There is no candidate in this general election that  I believe in as much as I believe in Ann Kirkpatrick. I believe in supporting her not only because of her opponent’s faults and slipping reputation, but because she is a superior candidate: the best we have seen in Arizona in a long time.

One of Ann Kirkpatrick’s campaign photos. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAILY KOS.

Ann Kirkpatrick has experienced the democratic process on every level: as an Arizona teen disgruntled with our state, like many of us, and later as the first woman to serve as Coconino County’s deputy county attorney, as a non-profit founder, a state congresswoman, and most recently, as a US congresswoman.

Kirkpatrick had more legislation signed into law than almost any other freshman representative during her first congressional term. Among the issues she champions, Kirkpatrick considers the protection of Arizona’s natural resources and parks essential.

She supports clean energy and the creation of new jobs through alternative energy sources, while also acknowledging that a gradual, nuanced approach is necessary to ensure that Arizonans don’t lose jobs or face drastic downward  economic changes.

Despite her opponent John McCain’s famed military background (which I have no desire to dispute), time and time again I answer calls at the Democratic offices from many of his constituents complaining about his lack of support for the military. Kirkpatrick has a legacy of supporting our veterans and making sure they receive the benefits they need.

Notably for Arizona, Ann Kirkpatrick is a firm pro-choice candidate. She has never faltered in her staunch belief that women have the right to choose to have a safe, regulated abortion. She has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, and she would be the first ever female Arizona senator, which is no small thing.

I devote so much of my time to local politics because I believe not only in the future of Pima County, but also the future of Arizona. Unlike many of my peers, I like it here. I love that we have a strong legacy of environmental awareness, and a forward-thinking water conservation ethic that places us leagues ahead of many other southwestern states.  I appreciate the fact that for a century Arizona communities have worked to champion reproductive justice policies.

When you love something, you expect the best from it. I want better from the state I love. Many young Arizona women will end up seeking out states where they can receive more reliable health care for themselves and their children. Arizona is home to some of the worst-funded school districts in the country, as well as some of the highest teen pregnancy and poverty rates. We can’t afford to be an inhospitable state for progressive change anymore.

Incumbent Senator John McCain has held his seat for nearly two decades. I’m of the opinion that after twenty years, no matter how great a politician might have been, it is time for a change. Arizona is not the same state it was when McCain took office in 1987, and we could surely benefit from new ideas and new perspectives.

I know Arizona needs to grow if it wants to keep the kind of smart, passionate, and promising young people it continues to produce – students like Gregory school graduates who often go to other, more developed states in search of jobs after college.

Incumbent Senator John McCain has held his seat for nearly two decades. I’m of the opinion that after twenty years, no matter how great a politician might have been, it is time for a change. Arizona is not the same state it was when McCain took office in 1987, and we could surely benefit from new ideas and new perspectives.

This is why my favorite policy of Kirkpatrick’s is her commitment to election reform. If you are dissatisfied in any way by this year’s presidential election, then you should support the reimagining of our election process as a fairer system that invites more voices into the discussion. Kirkpatrick has been a commanding voice on the subject of term limits, which would in the future prevent senators from serving more than two terms and prevent house members from serving more than three. It would enable all of us to have more choices among more new ideas in the long run.

I don’t like smear campaigns or attack ads. I’m not interested in dismantling John McCain’s many accomplishments. But I believe Arizona deserves better in 2016, and I am doing my best each day to demand it. I encourage others to do the same.