MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. (CBS Las Vegas) — The citizens of Arizona’s ninth district have selected Kyrsten Sinema, an openly bisexual candidate, as the Democratic nominee for Congress.
“We can only change Washington, if we change the people we send there,” she told crowds, quoting her campaign slogan, before releasing a statement shortly after her victory.
“Tonight we learned that people here in [the district] are ready for a change in Congress,” she said. “Arizonans have heard a lot of negative attacks against me during this campaign, and we are going to hear a lot worse. You are going to hear things about me that aren’t true. This is what has happened to our politics, and this win-at-all-costs mentality is damaging our democracy.”
Her bisexuality is not rumor, however – and Sinema, who has gone on the record in the past with regards to her sexual orientation, would be the first openly bisexual person elected to Congress, if voted in by the people.
“I believe that all people have an equal place everywhere in this country, regardless of what movement you’re in or what community you live in,” she told Current TV. “Every single one of us is equal in this country. That’s the beauty of the American dream. I believe we all have a place.”
Her sexuality is reportedly not an emphasis for her though, nor is it for her campaign. On her official website, issues such as immigration and transportation are cited as major talking points instead.
The seeming contradiction between the values of the newly formed district, as well as those of the state, and the characteristics of Sinema have made the results of the election fodder for debate and discussion for political news media.
For example, the same citizens also elected Sheriff Joseph Arpaio, a conservative who refers to himself as “America’s toughest sheriff” and has publicly doubted President Barack Obama’s citizenship. He has also made headlines recently after being sued for racial profiling and false arrest claims.
The state as a whole has also garnered attention in recent history for its conservative policy decisions, including more stringent abortion and immigration laws.
A native of Arizona, Sinema earned her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University, the nation’s largest religious institution of higher education – even though she also is not publicly affiliated with any religion. She finished out her education at Arizona State University.
She will now be running against Paradise Valley town councilman and Republican Vernon Parker, who won his primary against six other candidates.