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Immigration Central Issue Among 7th District Candidates

A packed house listened to the 7th Congressional District forum.
(Photo by Alexandra Olgin - KJZZ)
A packed house listened to the 7th Congressional District forum.

Thursday night was all about immigration. Candidates running to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor in Arizona's 7th Congressional District talked about how they will push immigration reform at a forum at South Mountain Community College.

All four  of the candidates there said the issue is central to their campaigns. Former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox said she will continue fighting for the same issues Pastor did.

"Ed has fought for immigration and I will go to Congress, and yes we might all have been saying we want reforma. But I have been on the front lines,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox said her first priority is to stop deportations and then work on a pathway to citizenship.

Rev. Jarrett Maupin said he has helped individuals stay in the country and he wants to carry that idea to Washington D.C.

“Deferred action, stopped action. That’s what it is going to take in Congress and that is what I will do if I am elected," said Maupin.

Maupin says it’s not a one-man effort, it takes a coalition of people working together.

Jose Penalosa is running as an independent. He stressed he will be more effective because he will not be beholden to any party on immigration reform.

Candidate Randy Camacho said it’s not a stand-alone issue.

“We are talking immigration, education, I’m a high school teacher, education really matters. And economic development. All three really go hand-in-hand when you really think about it,” said Camacho.

He said he doesn’t want to wait for federal immigration reform, he wants to take local action immediately. Candidate Ruben Gallego missed the event. The primary will be on August 26.


Alexandra Olgin was a Senior Field Correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2016.