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Kyrsten Sinema on Principles & Values


Among "10 poorest House members," as measured by assets

[As measured by net worth], eight Democrats and two Republicans ranked at the bottom of the list of the 535 lawmakers in the House and Senate in our annual calculations for the 50 Richest project. While these members appear to be in the most dire straits on paper, an alternative calculation would peg the seven members who report having no assets as the poorest.

These seven members are: Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Gregory W. Meeks of New York, and Republicans Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Duncan Hunter of California and Louie Gohmert of Texas. These members do not have enough liabilities to drop into the 10 poorest, but their net worths range from -$15,000 (Sinema) to -$610,000 (Gohmert).

Source: Jay Hunter on, "10 Poorest Members of Congress" , Sep 20, 2013

Arizona Together: defeated same-sex marriage ban

From January 2005 through November 2006, I had served as the chair of Arizona Together, a statewide coalition formed to defeat a same-sex marriage ban initiative in Arizona.

As chair, my job was to guide the campaign every day toward victory, make strategic decisions about messaging, raise money, decide how to spend the money, direct community outreach efforts, and more. We won. And by "won," I mean that we actually got more votes than the other guys. Activists battled 30 of these initiatives around the country, and we won only once. Lucky for me, it happened in Arizona.

Source: Unite and Conquer, by Kyrsten Sinema, p. xiii-xiv , Jul 1, 2009

Past Congresses worked together on bipartisan legislation

It's easy to see why so many people hate politics.

Over the past 40 years, cooperation and collaboration are rare, especially when the issue is very important. Partisanship is valued as being true to the ideals of one political party. People do not reach across the aisle to work together, much less create friendships together. Back in the super old days Congress was different. Members worked together more frequently on bipartisan legislation. And party registration was not a prerequisite to friendships or invitations to after-work gatherings. [One 1960s Congressman] wrote that he watched Hubert Humphrey and Barry Goldwater duke it out on the floor of the Senate, then leave after work to have a drink together. Today, such relationships are rare. In fact, those elected officials who do manage to maintain close friendships with members from the opposite party are often viewed as sellouts or are not trusted within their caucus because of their cozy relationship with "the other side".

Source: Unite and Conquer, by Kyrsten Sinema, p. 10-11 , Jul 1, 2009

Let go of the bear and pick up the Buddha

As progressives, we too often function from a gut-level reaction that is based on fear and anger, which limits our ability to truly engage in the kind of political activity that will lead us to the progressive world we want to live in.

I don't think it's an easy task to alter the way we behave in politics, but I do believe that it can be done if we mindfully choose to make that alteration & then practice at it. I call this "letting go of the bear and picking up the Buddha." The bear is the internal fight-or-flight reflex that we as humans are blessed to have. "Putting down the bear" in your political practice occurs when you consciously choose not to act, react, or interact with others from a place of fear and uncertainly. "Picking up the Buddha" is code for being calm, cool, and collected--another ability that we humans have, although we often don't polish this political skill. To be your most fabulous political self, you'll need to recognize the bear and learn to let go of it in your work.

Source: Unite and Conquer, by Kyrsten Sinema, p. 23 , Jul 1, 2009

Recipe for coalition: Think big;think sharp;think organized

Recipe for a Coalition
    These 3 vital ingredients are needed for building a successful, productive coalition.
  1. Think big. Include people who aren't already at the table. Who are unlikely allies or potential partners in your project? Whom can you bring to the table that will surprise you and those around you?
  2. Think sharp. Clearly articulate your purpose and your focus. What is your coalition's raison d'etre? If you don't know, then your coalition isn't likely to be effective.
  3. Think organized. Choose a leader (stable or rotating) who will keep the coalition organized and productive. Don't leave anything to chance because chance is not your friend.
Source: Unite and Conquer, by Kyrsten Sinema, p. 51 , Jul 1, 2009

Find common ground & throw out politics of division

I had a hard time making friends my 1st year in the legislature. No one wanted to actually work with me. At first, I blamed my situation on the politics of division that my Republican colleagues had been taught. But I soon realized that the blame was largely mine. I also had been taught the politics of division--namely, that my role as a minority member was to stand and loudly speak out against the horrible, evil, injustices committed daily by my Republican peers. I was wrong. I learned that dividing myself from others just because we don't agree on everything is not the way to win friends and influence people. I threw out what I'd been taught and started over--this time remembering what my kindergarten teacher told me: make friends with the other kids. Here are the tips that I've found helpful when making friends:
  1. talk to people whom you want to make friends with
  2. listen to them
  3. find common ground
  4. find humanity in others
  5. loosen up a bit
  6. don't take anything personally.
Source: Unite and Conquer, by Kyrsten Sinema, p. 68-69 , Jul 1, 2009

Talk about values instead of pushing outcomes

It's easy to say "I will start using values-based language instead of outcome-based language. " Something along the lines of "We need a good, strong, public education system that teaches kids to read and gets them prepared for college." I would happen to agree with your statement, but that statement is not a value, it's a position (read: OUTCOME). Not everyone agrees with your statement, but everyone can agree on a core value underneath our support for education: opportunity. We all believe that children should be afforded the OPPORTUNITY to learn.

Barack Obama is the master at speaking the language of values rather than outcomes, which is why he was so successful not only as a state legislator and US Senator but as a presidential candidate. He can speak to people with widely divergent views and, by using values-laden language rather than outcome-laden language, have these divergent groups all nodding their heads and stepping to the table to work together.

Source: Unite and Conquer, by Kyrsten Sinema, p.103-105 , Jul 1, 2009

2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Principles & Values: Kyrsten Sinema on other issues:
AZ Gubernatorial:
Jan Brewer
Phil Gordon
AZ Senatorial:
Jeff Flake
John McCain

Lame-duck session 2012:
KY-4: Thomas Massie(R)
MI-11:Dave Curson(D)
NJ-9: Donald Payne Jr.(D)
WA-1: Suzan DelBene(D)

Re-seated Former Reps:
AZ-1: Ann Kirkpatrick(D)
AZ-5: Matt Salmon(R)
FL-8: Alan Grayson(D)
IL-11:Bill Foster(D)
NH-1: Carol Shea-Porter(D)
NV-3: Dina Titus(D)
NY-24:Dan Maffei(D)
TX-36:Steve Stockman(R)

2013 Resignations and Replacements:
AL-1:Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
AL-1:Bradley Byrne(R,Dec.2013)
IL-2:Jesse Louis Jackson(D,resigned)
IL-2:Robin Kelly(D)
MA-5:Ed Markey(D,to Senate)
MA-5:Katherine Clark(D,Dec.2013)
MO-8:Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
MO-8:Jason Smith(R,elected June 2013)
SC-1:Tim Scott(R,resigned)
SC-1:Mark Sanford(R)
SC-1:Elizabeth Colbert-Busch(D)
Newly-elected Democrats:
AZ-9: Kyrsten Sinema
CA-2: Jared Huffman
CA-7: Ami Bera
CA-15:Eric Swalwell
CA-24:Julia Brownley
CA-29:Tony Cardenas
CA-35:Gloria Negrete McLeod
CA-36:Raul Ruiz
CA-41:Mark Takano
CA-47:Alan Lowenthal
CA-51:Juan Vargas
CA-52:Scott Peters
CT-5: Elizabeth Esty
FL-18:Patrick Murphy
FL-22:Lois Frankel
FL-26:Joe Garcia
HI-2: Tulsi Gabbard
IL-8: Tammy Duckworth
IL-10:Brad Schneider
IL-12:Bill Enyart
IL-17:Cheri Bustos
MD-6: John Delaney
MA-4: Joe Kennedy III
MI-5: Dan Kildee
MN-8: Rick Nolan
NV-4: Steven Horsford
NH-2: Annie Kuster
NM-1: Michelle Lujan-Grisham
NY-5: Grace Meng
NY-10:Hakeem Jeffries
NY-18:Sean Maloney
OH-10:Joyce Beatty
PA-17:Matt Cartwright
TX-16:Beto O`Rourke
TX-20:Joaquin Castro
TX-23:Pete Gallego
TX-33:Marc Veasey
TX-34:Filemon Vela
WA-6: Derek Kilmer
WA-10:Denny Heck
WI-2: Mark Pocan
Newly-elected Republicans:
AR-4: Tom Cotton
CA-1: Doug LaMalfa
CA-21:David Valadao
CA-41:Paul Cook
FL-3: Ted Yoho
FL-6: Ron DeSantis
FL-19:Trey Radel
GA-9: Doug Collins
IL-15:Rodney Davis
IN-2: Jackie Walorski
IN-5: Susan Brooks
IN-6: Luke Messer
KY-6: Andy Barr
MI-11:Kerry Bentivolio
MO-2: Ann Wagner
MT-0: Steve Daines
NY-26:Chris Collins
NC-8: Richard Hudson
NC-9: Robert Pittenger
NC-11:Mark Meadows
NC-13:George Holding
ND-0: Kevin Cramer
OH-2: Brad Wenstrup
OH-14:Dave Joyce
OK-1: Jim Bridenstine
OK-2: Markwayne Mullin
PA-4: Scott Perry
PA-12:Keith Rothfus
SC-7: Tom Rice
TX-14:Randy Weber
TX-25:Roger Williams
UT-2: Chris Stewart
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Page last updated: Jan 25, 2014