We don’t share a whole lot politically. One of us is a long-time Republican who helped to elect Andy Biggs in the 2016 election. The other is a Democratic-leaning Independent who has voted for, contributed to and worked for almost exclusively Democratic candidates.
The huge exception, the area we enthusiastically agree upon? It’s time to retire Andy Biggs. It’s time for the East Valley to elect a reasonable, moderate problem solver. We see that person to be Clint Smith, running as an Independent to unseat Andy Biggs.
All voters need to do is examine Biggs’ recent time in Congress to understand that he is bad for his constituents. Take his actions during the pandemic. Besides constantly calling for Dr. Fauci’s firing, he pushed debunked ideas and voted against every single COVID relief bill. Those bills provided East Valley churches, charter schools, restaurants, retailers, builders, and even a golf course operator in Gilbert, the means to stay afloat during the initial months of COVID-19’s economic meltdown.
They survived the pandemic, no thanks to Biggs.
Biggs even voted against a bill to help low-income families with baby formula during the recent shortage. The legislation received wide bipartisan support, but Biggs was one of nine House Republicans to vote no. He also opposed the PACT Act, twice, which will provide care for veterans exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, he always has an explanation, but what is striking is how often only a handful of his fellow Republicans vote his way. This is true when he voted against bipartisan measures to support Ukraine, condemn Russia and strengthen the NATO alliance.
Biggs’ record is one of extreme partisanship, a politician who refuses to work across party lines to “advance the common good.” And what about Biggs’ role to overturn the 2020 election results? Andy Biggs asked AZ House Speaker Rusty Bowers to decertify Arizona’s presidential electors on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. After Bowers refused, Biggs then voted to exclude Arizona’s votes from the Electoral College count, effectively substituting his “...own will for the vote of every Arizona citizen” as a former Arizona congressman noted. We’re not surprised that Biggs was identified by name as having sought a presidential pardon for his unethical actions.
So why is Clint Smith the alternative voters in Congressional District 5 should vote for?
First, Clint Smith not a career politician. He is a small-business owner in the East Valley, running his own law practice for over 35 years. He is running as an Independent, not beholden to party bosses. He will be what we want in Congress -- a problem solver, not the bomb thrower Biggs is.
Clint is conservative, but not blindly so. He looks to build coalitions to address issues affecting Arizonans, like the water crisis we face, a crisis Biggs is silent about. He affirms a woman’s right to make decisions on her reproductive health. He wants a strong border, but unlike Biggs, believes our DACA kids should remain here with a chance to live the American Dream. He understands that immigration policy needs real reform and will look for consensus rather than confrontation to score cheap political points. This is Clint Smith’s approach.
One thing is clear to both of us: Given the demographics of the East Valley, a Democrat has no chance to beat Biggs. If you want to unseat Andy Biggs, the only way is to vote for Independent Clint Smith. Read Clint Smith’s op-ed in the Arizona Republic and go to his website. And then, when you vote, cast it for Smith, our best chance to defeat the extremism that Andy Biggs personifies.
Mike McCellan is a retired English teacher in Mesa Public Schools and a Gilbert resident.
John Webster is a military veteran and small business owner in Gilbert.