During debates on political issues such as COVID-19, the filibuster, the Green New Deal and increasing the minimum wage, a few moderate Democrats have been the swing vote for pressing legislation in the Senate.
In the past nine months, Arizona Democrats Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema had multiple opportunities to impact the Senate’s vote on bills addressing these issues. Instead, they have done little to help the people of their state and country.
Though they may disagree with each other on some topics, an overall theme remains: Both have been openly against the revolutionary Green New Deal that would create millions of jobs, help ignite the climate revolution and save lives.
Both senators said there are better ways to go about fixing the almost irreversible damage done to the atmosphere and climate, but these statements came without any tangible alternative.
The two have also been targets of oil tycoon enterprise ExxonMobil in a recent push to employ lobbyists to sway legislators against the Green New Deal. This lines up with their stances on the bill and in public.
In an interview with Greenpeace UK, Kevin McCoy, senior director for federal relations at ExxonMobil, stated who the corporation’s main targets are within the Senate: Those who have loose opinions on climate change.
“On the Democrat side, we look for the moderates on these issues,” the lobbyist said. In his opinion, this group includes Kelly and Sinema, who were listed among others who could be swayed in favor of the traditional oil companies.
The senators have played the same charade with the filibuster.
“The rules can be changed,” Kelly said in an interview with KOLD News 13 Tucson. “I’ll evaluate any real proposal in changing rules not based on what’s best for Democrats and Republicans, but what’s best for our country and the state of Arizona. We don’t have a real proposal on that yet.”
Sinema has more of an outright opinion on the filibuster. In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, she wrote, “We have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster.”
She went on to state, “Arizonans expect me to do what I promised when I ran for the House and the Senate: to be independent — like Arizona — and to work with anyone to achieve lasting results.”
By defending herself, she is trying to portray her inaction as fulfilling her promises. But in actuality, the people of Arizona elected her to pass legislation at the federal level, and she has proved this isn’t a priority.
Sinema has also displayed visual and verbal disrespect toward the working class by voting "no" on a $15 minimum wage with an expressive thumbs down.
This brings me to the question: What do Arizona’s senators fundamentally believe in? They have opposed progressive change, but provide no alternate options.
Most of their voter base approves of a $15 minimum wage, yet both Senators downplayed its importance by voting against legislation that would require it.
As the people and public, we are obligated to question their objectives. We must consider whether the two senators are serving Arizona’s best interest, or merely reaching a high enough status within the political world.