Oct 18, 2012 7:53 PM by John Overall
TUCSON - United States Senator Jon Kyl is calling it quits at the end of this term.
The Republican has serverd 18 years in the Senate and eight years in Congress. Three men are now running for Kyl's Senate seat.
Democrat Dr. Richard Carmona is a Former U.S. Surgeon General, a Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona and a former Pima County Sheriff's Surgeon and SWAT team leader.
Republican Jeff Flake is serving his sixth term in Congress. Flake spent time in Africa as the the former Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy and he's the former Executive Director of The Goldwater Institute.
Marc Victor is a Libertarian and the owner of his own law firm. A graduate of Arizona State University, Victor earned a Law Degree from Southwestern University in Los Angeles.
All three candidates put the economy, jobs, and border security at the top of their priority lists. News 4 Tucson asked them what issue sets them apart from the other two.
Dr. Carmona believes his ability to find common ground is an asset. "I think the first thing we have to do is to reestablish some civility and statesmanship in Congress," he said. "It really makes no difference what any body's agenda is, what their portfolio is, if elected officials can't sit down and have a conversation and move an agenda forward."
Jeff Flake believes his vision of smaller government is a big factor. "I have always felt the Federal Government is too big and it taxes and regulates too much," he said. "And certainly over the past couple of years we've seen more of that. I want to make sure that people can live their lives without having to worry too much about government if they don't want to."
Marc Victor takes the idea of smaller government even further. "I'm the only candidate who I think is really interested in promoting freedom," he said. "My candidacy is people being in charge of themselves, people running their own lives, people defining and pursuing their own happiness for themselves."
The candidate who moves into Jon Kyl's Senate seat must find a way to help balance the budget and chip away at the national debt. which is now more than $16 trillion.
Flake says he can't comprehend a number so large but he believes there is a fix. "We in the House have passed a budget. If we can get something like that in the Senate and get the White House to go along with it then we'll be okay, but it starts with getting a budget that can be passed and can be balanced over time," Flake said.
Victor claims we don't have a choice when it comes to the debt; it's now or never. "We're at a point in our nation where if we don't do something about the debt, about the deficit, about the spending problem, we're going to go off a cliff. And I just don't know any other way to say it other than that," Victor said.
Dr. Carmona believes we can't pay off the debt unless we shore up the economy first. "First and foremost it is jobs, it's the economy, it's the debt. If people are working, if revenue is being generated, we have healthcare, we have better education, and it's a rippling effect out into the economy," Dr. Carmona said.