By Joyce Coronel
Sometimes controversial U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema seemed to walk on hallowed ground during her State of the District address to members of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. Indeed, the cordial reception she received hardly could have been cast by a more welcoming audience. Elected to Congress in 2012, Sinema represents Arizona’s ninth congressional district, encompassing areas of Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale and Phoenix. In her presentation to the chamber, held at the Rio Salado Community College conference center on Feb. 17, Sinema emphasized what she called her bipartisan approach to politics and support for the local business community. Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, as well as members of the Tempe City Council and local business community, were on hand for the occasion. “I approach this job with a perspective that’s increasingly rare in Washington, and that’s a committment to reach across the aisle and work with anyone who is serious to find solutions to help our state move ahead and our economy forward,” Sinema said. “You all know that in business there are never just two perspectives—there are dozens of perspectives. So reducing conversations in Washington to an all- Democrats-think-that or all-Republicans-believe-that mentality is, frankly, ridiculous,” Sinema told the group. It was an approach that Glen Hayard, owner of Good Works Auto Repair of Tempe, said he found refreshing. Hayward said that although he thinks of himself as mostly a Republican, in his opinion, Sinema has the right attitude. Her talk, he said, was “excellent.” “I think it’s about time that more people who are like-minded in Congress take that approach and reach across the aisle and quit acting like a bunch of spoiled babies,” Hayward said. “I think she’s got the right attitude. If her demeanor in Congress is the same that it was this morning in the meeting, I would overwhelmingly be in favor of the approaches and the ideologies that she has,” he added. Sinema noted the areas she has focused on in Congress: reforming the tax code, improving the nation’s aging infrastructure and dealing with the layers of regulation that are a burden to businesses. Calling small business the “backbone of Arizona’s economy,” Sinema pledged to work toward reform of a regulatory system she termed “outdated.” “We have to make sure there are clear and fair rules for businesses in the regulatory process,” Sinema said. “Our current regulatory system is inefficient, complicated and downright confusing,” she told the assembly. Sinema said business owners often tell her that the “best way to remain competitive is to have regulatory certainty that they can plan for, so they can plan ahead, hire and grow their company.” Mary Ann Miller, president of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, called Sinema’s presentation “eloquent” and said the congresswoman had reached out to all sides of the community. “We appreciate the work that she’s done on behalf of businesses and how easy it is to access her staff on behalf of the businesses we represent,” Miller said.