Project Red, White & Blue
Ron Barber’s run for Congress
Democrat enters race in part because of Gabrielle Giffords' request
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - An aide of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords announces he's in the race to finish her term. Ron Barber served as Giffords' district director and was also shot on January 8th, 2011. Thursday, the Democrat announced he's running in the upcoming special election in part because Gabby asked him to.
“What they can expect from me is honesty, civility,” Barber told KGUN9 News, referring to voters in Arizona’s eighth congressional district. “That's what I’ve tried to represent particularly since the shooting. I think we can have civil discourse and still have robust debate. The voter can also expect from me: I'm going to be a person looking to bring people together.”
Bringing people together, Barber says, and focusing on non-partisan issues in Washington, such as tackling the deficit, helping homeowners facing foreclosure, and caring for veterans.
“We have hundreds of thousands of veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Barber said. “They need to have jobs, they need to have medical services, they need family support. I'm really going to be focused very heavily on trying to make sure that those veterans are taken care of. I believe that's a common-ground issue and an issue we can unite Republicans and Democrats alike on.”
He aims to unite Congress and, during the campaign process, Southern Arizona.
“This is going to be a race that will bill, as much as I possibly can, to reach out to Republicans, independents, Green Party members as well as Democrats,” he said.
He said he would represent much like his former boss, Gabrielle Giffords, who asked him to enter this race.
“No one can fill her shoes. They're huge shoes,” he said. “I won't even attempt to do that, but I will attempt to continue the kind of service that she's provided, the kind of tone that she's set, the kind of collaboration and common ground that she has sought.”
KGUN9 reporter Kevin Keen asked him, “Can you accomplish all of that for the remainder of the district eight term?” “I think it's possible to do a lot. Six months in elected office is a long time,” he replied.
Barber says he has not decided whether to run in the regular election this fall. That'll be the race to represent the newly-drawn second congressional district.
Democratic State Representative Matt Heinz told KGUN9 Thursday he’s dropping out of the special election and endorsing Barber. Heinz still plans to run in the fall election.