Kirsten Engel: Democracy, Reproductive Rights and Survival of the Planet are On the Ballot

Kirsten Engel, candidate for Congress in Tucson’s CD6, delivered a frightening message at the June 6, 2022 meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson.

Following are her opening remarks:

This midterm election in November is the most important election in our lifetimes. And this is not an exaggeration. Democracy is on the ballot. A woman’s right to choose is on the ballot. The future of the planet is on the ballot. And quite frankly, whether we can protect democracy, a woman’s right to choose and the planet, could all come down to who wins this congressional seat.

This is now the most competitive district in the state, and one of the top in the nation. And if you want to get down to details, how competitive is it? Under the new lines that we have now, Biden won this district by just 400 votes. Yeah, 400. And yet it is a must-hold seat for the Democrats who hold only a razor-thin majority in the U S Congress.

We just can’t afford to lose a single seat in the US House. So quite literally, whether the Democrats are able to hold the US House could come down to who wins this seat, or you could think of it this way.

If one of my Republican opponents wins the seat, we’re very likely to have Kevin McCarthy as a speaker of the House. The House will very likely disband the January 6 Commission legitimizing insurrection as political discourse, allow state legislatures to decide election outcomes and ban abortion altogether.

But if I win this election and help the Democrats to hold the House, we can continue to push for the protection of voting rights, being undercut in states like Arizona right now. We can work to guarantee abortion rights being taken away by our Supreme court, tackle our water and climate crisis with the urgency that they both deserve, and continue to help working families by bringing down the cost of childcare, elder care and prescription drugs. So the question before you is, am I the best candidate from the Democrats to make sure that we hold this seat? And most importantly, our majority in Congress. I’m a woman, teacher and environmental attorney, elected three times to the Arizona legislature,.

I fought in Phoenix for my constituents, with a track record of getting things done without sacrificing our democratic values. I have both deep and very wide support in this primary campaign, a field campaign that is already hard at work knocking on doors and contacting voters. And I myself, am out talking to voters about what really matters to them from protecting our right to vote, to controlling our own healthcare decisions over our own bodies, to addressing our climate-driven water crisis, to affording the next tank of gas.

So when I’m elected to Congress, I will fight to guarantee the right to abortion in legislation. That will be one of our most powerful options that we will have. And as an attorney, I know this issue is not just about abortion, and that’s why one of the reasons why we need to stop the Republicans in their tracks right away. The court’s route to attacking abortion is attacking the constitutional right to privacy.

And the right to privacy is the basis of so many rights that we rely on and celebrate the rice, right? To use contraceptives, the right to marry, who we love the right to bring up children.

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