Farley announces bid for Congress
Democrat seeks CD2 seat
Democratic state legislator Steve Farley announced his bid Wednesday for the newly created CD2 seat.
Farley, the state House Assistant Minority Leader, joins state Rep. Matt Heinz and state Sen. Paula Aboud in the August primary to see who will take up the mantle of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Southeastern Arizona's new congressional district.
Perhaps best known for helping to create Tucson's Regional Transportation Authority, Farley sites the transportation development plan as evidence he can look after the needs of small businesses and foster growth in Southern Arizona.
Farley acknowledged that one of the biggest campaign concerns in the new district will be border security, particularly immigration issues.
Comprehensive immigration reform is one of Farley's platforms, as well as spurring small business growth, improving area schools, protecting Davis-Monthan Air Force Base from closure, and getting Congress to "learn a thing or two from Tucson."
Farley, the architect of a bill to protect Arizona's astronomers from unreasonable light pollution caused by digital billboards, said such measures require a non-partisan approach of finding a common ground and stepping down political brinkmanship.
If elected to Congress, Farley said he would employ a similar bipartisan approach to immigration reform.
"The border has become a free-fire zone, with cartel members with automatic machine guns scouting for areas that coyotes (human smugglers) can come through," Farley said.
"We need to reduce the demand for illegal immigration [into the U.S.]," he said.
Among his plans to reduce the appeal of American jobs for people living south of the border is a business development initiative with Mexico to create jobs there. Free-trade coffee was one suggestion.
Drug trafficking across the border also is a matter of controlling demand within the Unite States, he said, although he declined to elaborate.
Farley had expressed interest in the CD8 election, the special election to fill the seat vacated by Gabrielle Giffords after her resignation from Congress in January. Farley changed his plans after Giffords' former District Director Ron Barber entered the race.
Farley has passed petitions for Barber and endorsed his candidacy.
It remains to be seen whether Barber will run for the CD2 seat, as well, and Farley said he has not made a decision about whether or not he would run against Barber if he launches a campaign beyond the special election.
Also expected to declare for the fall race is Nan Stockholm Walden, a Democrat who owns pecan groves in Sahuarita. Walden worked in Washington, D.C., in the 1990s, and will bring those connections to the race.
On the GOP side, the candidates set to battle it out in the special election primary have all said they will run in the fall cycle as well. Jesse Kelly, Frank Antenori, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton filed Monday to run in the April primary.
Farley also was expected to visit Sierra Vista and Green Valley on Wednesday.