Heather Ross, a nurse practitioner, researcher and professor at Arizona State University, has entered the Democratic primary in hopes of challenging Republican Rep. David Schweikert for Arizona’s 6th Congressional District.
Ross is facing Garrick McFadden, Anita Malik, John Williamson and Gustavo Ortega in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary. Arizona’s 6th Congressional District covers much of the northeast Valley, including Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and parts of Phoenix.
Ross is a Valley native with deep ties
to the local Jewish community. Her mother is a former cantor for Temple Kol Ami. She and her family are currently members of Congregation Or Tzion, where her husband is set to serve as the congregation’s next president.
Ross decided to run while teaching a health care policy class last spring.
“We were having this conversation right after the first bill to repeal the [Affordable Care Act] did not go to vote,” she said.
Ross explained to the class that one reason the bill didn’t get a vote was due to opposition from both Democrats and the Republicans’ Freedom Caucus.
“And who’s in the Freedom Caucus?” Ross asked. “There are five Republican members of Congress from Arizona, and four of them are in the Freedom Caucus.”
Ross described the Caucus as a movement that “gleefully celebrates their refusal to negotiate across the aisle.”
“I was so frustrated with not just the last cycle in 2016, but the last couple of cycles,” Ross said. “I thought about all of the messaging that we’ve been
hearing about how we need more women in office, we need more health care providers, more scientists, more teachers, and I thought, ‘I check all of those boxes.’” she added.
Ross’ signature issue is health care. She supports a gradual transition to universal health care, although she does not necessarily support a single-payer option.
Ross cites what she characterizes as Schweikert’s efforts to restrict access to health care as a major reason for entering the Democratic primary.
Another issue that is close to her heart is the use of diplomacy, as she has been disappointed by the current administration’s failure to fully utilize
She is also a strong proponent of increasing funding for education, and she supports the reversal of the December vote by the Federal Communications Commission to dismantle Obama-era protections on net neutrality.
Kate Gallego, current Phoenix City Councilmember and mayoral candidate, endorsed Ross, citing her “focus on solving problems and not labeling people or playing partisan politics.”
“The way we are headed today, with this tribalism and this brutal lack of recognizing others’ humanity,” Ross said, “it feels like we are at risk of my generation being the last generation that was better off than the one before it.
“I think we have a real responsibility to continue to pay it forward and to look for solutions that are going to allow us, as a society, to continue to get better.” JN