"I'll bring people together" are you kidding me. This from one of the most divisive politicians in Arizona history.
By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Former state Senator Kyrsten Sinema longs to be the Democratic nominee from newly formed Congressional District 9.
However, she suffers from a terrible affliction that threatens to undermine her ambition: a predilection for lodging a Prada pump in her esophagus.
Sinema's knack for the self-inflicted wound and the political tin ear that accompanies it were front and center at a recent meeting of a local chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America.
The PDA was one of the organizations that worked its collective keister off to help Randy Parraz's group, Citizens for a Better Arizona, put a period on the political career of ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce with last year's historic recall election.
Scheduled to speak at the same meeting was Parraz himself, now hell-bent on a mission to remove Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office.
So, Sinema should have anticipated a question that was sure to come from fellow lefties: Why didn't she openly oppose Pearce in the recall effort?
Lilia Alvarez, a CBA member at the meeting with Parraz, rose to ask a version of that question. Sinema's response flummoxed her.
"She said pretty unapologetically, 'Russell Pearce is my boss, and that's why I couldn't get involved,'" recalled Alvarez. "People in the crowd were just wide-eyed."
Such a statement sounds like a non sequitur, even coming from a politician who once exclaimed on Channel 12's Sunday Square Off: "I love Russell. We get along very well; not always on policy matters, but on personal matters, we do."
After all, for any Arizona Democrat (and many Arizona Republicans, albeit quietly), Pearce was and remains, even in defeat, a right-wing ogre, worthy of all the calumny he can shoulder.
Moreover, Pearce, as the jefe of a Republican super-majority in the state Senate, was hardly Sinema's "boss."
Virginia Hauflaire, a PDA leader who put her shoulder to the recall wheel last year, remembers Sinema's reply slightly differently, but her version is no more flattering.
"[Sinema] gave a couple of weird answers, but then she just flatly said, 'He's my boss. I have to work with him,'" Hauflaire told me.
"I raised my hand," Hauflaire remembered. "'He's your boss?' I asked. 'Your constituents aren't your boss?'"
But Sinema persisted in her folly.
"She said, 'Well, you know, Russell's my boss. He sets the agenda, blah blah blah,'" Hauflaire recalled. "Still, she didn't answer my question."
Fortunately for Sinema, no one caught this gaffe on audio or video. At least, no recordings have surfaced. Though others I've spoken with who were there confirm her statements.
Even Sinema's recounting, though nuanced, doesn't help her much.
"I said, 'You know, you have to think about what it's like at the Legislature,'" she said when I asked her about it. "'It's like Russell Pearce is my boss. He can stop my bills. He can stop me from getting a hearing in committee if he wants to.'"
She admitted to me, as Hauflaire suggested, that constituents were legislators' real bosses.
"What I [was] talking about is the process of what it takes to get a bill passed," she explained.
Still, bad analogy. And a particularly bad one to use at a gathering of 30 or more liberals who hate Pearce like Newt Gingrich hates a moment of silence.
Parraz posted an incensed message about Sinema's "boss" statement on Facebook, and the chatter among lefties went wild.
But Sinema can't seem to wrap her head around why folks are so ticked.
She says she admitted in the meeting that, like a lot of Dems and pundits, she initially thought the recall effort against Pearce was a non-starter.
"I flat-out didn't think it was possible," she said. "And I was wrong."
That aside, she said she was "surprised" and "shocked" by the response on Facebook to the PDA debacle. Hurt, even.
Parraz told me that, during the meeting, he let Sinema hang herself. Afterward, he had plenty to say.
He continued: "It's her thinking she can say anything she wants, that she's the smartest person there, and everyone's got to accept it."
I just see it as an incredibly dumb thing for Sinema to have said, considering the forum.
But it speaks to the affliction I diagnosed her with above. One that seems to have worsened as Sinema has positioned herself over the last couple of years for a Congressional run.
Heretofore, Sinema has served in the Senate and the House representing tres lefty Legislative District 15. But what flies in that progressive nook of Phoenix is eyed with suspicion in the rest of Sand Land.
So Sinema's had to branch out and risk bruising her base in the process. It's not a change she'll cop to, but it's one that she's been doing. Inartfully.
Last year, she enraged many Latinos by running a bill that upped the penalty on an existing law against drop-house operators from a class-four to a class-three penalty.
In her press release trumpeting Senate Bill 1225 (which later became law), she adopted some of the same rhetoric used so often by nativists, like the phrase "secure our borders," which to the pro-immigration side sounds like "keep the brown people out."
Some marked it as a betrayal from the same legislator who fought so valiantly against Pearce's breathing-while-brown statute, Senate Bill 1070, not to mention numerous other pieces of nativist legislation she's opposed over the years.
More recently, she accepted the endorsement of the notoriously anti-immigrant Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, which is tight with Sheriff Joe and also backed Pearce to the hilt in his effort to beat down the recall.
"I'm proud to have that endorsement," she told me, noting that PLEA lightning rod Mark Spencer no longer is president.
A lot of libs have been annoyed by the PLEA nod. But Sinema's hardly the first D to get love from PLEA.
The state Democratic Party has taken money from the organization. And Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton was pleased as punch to accept the endorsement of the Arizona Police Association, a PLEA puppet group.
Running SB 1225 was, at the very least, unseemly and unnecessary. The PLEA endorsement? That's just par for the course for the average Arizona donkey.
What's concerning about Sinema's missteps is that such stuff hurts her with those who've admired her unapologetic liberalism over the years.
Simultaneously, her run to the center is unlikely to win her new pals in CD 9, which includes parts of Mesa and Phoenix, and a Tempe that hardly is a lefty bastion.
Should she make it past a Democratic field that may include state Senator David Schapira and Arizona Democratic Party Chair Andrei Cherny, she'll face a Republican opponent who'll be quick to use a fat opposition research file on her.
In it are things that the libs in LD 15 wouldn't think twice about: marching with the Reverend Al Sharpton in 2010, championing Ralph Nader for president in 2000, once referring to herself, self-mockingly, as a "Prada socialist."
Sinema avers that over her career arc, "My values haven't changed."
Rightly or wrongly, some progressives believe she's sold out her values for a shot at Congress.
While the right is licking its chops, eager to prove that those values remain the same.
"I'll bring people together" are you kidding me. This from one of the most divisive politicians in Arizona history.
No matter what the party is, or who is the candidate, the only people who accomplish genuine legislation are those who are flexible. Sinema does compromise--and gets things done. While I am certainly "far left", I would still vote for her, as with the deadlock ultra-right Tea Party in control of Congress, there must be someone articulate and intelligent to break up the log jam.
It's been months since this was published. Either the media dropped this issue because it is not an issue, or the comment was misunderstood, misconstrued, and just did not hold water. Kyrsten Sinema is outspoken, that might put the Prada footwear in her mouth if you don't understand her thinking, but in any case she is THINKING, Pragmatism is the foundation of successful legislating. The Law has to pass (pragmatic) the law has to work (pragmatic) the law has to have few or no unintended consequences (pragmatic) Sinema seems to know all this well enough to call the knowledge instinct. She was right. Russel Pearce not only had control of all the legislation that came to the floor, he was, is and will probably always be a vindictive, small minded, petty tyrant. Crossing him, even today is done at great personal and political risk.
If I had to guess I would speculate that what she was referring to is that she is an employee of the state university system. Republican conservatives have savaged education over the years with special retribution reserved for educators involved in the political system. Special targets have been teachers unions and the universities. I remember when Fife Symington forced ASU to swallow his mistake, the Mercado in Phoenix when he was governor he was neither tactful or nice about it. May be Liberals and progressives in Arizona should get more non-conservatives elected to office rather than applying purity tests to other moderate or liberal politicians. May be they could work to better the common good.
I like a lot of the things that Randy Parraz has stood for however when he ran for John McCain's seat he came in 4 in the Democratic primary. Then his and John Dougherties supporters spent all their time bad mouthing Rodney Glassman. Now we have a "much better" senator John McCain. I like Krysten I think she would be a good Congress person.
Kyrsten Sinema sounds like a politician who knows how to get things done - even if it means pissing off some extreme lefties. I think she did the right thing by staying out of the Russell Pearce recall - after all, she had to work with him to get the things her 'boss' (the people she represents) sent her to do. I hope she wins. Congress needs more people like her.
Additionally, she says what she thinks - she could have lied and said she was too busy to work on it or something, but she didn't. She told the truth. How many politicians do that?
Lol! I don't know if you are serious or not, but I take it as a compliment. I'm a stay-at-home Mom, who works at night. Kyrsten Sinema helped me with some health insurance problems I had last year, that's part of the reason I support her so much. I've never had a politician actually work to help me personally before - since I'm just an average person. Her office did a lot for me and she didn't even know who I was. But, thank you :)
We brown skinn Mexicans need to return to Mexico and take over the country from the pale skin descendants of the colonial masters. Kick out all the white skin people with the help of Gustavo Arellano who will renounce his stay in el norte. He will be our new presidente in Mexico. Will you join us and Gustavo Arellano?
Funny that we the public vote these idiots into a job, pay them, only to have them rip us off. This lady is one of those idiots, only looking out for what she can do for herself and her bank account.
Sinema is no different than any republican or democrat...say anything to get elected, then forget who voted for you. A vote for Sinema is a vote for the same old blah,blah,blah. peace
Ask Gustavo Arellano and Kyrsten Sinema when will the illegal Mexican occupation of the United States of America end?
Ask Jesus AKA Dumoudan the pinche Californio troll when he will go fuck himself in the nose with a sharp stick
Folks her comments on "He's my boss" were just recently. She did not do anything to help the recall. Failure to stand up in Arizona means failure to stand up in DC.
wtf - she is batting from the other side of the plate - packing carpet in her lunch box - comprende?
As I remember, her first run for the Legislature was as a Green Party candidate. Was the Green Party her boss back then? At what point did she quit? Then she ran as a Democrat in a central Phoenix district, not long after buying a home in the East Valley that she told the mortgage company was owner occupied. What's the story with her residential addresses? Sleeps around?
When I first met Sinema, I asked her how a bill like 1070 could become law. She cursed me out. Obviously, she was incredibly frustrated the bill had become law and admittedly, I should have asked the question at a better time. I remember she urged me to get involved and do something. Well, I did. I worked like hell to recall my former State Senator Pearce. She, on the other hand, the only person who admirably ever gave Pearce hell about his bills in committee, gave in to cynicism and did not believe in the possibility of an Arizona without Pearce. Yet she strangely had no qualms about getting on national and local TV to talk about a recall she neither supported nor studied. I found this to be pretty tacky behavior.
She now says it "hurts" to read our messages (I’m not in PDA, by the way). Well, it hurt to be undermined and to have lacked the support of one of the most vocal critics of Pearce's policies. It also hurt to see my very own political representative doing everything (knowingly or unknowingly) in his power to diminish my civil rights and those of my AMERICAN family. It hurt the family of Juan Varela to lose their brother, their father, their son, uncle, etc. over a climate of hostility created by laws like 1070.
Krysten, change politics, don't let politics change you. Don't let your intelligence become arrogance and cynicism. There is a difference between how things are and how they should be. I hope CBA reminded you that people are capable of changing their own communities. But we also need political support from time to time.
PDA is a group of far left, out-of-touch Liberals that don't and won't ever speak for the everyday Democrat. PDA doesn't like Sinema? Great - now I liker her more. Sinema is part of a small group of Democrats in Arizona that can actually work with the other party to get things done, and thats what people like to see. People are sick of the tit-for-tat in politics and want someone who can go and get the job done without complaining.
Everyday Democrat--you may want to look at Sinema more closely. She went from hating Democrats for their spinelessness to boasting about not supporting Democratic policies; from condemning the Pearces of the world to cozying up to them ("I love Russell!") She authored an anti-immigrant bill that only the most ardent racists would co-sponsor--Ron Gould, Russell Pearce, Linda Gray. That's what she calls "reaching across the aisle." The real reason she did this was so that she could portray herself as a collaborative problem solver in anticipation of running for congress with a cart-full of baggage from the days when she wrote letters to the editor decrying Capitalism as the root of all evil. That a few families would be destroyed thanks to her crappy bill was mere collateral damage in her quest for more, more, more. She has become what she used to hate-- the worst kind of pandering politician. Her loyalty is to herself and her own blind drive for power and self-agrandizement. She is a narcissist who has always grubbed for accolades and she has become so addicted to herself that she has lost her soul. Or maybe it was beaten out of her when she was a good LDS do-be at BYU. Hers is a sad, but familiar, tale of how power corrupts.
First off, great comment. I like how you have followed her career this closely. You obviously have paid great attention to following her political career... or you work/volunteer for a competitor of hers.
Second, political candidates, much like individuals, evolve in their opinions and ideas. Her past is her past and wont preclude me from supporting her. Her thoughts and ideas have evolved and so has her action. She is the candidate I want to see representing me in DC.
Not that I care, but I thought she was a bi sexual (or was it lesbian?) former Mormon? If that's true, I don't care how liberal the voters in her district are. This is still Arizona.
I took a few courses from Ms. Sinema at ASU for my Master's Degree. She was very intelligent and cared a great deal about our community. She started out as a Social Worker, and Social Workers who get into politics typically are very passionate about helping those who are the most underserved (ie: the poor, homeless, children, women, ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, etc.). She is just trying to make change from the top up and we need people like that. I'm just saying, as someone who knew her personally, she was a smart, hard-working, compassionate person, and that's pretty good for a politician.
Tried following her on Twitter, but her self-absorbed, politically correct gibberish was just too much to take.
Her comments re. Pearce came at a time when most of us thought the recall effort didn't stand a chance in hell. We were proven wrong and that's a good thing. Give her a break.
This article was too nice to Sinema. It did not mention her vote in 2005 against SB 1372, which established the first degree felony of sex trafficking of a minor under the age of 15 and the second degree felony of attempted sex trafficking of a minor. The bill further establishes two class 2 felonies: sex trafficking; and, trafficking of persons for forced labor or services, and one class 4 felony: unlawfully obtaining labor or services. Sinema was one of ten legislators who voted against the bill, which was signed by Governor Napolitano.
hahahahahaha....what a bunch of morons these critics are.....you really think it is ok to operate a drophouse for one of the cartels and THAT someone is listening to the lawabiding citizens who actually can vote is a reason to be upset with them....this is why my wife the democrat votes for arpaio...he is kept in power by white women who want SOME law and order
You're a reading-challenged moron. Arpaio is not about law and order. He leaves sex-abuse victims unattended to and felony warrants unserved he showboats with his immigration raids that help not one iota. In fact, they only expose taxpayers to lawsuits in this time of economic recession. He is a worthless geezer, and you and your wife are stupid bitches. Try reading the reams that has been written about Arpaio's waste. Try not to stop thinking with your racist little brains.
this article is a total hatchet job against Sinema...she is an excellent voice for Arizona, we should all wish her well with her bid for Congress
This is the same reason I am supporting Wenona Benally Baldenegro for Congress. Ann Kirkpatrick has shown us that she cannot be trusted to represent the views of her constituents. When I vote for a Democrat I plan to vote for a true Democrat.
I remember it a little differently.
In my memory, she said "I deep throat any Republican cock I can get my grubby little liberal paws on. I lick the nut sack, and I swallow the gravy. I often deep throat Russell's massive meat stick. That faggot Parraz has a tiny woman's clit, so I can't really support that."
That's how I remember it going down.
Obviously, she's got some serious obstacles to overcome in the road to Congress.
This statement, "But Sinema can't seem to wrap her head around why folks are so ticked." may make or break her. Not that anyone wrote it but whether or not she figures out why people get pissed off and what she should do about it. Without making adjustments, she's not going to make it through a primary field that likely will include David Schapira and might include Andrei Cherny, Felicia Rotellini and others.
Her initial strategy thus far has been to get out there first and build a solid campaign team. Those are legitimate tactics but without the candidate knocking the rough edges off of her persona and her rhetoric, they will not get her to Washington.
She's been clearly offended by my candid reporting of things she's done and things she's said to me. A smart candidate, however, learns from these things rather than just turning her nose up at people who, at least figuratively, can buy ink by the barrel and people who could be a very powerful base of campaign advocates.
Ignore the Eagletarian at your peril! Muratore's a class act citizen reporter. Take the blinders off Kyrsten and remember, you got that law degree from ASU, one step above the U of Phoenix.
Being first doesn't mean you have a shot. Does the name "Tim Pawlenty" ring a bell? Organization and means nothing if you have a lousy candidate, regardless how popular she thinks she is.
Sinema's self-serving kissing-up to Russell isn't going to play well with the voters who worked to get rid of Pearce, many of whom now live in CD9. Her mean treatment and disrepect of other activist Dems isn't going to help her either. Finally, that whole Keith Olbermann interview when she took credit for "working hard" to defeat Pearce is revealing. To take credit for other people's work is shallow and dishonest--just the attributes we do not need more of in Congress.