U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD2) recently sat down with Inside Tucson Business to talk about a range of issues facing Congress. This is an edited and condensed transcript from that conversation.
The Rosemont Mine operators recently got the final permits they need to move forward. What are your thoughts on the issuance of the permit?
I’m disappointed. As you know, I’ve come out years ago against Rosemont. Not that I’m against mining, but it just depends on where. And that’s not a good place to mine because of the water issues in the community. And so I’ve been against it for some time. Very disappointed that the Forest Service issued the permit, and Congressman Raul Grijalva shares the concerns with me. We sent a letter wanting to know why the decision was reversed, and we’re waiting for a response, is where we are.
What are your thoughts on the president’s budget proposal?
Terrible proposal. And people realize that. A lot of my recent conversations in the district have been about that proposed budget and he’s just out of touch with what people care about.
You recently came out in support of Medicare for All. Why do you think that would be the way to move forward here?
The No. 1 issue I hear from constituents is getting access to healthcare, or keeping their healthcare. And within that is the high cost of prescription drugs. So Medicare is an existing system. I have yet to hear anybody who doesn’t like Medicare. And so it makes sense to me that expanding coverage for people to allow them to be on Medicare makes sense.
Do you see it as completely replacing private insurance?
Right now, I see it as more the voluntary sign up. So a lot of people get their insurance from their employers, so why mess with that? Allow that to continue. Then we’ve got the veterans’ healthcare system. And veterans like their healthcare. That come out very clear in our townhall the other night. And Indian health services. So we’ve got all these other healthcare delivery systems that work for people and that they like, but Medicare could be a choice.
What do you think of Congressman Grijalva’s proposal to ban the uranium mining up at the Grand Canyon?
I totally support that. That’s an example of where we should not have mining. But I also question, do we need any more uranium in this country? I’ve talked to physicists who say we don’t. We’ve got plenty. We’re not building nuclear power plants. What do we need it for?
Speaker Pelosi said that she doesn’t think impeachment should be on the table, unless something else emerges from what she’s seen so far. Would you agree with where she’s coming from there?
I do, because what she wants to do is address the issues that are affecting working class people, and middle class, and actually deliver on things like Medicare, Social Security, education, healthcare, lowering prescription drug costs, and not get drawn into the whole impeachment argument. We’ve got work to do.