David Schweikert and Jevin Hodge: US House rivals speak out on the economy, immigration

Incumbent Rep. David Schweikert, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Jevin Hodge, running in Arizona's 1st Congressional District, discussed policy issues ranging from water rights and the war in Ukraine to local needs and what distinguishes the candidate from his opponent.

The answers to The Arizona Republic's questions, which were submitted in writing, are ordered alphabetically.

Arizona is facing massive cuts in its water rights from the Colorado River after decades of drought. What, if anything, should Congress do to manage this issue for the state?

Hodge: After years of neglect by leaders at all levels of government, Arizonans are finally seeing first-hand the impacts of overuse of the Colorado River’s water resources. I am thankful that Congress passed billions in drought-relief funding as a part of the Inflation Reduction Act, but we must do more. This urgent, multi-state issue needs strong federal leadership and Arizona families can trust that I will look for climate-conscious solutions that ensure our continued access to clean, affordable water.

Schweikert: We should aggressively advocate resources to conservation and recycling. I would also push for Arizona’s priority in allocation of Colorado River water to be changed to reflect the reality of our state today.

Election guide: November 2022

City races | School boards | State | Governor
| Ballot measures | Federal races | How to vote

What are two things you most want Congress to do to impact immigration or border security in the U.S.?

Hodge: Both border security and comprehensive immigration reform are essential priorities for Arizona’s future. We need to move beyond Washington’s dysfunction and implement the basic, common-sense solutions that Arizonans of both parties agree on. Our system of immigration laws is a patchwork of confusing delays — we must pass comprehensive immigration reform so that those seeking to enter our country legally have the means to do so. Failing to enact real, meaningful reform that reduces red tape goes against everything America stands for.

As we improve our system of legal immigration, we must continue to invest in border security so that dangerous criminals cannot enter into our country and put Arizona families in harm’s way.

Corrupt DC insiders like David Schweikert want to present a false choice, but the reality is we can do both. In Congress, I’ll work with both parties to do just that.

Schweikert: Immigration — First, we need to take all necessary steps - including finishing the wall — to secure our border. The failure to secure the border has led to unprecedented levels of illegal and dangerous drugs flooding our state. I believe Arizona’s children are our future, and I will do everything in my power to secure our border so that we can reduce the number of illegal drugs being smuggled into our communities. I am also committed to stopping illegal immigration. The failure to properly secure our border has created a gaping hole along our southern border where anyone looking to harm our country can now enter into the United States with little to no fear of being apprehended.

What is your district’s biggest unmet need? What would you do to address it?

Hodge: It’s the number one issue I hear — voters in this district want a Congressman who they can trust to look out for them, not someone like David Schweikert who they know is only looking to line his own pockets. David Schweikert knowingly used your taxpayer dollars to fund his campaign and his lifestyle - that's just not right. We know that on the urgent issues of today, like healthcare, he’ll side with the pharmaceutical special interests who fund his campaign instead of what Arizona families need. When I’m in Congress, I will work with both parties to pass common-sense, bi-partisan legislation to cut energy prices, modernize the tax system, and help our small businesses grow.

Schweikert: I have been blessed to represent much of Arizona’s 1st Congressional District over the last decade. Our district needs a federal government that is committed to policies that promote economic growth and prosperity, job creation and enables the residents of our district to keep more of their hard-earned money.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion rights, what, if anything, should Congress do on this issue?

Hodge: Corrupt Beltway insiders like David Schweikert want to take away your right to make your own healthcare decisions — period. I will always support a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions and I will be a proud vote in favor of codifying Roe v. Wade into law in Congress. David Schweikert wants to ban abortion and thinks he should be in charge of your body. I can’t think of any decision more personal than a woman deciding on her own healthcare, and I would never think to let the federal government be the one deciding for them.

Schweikert: I believe the issue of abortion is an issue that should be addressed at the state level.

What can Congress do now to help Arizona’s economy and Arizonans struggling economically? 

Hodge: Right now, Arizona’s small businesses don’t have an advocate in Washington. David Schweikert only cares about the special interests that fund his campaign. When I am in Washington, I will work with both parties to modernize the tax code, reduce energy prices, and support our small businesses. David Schweikert is focused on how he can score his next first-class plane tickets or Super Bowl VIP passes. I will be laser-focused on working with both parties to find common-sense, achievable solutions for our business community to help create the high-wage jobs that support our Arizona families.

Schweikert: Congress needs to bring federal spending under control and get the country’s budget on a path to balancing. The failure to control government spending has played a major role in the out-of-control inflation Arizona is now experiencing. As for individual Arizonans struggling economically, Congress needs to adopt policies such as the tax reform bill we passed into law in 2017 that created real and lasting job creation.

Are you in favor of continued U.S. support of Ukraine in its war with Russia? Why or why not?

Hodge: Yes — period. While David Schweikert might support the decaying of democratic norms at home and abroad, we cannot allow dictators like (Russian President) Vladimir Putin to erode our basic human freedoms.

Schweikert: The Russian invasion of Ukraine was unconscionable. I support the continued U.S. backing of the democratically elected government of Ukraine as they work to expel the Russian invaders from their country.

The FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s residence after he repeatedly failed to turn over hundreds of pages of government documents, including top-secret information. What should happen as a result of this?

Hodge: As I talk to families across the district, I know that they’re tired of the daily circus that the typical Washington establishment brings. Whether it’s David Schweikert’s corruption ... or President Trump’s careless disregard for our national security, it’s time for new leadership who will work with both parties to deliver real results for Arizona families. Nobody is above the law — any corrupt politician should face the consequences, just like any normal Arizonan would.

Schweikert: Without additional information about what has transpired, it would be inappropriate to speculate about what should be done.

What policy issue OR what personally distinguishes you most from your opponent?

Hodge: This election is simple — I am a problem solver who will work with both parties to deliver real results for Arizona families. That’s what I’ve done as a Head Start executive, as a businessman, and as a community leader. David Schweikert is only looking out for himself. Instead of fighting for you, he’s listening to his special interest bosses and putting taxpayer money in his own pocket. When I’m in Congress, I will work with both parties to modernize our tax system and put more money back in your pocket, find common-sense solutions to cut energy prices, and support our small businesses.

Schweikert: The differences between my opponent and I are clear. I support policies that encourage growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. He supports (President) Joe Biden and (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and their reckless economic policies that have done real damage to Arizona's economy. I support taking all necessary steps to secure our border - including finishing the wall. My opponent supports Joe Biden. I am committed to doing everything I can to keep our neighborhoods safe and free of crime. I also proudly support our police. My opponent’s party has spent the last several years undermining public safety with dangerous policies like defunding the police and allowing violent criminals out of jail without bail.

The Phoenix area has been a hot spot for inflation in the U.S. and Arizonans have felt the effects of rapidly rising prices for more than a year. What specific steps by Congress do you think would be most effective in bringing down inflation?

Hodge: In a historic year of bi-partisan achievements, David Schweikert stood on the sidelines. When offered the opportunity to cap prescription drug prices and put more dollars back in your pocket, Schweikert voted no. When offered the opportunity to invest dramatically in American manufacturing so we can begin to build things in this country again, Schweikert voted no. It’s easy to see why — Schweikert is bought and paid for special interests. He doesn’t want your prescription drugs to be cheaper because he’s taken over $160,000 from the pharmaceutical industry to keep their profits high. Inflation is a serious and complex problem — we need leaders who will work with both parties for real solutions, not look to line their own pockets like David Schweikert.

Schweikert: The Biden administration’s reckless and irresponsible economic policies have harmed Arizona more than almost any state. As it stands today, we are facing double-digit inflation that is costing Arizonans dearly. Congress needs to reduce the size and cost of government and balance the federal budget. Our failure to do so will only lead to more inflation, higher borrowing costs, and a weak and stagnant economy.

Tara Kavaler is a politics reporter at The Arizona Republic. She can be reached by email at tara.kavaler@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @kavalertara. 

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: David Schweikert, Jevin Hodge on economy, immigration