ABC15 Exclusive: Democrat Mark Kelly speaks about 2020 Senate election

Posted at 9:56 AM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 16:53:12-04

PHOENIX — Democrat Mark Kelly, a U.S. Navy veteran and astronaut, is taking on Republican Senator Martha McSally in 2020.

ABC15 sat down exclusively with Kelly after an event with veterans in Phoenix.

"I'm a veteran myself. I served in the Navy for 25 years, flew off an aircraft carrier and flew in combat for Operation Desert Storm," Kelly said.

But Kelly says veterans have been left behind before and he's vowing to change that. He told ABC15 he'll fight for increased funding at Arizona's V.A. facilities, and he'll work to tackle tough issues like veteran suicides.

"We need to focus on veterans issues and make sure the V.A. has the resources to do the job that we as a nation promised," Kelly said.

Another hot topic is gun violence, something that impacts Kelly very personally. Just this week, there was another mass shooting, this time at a high school in Colorado.

The debate continues - do tougher gun laws actually work? Kelly owns guns, but wants to see more restrictions.

"It's clear that a background check for all gun owners is a common sense solution that most Arizonans support and most individuals."

And when it comes to healthcare, Kelly says he does not support medicare for all, but wants to allow people to buy into as an option. He also wants to see more competition on the healthcare exchange.

"We had a catastrophic thing happen to Gabby. She was shot. Nearly assassinated. Fortunately, she had good healthcare coverage, but that's not true for every Arizonan. But it should be," Kelly said.

As for the seat Kelly would be filling in the U.S. Senate if he were elected, he had this to say: "He was one of my heroes. What I really liked about John McCain was that he represented Arizona in a very independent style. I didn't agree with him on every vote he took. But he really cared about the people of Arizona and I really respect that."

Kelly also told ABC15 he is not in favor of the Green New Deal, but says we need to take action on climate change soon before there are disastrous impacts on the climate and economy here in Arizona as a result.