Political affiliation: Democrat
Position sought: U.S. House of Representatives, District 2
City of residence: Tucson
Current office or career: U.S. representative for District 2. She has been a lawyer, state legislator and represented District 1 in Congress
With the election just days away, Cronkite News is profiling candidates who are on the Nov. 3 ballot.
How would you rate Arizona’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Kirkpatrick said the pandemic has been managed fairly well in Arizona, giving much of the credit to mayors and local efforts.
Despite the lack of personal protective equipment in the early stages of the pandemic, she said, Arizonans have stepped in to ensure health care workers have the necessary supplies to perform their job.
However, top leadership at the state and federal levels has been lacking since the start, Kirkpatrick said, adding that lawmakers didn’t seem to take it seriously.
“You know, there’s still no statewide mask mandate, and there should be,” Kirkpatrick said. “It has shown to be a precautionary measure that works.”
She also criticized the Republican-led Senate for not doing enough to help Americans survive as the economy struggles to rebound and COVID-19 cases nationwide continue to rise. The House in May passed another round of stimulus and relief measures but the Senate has not addressed the bill, which has a $3 trillion price tag.
“The Senate is holding up legislation that American families are depending on, and so we need to get the Senate to move that legislation, pass it, get it before the president,” she said.
If reelected, what steps would you take to mitigate the impact of this disease?
In Congress, Kirkpatrick has been a staunch supporter of healthcare, particularly the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which passed while she represented Congressional District 1 in 2010. Also known as Obamacare, it expanded health insurance coverage to thousands of uninsured Arizonans and prohibited insurers from denying coverage because of preexisting conditions. Such features are vital during the pandemic, Kirkpatrick said.
Although the ACA is a step in the right direction, she said, further measures are needed, including hazard pay for frontline workers risking their lives, more PPE and a healthcare system that is fully equipped. She also supports “Medicaid for All.”
In addition, Kirkpatrick said she is working to reduce the cost of health care, making commonly prescribed medications more affordable, protecting individuals with preexisting conditions and ensuring the cost of insurance is reasonable.