Monday, October 25, 2004
Our Opinion: Re-elect Rep. Jim Kolbe in CD 8 - again
Republican congressman Jim Kolbe faces a worthy challenger in Democrat Eva Bacal as he seeks his 11th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Both candidates are intelligent, articulate and deeply committed to our nation.
Kolbe, however, provides much more depth and detail on how he would resolve state and national issues, from immigration to our faltering Social Security Administration.
His grasp on issues undoubtedly is bolstered by his two decades' experience representing Arizona's 8th Congressional District, encompassing Cochise County, much of Pima County and parts of Santa Cruz and Pinal counties, from Marana to the "three corners" of Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.
Kolbe serves on the House Appropriations Committee and as chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, so he oversees U.S. money sent overseas.
Bacal established a solid reputation during 12 years serving on the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board.
She is strongly opposed to the current administration's war in Iraq, lack of a cogent border policy, huge deficit and still-faltering economy. Also, as a mother of five and a former school board member, she is deeply concerned about education and what she sees as a move to privatize Social Security, health care and schools.
Kolbe's top three issues are trade ("I'm a big believer in trade"), pushing for a solution to the dwindling Social Security fund with some privatization for young workers, and immigration, for which he drafted legislation with fellow Arizona Republicans Sen. John McCain and Rep. Jeff Flake.
Kolbe has solid ideas for reducing illegal immigration with his guest worker bill as the logical first step. Bacal is critical of Kolbe's plan because it was drawn up by Republicans. But she has few solid immigration proposals of her own.
Kolbe highlights the chief difference between himself and Bacal when he says: "I think the president was right in going to Iraq."
Kolbe admits he has been "highly critical" of the administration's reconstruction efforts in Iraq. But now that the State Department again is in charge of that work, he approved a supplemental $19.3 billion for the effort Oct. 3.
Also in the race is Libertarian Robert Anderson of Tonopah. He did not respond to contacts by the Citizen editorial board.
The Tucson Citizen endorses Republican Jim Kolbe for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.