U.S. House, District 2: Lea Marquez Peterson labels herself an independent voice

Name: Lea Marquez Peterson
Political party: Republican
Position sought: U.S. House of Representatives, District 2
City of residence: Tucson
Occupation: President and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

What is the greatest issue Arizona residents face? If elected, how would you address this issue?

The economy. Voters across the southern Arizona district “feel very positive” about recent economic changes, she said, but there’s still work to do.

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“The economy hasn’t grown as quickly in Pima and Cochise county as it has in Maricopa County,” Marquez Peterson said. “We are faced with high levels of poverty in Tucson and in the southern Arizona area.”

Marquez Peterson, 48, said she wants make it easier to do business and cites the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went into effect in December, as progress toward economic prosperity.

“It made great strides in helping small businesses thrive and grow,” she said.

Marquez Peterson, who calls herself a political novice and sees that as an advantage, is running against political veteran Ann Kirkpatrick for the seat in Congress vacated by Rep. Martha McSally, who’s running for the Senate.

What other issues are important to you and your campaign?

Marquez Peterson promised to work across the aisle in Congress for the betterment of her district.

“I will be an independent-thinking Republican,” she said. “I’m going to vote on and support the bills that will have the most positive impact on Congressional District 2.”

She also mentioned voters’ concerns about security and safety and the lack of military support in a district that includes the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Army’s Fort Huachuca.

“They want to know that our military and our veterans are taken care of and that their families are secure and safe,” Marquez Peterson said.

What in your past work, political or volunteer experience makes you a better choice to hold this office?

Marquez Peterson emphasized her volunteerism. In addition to working as the president of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which serves Douglas, Sierra Vista and Nogales as well as Tucson, she is chair of the board at St. Mary’s Hospital, a member on the board of directors for Visit Tucson and serves on the Pima County Workforce Investment Board.

“When there was a complicated or complex problem facing the community, I reached out to folks and engaged to make sure that I’m truly representing their interest,” she said.

Marquez Peterson said her hometown connection gives her an advantage over Kirkpatrick, who moved to Tucson in 2017.

“I grew up here,” she said. “I’ve attended school, the University of Arizona. I’m raising a family. I started a business and have helped many other people excel and grow their businesses through my work at the chamber.”

What is a personal challenge you feel you need to overcome?

“Being new to this political environment, it’s name recognition, that’s the thing that I am trying to overcome. I am working to get my name out and talk to folks throughout the region in all different capacities.”

Please share a quote or advice that guides you.

Marquez Peterson said she encourages people to focus on their commonalities and shared interests rather than their differences.

What app on your phone could you not live without?

With her nonstop schedule attending voter-outreach activities, Marquez Peterson relies on Google Calendars to help keep track.

Campaign website for Lea Marquez Peterson.

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