Decision 2012

Apr 3, 2012 10:27 PM

Decision 2012: CD8 candidate Jesse Kelly talks to News 4 Tucson

TUCSON - All this week, News 4 Tucson is profiling each candidate running in the Special Election for Congressional District 8. Today, we talked to Republican candidate Jesse Kelly, who is running in the primary alongside Frank Antenori, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton.

Out of the four Republican candidates, at 6-foot-8, Jesse Kelly is the one who stands out physically. But that’s not all he’s known for. You may remember him from his first attempt to win this seat, losing narrowly losing to Gabrielle Giffords in 2010.

Kelly says on this go-around, the issues are pretty much the same - only worse.

“Small businesses are being really unfairly punished by the current tax system,” Kelly told News 4 Tucson’s Greg Dingrando. “Let them hold their money, and then they'll expand and hire more people. “

Beyond that, he says Arizona’s priorities are still the same: health care, immigration, and of course, the border. When it comes to the border, Kelly says he’s a fence man.

“We’re currently importing 50 percent of narcotics that come into U.S. come right through our area in Southern Arizona,” he said. “We need to build a double layer border fence. It works.”

But he says the hottest issue for voters right now is gas prices - a problem he says is unacceptable, considering the resources we already have here.

“We have an endless supply of energy here in this country so we should never have high gas prices in U.S.,” he says. “And we should never have high energy bills because of all the blessings we have.”

Other than the pain at the pump, he says another “talker” he hears a lot on the campaign trail has nothing to do with politics at all: his basketball game.

“Let me tell you for the record, right now: I played and I was not very good. I may be tall, but I was not athletic and not that great,” he admitted.

But he says that shouldn’t hurt his chances of getting to Washington - chances he says are really good.

“We're very confident,” Kelly said. “We feel like we have the best team in Southern Arizona. That's all candidates and all party. It has nothing to do with me - our team is excellent.”

Kelly says name recognition from his last race should help, but he’s not focusing on the past. He’s says he’s out there covering the issues voters are facing now, and that should be enough.

Tomorrow on News 4 Tucson, we will profile a rookie to the political scene: former fighter pilot Martha McSally. Tune in to News 4 Tucson at 6 p.m. Wednesday for her story.

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