BULLHEAD CITY — U.S. Sen. Martha McSally swung through the city on Wednesday to meet with constituents.
The Mohave County Republican Party hosted an event at Mohave Steak House with McSally as the guest. It was open to the public. After that, she was the guest speaker at an ice cream social hosted by the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce.
McSally said she is proud to have had a part in bringing forward legislation to implement the land exchange between the city and federal government that would bring Section 12 under city control and transfer land in the Black Mountains to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Taking ownership of 345 acres next to Community Park would greatly benefit the local economy as well as citizens.
Making sure the county’s veterans are taken care of is important as well, she said. That would include finding ways to provide incentives so physicians will stay in rural areas — particularly those with specialty practices, she said.
McSally also said providers not receiving reimbursement for helping veterans with their medical problems is, itself, a problem. The Veterans Choice Program is now the Veterans Care Community Program.
Doctors having problems with reimbursements should contact her office, the Arizona Republican said.
She explained that alleviating the opioid crisis requires maintaining a balance between preventing addiction — and helping those addicted break free of their need for these drugs — while also ensuring that people receive adequate medical care. That would require looking at individual patients’ needs, she said.
“We can’t put ourselves in a situation where people can’t get pain medication,” she said.
She recently asked the BLM to commit to looking at wild burros as a unique issue separate from wild horses. She described the overpopulation of burros as a “public safety crisis.”
When addressing party members, she reminded them that 2020 is fast approaching.
“We’re going to need all your help,” McSally said.
That includes winning people over as well as getting people to vote.
She said she considers this election as important, starting from the presidency on down. Topics such as open borders and free health care for undocumented immigrants are part of the current Democratic Party mainstream and should be concerning, McSally said.
“I never imagined we’d be having a debate about socialism,” she noted. “Everything is at stake.”
She was appointed to the seat of the late Sen. John McCain after Sen. Jon Kyl briefly occupied it. McSally ran for former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat in 2018 but was beaten by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.
She also served two terms in the House of Representatives, representing Arizona’s 2nd District.
McSally said she will run for election to her appointed seat in 2020 in a bid to hold it into 2022.
After McSally addressed the more than 150 people at the chamber event, she answered prepared questions. Then she walked around the audience with a microphone and responded to more off-the-cuff queries.
She responded to one questioner about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. She noted that the country’s next DACA generation is coming across the border now.
“Our laws incentivize taking a kid (over the border),” she said.
She said she is working with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on legislation that will make it more difficult for people to abuse the immigration system and stop human trafficking.
Another person asked about what could be done about the high number of mass shootings in the U.S.
“Our hearts just broke over the weekend,” she said.
While highlighting the differences between the shooting in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, she said the El Paso mass shooting appeared to be domestic terrorism while the shooter in Dayton appeared to have been against right-wing political ideology and had an interest in mass shootings.
Remedies for specific issues related to such crimes will need to come from various levels of government, not just the federal government, she said.
“I believe in states’ rights,” she explained. “Most problems can be solved at the state and local level.”
A youth asked her why she entered politics after retiring from the U.S. Air Force. McSally was the first female pilot in the Air Force to fly a combat mission and lead a fighter squadron. She reached the rank of colonel.
“I found myself yelling at the television,” McSally explained.
Working to solve the problems she was seeing on TV seemed a good way to continue serving her country, she said.
She considers being a federal legislator a form of service and pointed out that the oaths for both are the same, though “Washington, D.C., can be frustrating,” she said. “People don’t understand the intensity.”
She said she tries to alleviate that frustration by taking regular runs through the National Mall and looks at the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and reads the Gettysburg Address.
It helps her hold onto a sense of gratitude.
“I’m doing my part,” she added.