Sepulveda gets nod in GOP race

Jul. 27, 2012 12:00 AM
The Republic |

There is little debate on the issues among the seven Republicans running in the 9th Congressional District.

They all want to repeal “Obamacare,” balance the budget, cut taxes, reduce regulation and limit the federal role in education. With one exception, they say the key to immigration reform begins with securing the border.

Among the seven is an impressive record of national service. Three have military records, one served with the Central Intelligence Agency and one held high-level posts in both Bush administrations.

So how do Republican voters choose? They could go with the person who would be the best candidate in the general election, when policy differences will be stark. Or they could go with the candidate who would be the best representative for a district that stretches from north-central Phoenix to Ahwatukee.

In either case, they would settle on the same candidate: Martin Sepulveda.

The former Chandler City Council member; Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran; and real-estate developer stands out in this crowded field.

Experience is vital in any field, including lawmaking. Sepulveda’s eight years on a large-city council, dealing with downtown revitalization and the recruitment of a multinational corporation, provides good training for the hard-ball world of Washington, D.C. He understands what it means to be accountable to constituents.

Sepulveda is articulate, with as strong a grasp on the issues as any candidate in this field. He would represent his party well in this new district, the most closely split in Arizona. Voters would have no doubt where he stood and how he differed from the Democratic candidate.

Among the other candidates, Vernon Parker, making his third run for office in two years, appears to be going through the motions.

Air National Guard pilot and businessman Travis Grantham has the energy to do well in politics. Leah Campos Schandlbauer, a retired CIA agent, would confound the Democrats as a Republican Latina with a nuanced view of immigration as a public-policy matter rather than a wedge issue. Both would have been better off launching their political careers with a less high-profile office than Congress.

Particularly with Sepulveda in this race. He has the experience, the temperament and the philosophical grounding to be a strong Republican candidate in November.

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