steamlining the procurement process.

He also noted that the GOP's "Pledge to America" would take military and defense spending off the table in negotiations for a balanced federal budget.

Grijalva opposes cuts to Social Security benefits in reaching a balanced budget, and argues that the program shouldn't be cut because it hasn't contributed to the national debt.

He also disagrees with McClung on her support of repealing the health-care reform law, the extension of tax cuts for all Americans, including the "very rich" and her opposition to federal financial reform. We agree.

We also agree with Grijalva that comprehensive federal immigration reform must be a priority in Washington. The border-security clamor obscures the larger issues, which are mostly economic.

Grijalva believes, and we concur, that along with border security, reform must include a path to citizenship for illegal migrants who are already in this country and have no criminal history, along with temporary worker and other expanded work-visa programs.

Grijalva serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources, and is chairman of its National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee, and serves on its subcommittee on water and power. He has been a leader in the fight against uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and serves on its subcommittees on work-force protections and on early children, elementary and secondary education.

These are valuable assignments for Southern Arizona's economic and environmental future.

In serving a fifth term in the House, Grijalva would bring deep knowledge of the needs of District 7 and Southern Arizona, as well. He can continue to provide an important voice for his constituents on issues of immigration, education and the environment.

Arizona Daily Star

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