Guest Editorial: Passing Of The Political Baton

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Seeing politicians say farewell to their political offices is not uncommon, especially nowadays. But it’s usually preceded by some ulterior motive such as political pressure, public scandal, or upset at the voting box. But for some politicians, it’s all about timing.

And for longtime Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, the time is now. Last week she announced that this will be her last term serving in Congress.

“It’s time to pass along the torch, the baton, and let somebody else take over,” said Congresswoman Kirkpatrick in an interview with the Arizona Republic. “I’ve been in public services for 18 years and I’ve always been a proponent of term limits…and I’m sort of term-limiting myself.”

Over the years, Kirkpatrick’s successes and failures have been closely defined by the state’s shifting partisan attitudes while finding small victories in some of the state’s most unpublicized battles. Kirkpatrick’s deep roots in Arizona’s White Mountains have helped propel her long credibility in politics amongst rural voters without too much attention or headlines in the spotlight.

Born in northern Arizona on an Apache Indian reservation near McNary, Kirkpatrick moved to Pinetop-Lakeside and graduated from Blue Ridge High School as valedictorian. After becoming a teacher and serving a short time in the AZ House of Representatives, she was elected to the U.S. Representative in 2008. During her time, she has represented two vastly different political districts serving both northeastern Arizona mostly made up of tribal areas and the Tucson-area near the US-Mexico border.

So, what does this mean for 2022? Grab the popcorn because it’s going to be another political showdown for the open House seat. For the Republican Party, it’s a battle worth fighting as the seat has been among the nation’s most competitive and certainly of interest after Arizona’s acclaimed “flipping blue.” For Democrats, they’ll have to use every political trick and tactic in the bag if they want to maintain the seat, even in a predominately Democrat populated area.

As for Kirkpatrick, we thank you for your longtime service in the political arena. We know it is not the easiest place to be. Any person that throws their hat into the ring towards public service with hopes of leaving things slightly better than when they arrived is to be commended. Let’s hope your successor is worthy of the office.