OPINION: A primer on newly-appointed Arizona SenatorJon Kyl

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Creative Commons | The Daily Wildcat Jon Kyl will be filling the late senator, John McCain, seat in the senate.

For 10 days afterJohn McCain’s death, his Senate seat for Arizona had been left vacant. Governor Doug Ducey filled the seat last Tuesday with a familiar face, Jon Kyl. Even though Kyl will likely leave the Senate after January of this year, it would be beneficial to go over some key points about the man who was Senator of Arizona from 1995-2013.

Jon Kyl is originally from Nebraska and is the son of John Kyl, a member of the House of Representatives for Iowa. The University of Arizona brought Kyl to Tucson; he earned a bachelor's degree and attended the James E. Rogers School of Law. While attending our university, he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. 

Right after graduation, he became the editor-in-chief of the Arizona Law Review and started working at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, a Phoenix based law firm, as an attorney and a lobbyist. He later worked at Mountain States Legal Foundation, a non-profit law firm that helps businesses avoid safety and environmental laws, a much needed cause.

Kyl’s first government seat began in 1987, when he served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Arizona’s Fourth District. This ended in 1995 when he was elected to the Senate, where he replaced Democrat Dennis DeConcini. While Senator, he rose to the prominent position of Minority Whip, the first Arizonan to hold a prominent position like this since 1953.

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The National Journal ranked Kyl as the fourth-most conservative senator in 2007, and his policies reflect this ranking. Other than teaming up with Democrat Dianne Feinstein for crime victims’ rights, he has been pretty consistent in shooting down policies proposed by the Democratic Party. He voted against the New START arms treaty with Russia and also voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2008. 

Kyl wished to expand control over online gambling. Under his proposed bill, one would only be allowed to bet on horse and dog races, along with the state lottery. 

Now the bigger question is: Will Kyl reflect McCain’s relationship with the president or will he reflect the modern GOP? Governor Ducey, for the most part, has followed suit with the GOP in being a yes-man to the fragile ego of the president.

Considering some past actions of Kyl, hopes of him being a complete yes-man seem unlikely. He has said of Trump that “he is his own worst enemy” and called Trump’s actions “boorish”. When later asked about these comments, Kyl stuck by his words. 

In policy, Kyl also wished to extend the period of time protecting DACA DREAMers. This issue has been placed front and center for Trump and his supporters. This demonstrates Kyl does not seem to just go along with the GOP. For more moderate Conservatives, and even those leaning to the left in Arizona, this is a good sign.

Will Jon Kyl benefit the Senate for all? Perhaps he may surprise us in this economic climate. However, Arizona must be ready to make a decision come November 6. Kyl and Flake will step down, and we will be left with unfilled Senate seats. 

Is it time to make changes to our state? Do we wish to keep Arizona a red state, or is it time to go blue in this current political climate? Or is it time to stop playing party politics and vote based off of principle? Only time will tell.


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