Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut who is the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) announced on Tuesday that he’s running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona. Kelly, a Democrat, is also a retired captain in the U.S. Navy, and is a native of Arizona.
He announced his candidacy with a video on Twitter and a tweet which said merely:
— Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) February 12, 2019
In the video Kelly highlights his valuable experience in military service and as an engineer. He also gives credit to his wife, a gun violence victim, for teaching him about policy, saying:
“But what I learned from wife is how you use policy to improve people’s lives. Arizonans are facing incredibly challenging issues here in the years to come.”
Kelly said if elected to the Senate, he would focus on such important issues as affordable health care, wage stagnation, job growth, the economy and drought as a result of climate change:
“We’ve seen this retreat from science and data and facts, and if we don’t take these issues seriously, we can’t solve these problems.”
Kelly is not the only Democrat being floated for a run against Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who was appointed to replace Sen. Jon Kyl (R) at the end of 2018.
It was reported last month that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, have met with Arizone Rep. Ruben Gallego (D) about a Senate bid, as well as Kelly.
Kelly and Giffords co-founded a gun violence advocacy group after she survived an assassination attempt while she was a member of Congress.
On January 8, 2011, just a week into her third term, Giffords was shot by Jared Lee Loughner at a Safeway supermarket in Tucson where she was meeting publicly with constituents.
Loughner shot Giffords in the head, and also hit twenty-four other people with a thirty-three round magazine Glock pistol. Six people died from the attack.
Giffords went through a lengthy rehabilitation and eventually she recovered some of her ability to walk, speak, read, and write.
On August 1, 2011, Giffords returned to the House floor to vote and was greeted with a standing ovation. On January 22, 2012, Giffords announced her resignation from her congressional seat in order to concentrate on recovering from her wounds.
If a Democrat wins the Arizona senate seat in 2020 it will be a big boost for the party in their efforts to win control of the U.S. Senate. Assuming a Democrat wins the presidency, then they need to pick up just three seats from Republicans in order to take back Senate control.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.