Hear Me Out: How will District 9 candidates win over Independents?

Each Sunday, ABC15.com debuts an Arizona issue - along with two opposing sides on the topic.

Don't worry, you always have the opportunity to make comments at the bottom of the page. Yeah, your opinion matters, too.

This week, we're asking the question: How will District 9 candidates win over Independents?

As of September 9, 2012, the Maricopa County Elections Department listed the following number of registered voters in the newly-formed Congressional District 9:

Republicans (R): 118,102
Democrats (D): 105,344
Libertarians (L): 3,149
Green (G): 777
Americans Elect (AEL): 40
Other (I): 117,244

Obviously, the large number of Independents can easily tip the balance in one candidate's favor. The race between Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Vernon Parker is believed to be one of the most competitive districts in the state.

Scott Smith is the Mayor of the City of Mesa, a Republican and a supporter of Vernon Parker.

Harry Mitchell is a former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Arizona's District 5 and a supporter of Kyrsten Sinema.

Click "Next" to read the first of two positions, " Vernon Parker is the guy to get things done"
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Vernon Parker is the guy to get things done

Right now Arizonans are struggling. They're struggling to pay the mortgage, pay the bills, pay for groceries. And as they struggle to meet their basic needs, politicians in DC are more concerned with playing party line games than banding together to get things done.

It's got to stop - now. And Vernon Parker is the guy to get things done.

For those of you who don't know my friend Vernon, he has spent the past several years working as mayor and a town councilman in Paradise Valley. During his time of leadership, he worked with Republicans, Democrats and Independents to make the tough decisions. Vernon was a champion of cooperation and managed to cut the city's budget by 30%. That's not an easy task but he got it done and now, as he runs for US Congress, he has the full support of the entire town council no matter their party affiliation.

But I want to take you back further because Vernon's story should serve as an inspiration to everyone.

Vernon grew up in a tough neighborhood - a neighborhood filled with guns, drugs and violence. He was raised by his grandmother who couldn't read or write. But she taught him not to fear hard work and to never give up. Vernon went to public school, put himself through community college and Cal State. And then, his entire family pitched in to help him pay for law school (he also used student loans to cover the cost). As his friend, I've heard his story several times but am always moved when Vernon describes the moment he stared up at the White House and realized he had done it. He fulfilled his dream - his grandmother's dream - creating a better life for himself and his family.

If you walk away with nothing else, know this: Vernon Parker is the man to get Washington moving again. He knows how to work together to get things done and he's not afraid of hard work. This election Vernon Parker is our only choice for the US Congress in District 9.

Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.

Click "Next" to read the second position, "Sinema has the right approach for Independents"
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Sinema has the right approach for Independents
 
When I watch the news these days, I see a vastly different Congress than the one I served in just two years ago. In 2007, when Democrats took the majority in Congress, we made a point to work with our Republican colleagues to get things done. We passed the Webb-Mitchell GI Bill, the 9/11 Commission recommendations, and even ethics reform. We got work done for the American people-- a Democratic Congress and a Republican President.
 
Today, Congress is gridlocked. Our congressmen and women seem consumed with ideology and name-calling. And as a result, families struggle to make ends meet, skilled people can't find work, and students face escalating tuition costs that put higher education out of reach for many.
 
We need more common-sense fighters on our side; leaders who are ready and willing to put their heads down and get to work tackling the many issues facing working families. Kyrsten Sinema is just that leader.
 
Kyrsten has a different view and different record. She has looked out for military families, local schools, and health care for our children.  She has advocated for struggling families, and has the willingness to listen to and work with people who think differently than herself.  That's what public service is supposed to be about, but that kind of thinking is sorely missing in Congress these days.
 
To get America back on track, and strengthen the opportunity that has made our country great, we need leaders who will focus on tackling complex problems, not extremist policies. Kyrsten's opponent, Vernon Parker, has embraced the ideals of the Tea Party. He is against stem cell research, which holds so much promise to cure diseases, and he is against women's right to choose--even in cases of rape and incest.  He has called for eliminating the Department of Education, which provides hundreds of millions of dollars to local Arizona schools.  
 
Kyrsten's priorities are different. She understands that our number one priority is getting America working again. I have no doubt Kyrsten is the right kind of leader to send to Washington and that she'll be a fresh voice in Congress.

Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.

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