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Political Notebook: McSally tries to save A-10 Thunderbolt; Pinal sheriff has coronavirus
Political Notebook

Political Notebook: McSally tries to save A-10 Thunderbolt; Pinal sheriff has coronavirus

From the June's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Bars, gyms face shutdowns; Tucsonans worried telemedicine might disappear series

If the iconic A-10 Thunderbolt ever disappears from the skies over Tucson, it won’t be from a lack of trying by Sen. Martha McSally.

The Republican senator and former A-10 combat pilot stepped up once again last week to save her old Air Force ride from retirement.

McSally used her position on the Senate Armed Services Committee to insert language into this year’s National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting the secretary of defense from getting rid of any A-10s, including those targeted for “divestment” from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The move drew praise from the Sierra Vista Herald newspaper, which declared in a Monday editorial that McSally’s “laudable” action had protected more than 19,000 local jobs.

“That’s great news for Tucson and southeast Arizona,” the newspaper wrote. “At a time when the regional economy is already devastated from the impact of the pandemic, losing the A-10 at Davis-Monthan would make things worse, even here in Cochise County.”

Sheriff Lamb had opposed state’s emergency orders

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, who earlier this year told the Phoenix New Times he was refusing to enforce the state’s emergency coronavirus orders, announced he tested positive for the virus during a mandatory screening during a White House visit.

“Unfortunately, as a law enforcement official and elected leader, we do not have the luxury of staying home. This line of work is inherently dangerous, and that is a risk we take when we sign up for the job. Today, that risk is the COVID-19 virus,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Lamb, a Republican who was first elected to sheriff in 2016, said he found out Tuesday after a mandatory screening before responding to a call to join President Trump at the White House. He says he likely contracted it during a campaign event last Saturday.

“I will be self-quarantining for the next 14 days minimum,” he said. “I alerted the Pinal County Public Health Dept. immediately after my positive test, and they are working to track all those I came in contact with following the Saturday event.”

‘Defund’ opponents establish fundraiser

Those who oppose a movement to divest funding away from Tucson police are taking a different approach: a fundraiser.

The Pima County Republican Party this week promoted an initiative from Christopher DeSimone, the host of the conservative morning talk radio show “Wake Up Tucson!” who is holding a three-hour radio-thon on Monday to raise money for both the police foundation and Erik Hite Foundation. The latter is a child-care center named for a former Tucson police officer shot to death on duty.

Supporters are asked to drive past their local police station and honk their horns for a minute, and contact the Tucson City Council members to ask them not to defund, DeSimone and the Republican Party wrote on social media.

“Pima, we know you support law enforcement. Let’s put this to rest. Listen to KVOI (am 1030) this Monday and show your support. #LeadRight, call and email Tucson City Council as well. Info below,” the Pima County GOP tweeted.

Last week, the City Council opted to delay a vote on its budget to Tuesday after several callers asked to divert funds away from police and toward more community programs.

Henry Brean

Justin Sayers

Justin Sayers

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