Tom O’Halleran has represented Arizona Congressional District 1 for one term and is running for re-election. He should be returned to Congress to continue his work of bringing people together and working for the constituents of the district, which reaches to the Utah border, but also dips into Oro Valley and Marana.
O’Halleran is running as a Democrat, a change he made after serving in the Arizona Legislature as a moderate Republican. His priorities are common to all Americans: families’ futures, economics, health care and veterans.
Republican Wendy Rogers, a retired Air Force pilot who lives in Flagstaff, is running against O’Halleran. Her campaign did not respond to multiple invitations to meet with the Star’s Editorial Board, but we base our endorsements on more than who agrees to an interview with us.
Rogers is running a campaign with President Trump as its North Star, a position we find limiting and detrimental to the district.
O’Halleran has made a career of working with people in tense and high-stakes situations, as a police officer, serving on the Chicago Board of Trade and in politics. He credits those positions with honing perhaps his most important skill: the ability to listen deeply and find ways to help people solve their problems.
He’s been part of the Problem Solvers Caucus of 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans who meet and try to hash out thorny issues together. He thinks House leadership needs to be revamped, no matter which political party is in charge. He supports changing how the House speaker is chosen, and says that if a bill is bipartisan, it should get assigned to a committee, not simply languish on the speaker’s desk.
O’Halleran told the Star’s Editorial Board that one of the biggest challenges in Congress has been Democrats being heard by the Republican majority — when Republican leadership excludes Democrats in the process, O’Halleran sees that as excluding the people he represents in CD 1.
“I’m not used to people addressing things with my constituents without being able to be at the table,” he said.
“That concerns me, because we, in Congress, don’t represent just a certain part of the constituency,” O’Halleran said. “I’ve never heard of a process where if you don’t unify, it’s going to work.”
O’Halleran said he has heard from voters across the spectrum that they’re not confident about their future. “People are very insecure about the direction of our country, and how they see their life going — and how we’re going to get there.”
O’Halleran has represented District 1 in Congress for one term, and the Star endorses him for re-election.