Dear Martha McSally, Re: Your Recent Survey

Dear Martha McSally,

I am a registered independent in Congressional District 2, Legislative District 9, and I received and responded to your recently mailed survey. However, I found the survey more than a little lacking, and, because I hope you truly care what I think, I’ve decided to correspond with you in a way that’s not quite so limited.

First and foremost, I’d like to explain some of my bias against this survey and where that bias began. As a registered independent, I received an overwhelming mass of correspondence on behalf of your campaign a little over a year ago, and I was incredibly offended by the negative slant of the majority of mailings I received. However, there was one particular mailing that really sticks in my mind as reprehensible. It featured incumbent Ron Barber’s picture as a parody for Malibu Barbie.

I feel it should be obvious why such a terrible piece of partisan politics was offensive to me and would have offended me regardless of who your opponent was. However, it was doubly offensive for its target. I lived down the street from Jared Loughner. I was personally impacted by the Gabby Giffords shooting, as most Tucsonans were, and Ron Barber took a special place in my heart as a public servant the moment he took a bullet that January 9th. I understand the money that paid for this particular smear ad came from outside interest groups. However, I’m incredibly disappointed that you did not publicly renounce such bull shit, childish, and petty acts made in an attempt to put you in office. Ron Barber deserved better, and I will expect better of any future opponents you face, because such a smear directed at you would be equally reprehensible.

Second, I’d like to point out that your survey did not address education in any way. I’ve been told that avoiding questions about education is a common practice in such surveys, because its something that you cannot have much of an impact on… it’s basically a lose-lose situation for you. Yet, I wish you would have asked. I wish the survey had been sent out with the intent to truly understand where your constituents stand on all of the issues, regardless of which issues you can truly expect to impact. Also, I hope and pray that you will re-prioritize education and fight on behalf of Arizona students, even if you believe it is a losing battle. I hate believing you’ve given up on an issue that’s so close to my heart.

I am among the many teachers this state (alongside the rest of the nation) is currently bleeding. I taught for 7 years, and gave it up last year when I discovered that assistant managers at Starbucks receive greater compensation than what teachers in Arizona receive. I now work as a program assistant for a local hospice and I make more than I made in the classroom, without even using my degree. Education is too important an issue to be omitted from any venue that’s purpose is to better understand where people stand on the issues.

Finally, I’m disappointed in the manner in which your survey addressed the issues it addressed. An overt selfishness bled through most of the questions. While I don’t recall the exact wording, as I already mailed in my responses, many of the questions were skewed so that only a fool would answer in a way that provided data to oppose your current stances… “Is a strong national defense a priority for you?” Of course – it’s a priority for everyone. It’s a priority for those who would prefer to move money from defense to agriculture, and it’s a priority for those who want to move money from agriculture to defense. If you truly wanted to know what your constituents think, you would write the question rather differently. However, as it stands, the results of that survey can only be used to reinforce your beliefs, rather than providing an opportunity for you to re-evalutate them. I’m sure those results will be published and say something to the effect of: “96% of voters polled responded by saying that a strong national defense is a priority for them.”

I want to believe you are different from other politicians. However, you have claimed to be different while simultaneously playing by the commonly accepted rules of politics. I generally don’t vote for the person with whom I agree most frequently. I vote for the human being who reveals herself to possess the integrity, intelligence, and courage to do what she believes is right, regardless of what would be most advantageous for her career. Thus far, you have not been that person. You have allowed outside interest groups to come in and insult a man who served honorably, and to insult him on your behalf. You have asked for feedback, but eliminated the possibility of dissent against you.

Please, don’t send me another survey or mailing that so lacks the substance and idealism necessary in representing me. In fact, each time you’ve mailed me in the past, you’ve diminished what esteem I held for you, so, honestly, you’d be better off to stop mailing me altogether… unless you can significantly step up your game.


Katie James


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