ABC15 News wants you to be informed when you head to the polls in less that three weeks for Arizona's primary election. So, we're breaking down one of the most critical races for U.S. Congress.
A staggering 10 candidates from Arizona's newly formed 9th District are vying to be the state's next Congressman or Congresswoman.
The Democratic Congressional ticket is made up of political powerhouses: David Schapira, Andrei Cherney and Kyrsten Sinema.
"Right now we have zero women in the Arizona delegation," explained Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema . A state legislator for seven years, Sinema started her career as a social worker in District 9.
She's says she's dedicated her entire life to helping families and has walked in the same shoes as many struggling Arizonans.
"When I was a kid, my dad lost his job we lost our home and I was homeless for a few years," Sinema explained sadly.
She believes lawmakers need to focus on families as voters grow more and more tired of partisan bickering.
"We've got a Washington that's spending more time focused on women's personal health care decisions, like birth control," explained Sinema. "And no time on creating jobs and making sure families can take care of their kids."
"We actually have the lowest approval rating in Congress that we've had in American history," said Democratic candidate David Schapira. A proud father of two young girls he hopes his hometown appeal resonates with voters here.
"I think you have a lot of candidates who are running because they want to be in Congress," Schapira pointed out. "I'm running because I want to represent my community."
A community Schapira has served for decades as a political instructor at ASU and Democratic leader in the Arizona State Senate representing the cities of Tempe and South Scottsdale.
His vision is simple.
"I think we need one Congressman, at least one out of 535 members of Congress, who is going to make education their top priority and ensure that we as a country make education a national priority," said Schapira.
"Being the father of two young children was both the biggest reason not to run for Congress, but also the biggest reason to run for Congress," Democratic candidate Andrei Cherny said proudly.
Cherny, the former chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, worked in the White House under President Bill Clinton and has received the former President's endorsement.
As the son of immigrants, Cherny believes the immigration policies in our country are broken and need to be fixed.
"People aren't asking for much, Cherny exclaimed. "They're asking for some basic fairness and for a country that actually respects hard work and personal responsibility."
Another top priority for Cherney is standing up for what he calls the trampled middle class.
The Republican Congressional ticket is loaded with seven candidates with very different backgrounds.
It's hard to miss Republican Congressional candidate, Air Force Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers peddling through parts of District 9 on her 10-speed bicycle fighting for your vote.
"I don't do what's popular, I do what's right," Wendy Rogers exclaimed.
A retired fifth generation military pilot and businesswoman, Rogers said she's running because she wants to get her country back on track.
"As a small business owner I don't get a bail out," Rogers argued. "I don't get a stimulus. I can't make money. I have to make it work."
"We will restore that American dream," smiled Republican candidate Vernon Parker. He's the highest elected official in the District 9 Republican Congressional race and is endorsed by Former President George H.W. Bush.
As the former mayor of Paradise Valley he made some tough decisions including cutting the city's budget by 30%.
"I know what it's like to stand against what the crowd is basically saying for you to do," expressed Parker.
"I make practical decisions," said Republican candidate Lisa Borowsky.
She comes from a family of entrepreneurs and serves on the Scottsdale City Council.
This practicing attorney believes businesses prosper best when government gets out of the way.
"Is this program necessary? Is this added expense necessary? Is this regulation necessary or is it just cumbersome?" Borowsky questioned of lawmakers.
"I think it's a tremendous asset to have people serving in Washington who can vote to send troops to war and who can go to war," said Republican candidate Travis Grantham. He serves as an Arizona Air National Guard Captain and is a small businessman.
Grantham claims his focus is to fix the economy and ease what he believes are tense regulations on small businesses.
"Get the federal government out of the way and allow us to do what we do best which is create jobs, operate our businesses and employ citizens."
"I think it's time for new blood," said Republican candidate Leah Campos Schandlbauer.
She said her four children called her the coolest mom on the block after learning her real identity. She spent more than a decade serving undercover and abroad in the Central Intelligence Agency.
"We need to have leaders in Washington who are seriously intent on shrinking the size of government because we're spending too much," said Campos Schandlbauer.
"The bottom line is I have almost 25 years of experience in the public and private sector in job creation," said Republican candidate Martin Sepulveda.
He's a former member of the Chandler City Council and if elected he said his number one priority is to establish a balanced budget.
"I raised my family in this district, Sepulveda explained. "I've been elected on two different occasions in this district. I've created jobs as a private sector business man and I've enabled jobs as an elected official in this district."
"There has to be accountability to the American taxpayer and the American people and we don't have that," demanded Republican candidate Jeff Thompson. The retired businessman from the Ahwatukee area is a political unknown having never run for office.
Thompson believes, however, his background in the business world will translate into making the right decisions in on Capitol Hill.
"And the politicians mentality is, if we don't get it done we still get paid, in the business world if you don't get it done you don't make any money and you'll lose your job," Thompson stressed.
The Republican and Democratic winner from Arizona's August 28th primary will face off against each other in the November general election.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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