Former Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema charmed a small crowd at Sue Ellen’s Vixen Lounge on Sunday night on her first campaign trip to Texas to raise money for her campaign to become the first bisexual elected to Congress.
Sinema, a seven-year veteran of the Arizona Legislature, resigned in January to focus on her campaign for Arizona’s new 9th Congressional District, which covers Phoenix and areas to the north and east.
In her speech to the audience about her run for Congress, Sinema talked about her time growing up with divorced parents and the time she lived in an abandoned gas station when she was 8. While Dallas Voice did an interview with her before the event where she discussed views on immigration and how former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, was a role model for her, Sinema spoke about how she now inspires youth.
“I want LGBT youth to see me and think, ‘I can do that,’” she told Instant Tea about running for Congress. “In particular I want young women and young gay people to feel like they can do anything, because they can.”
While working with youth as a social worker after putting herself through college with scholarships and grants, Sinema said she started lobbying at the Arizona Capitol to try to create change for the struggling youth and families she worked with daily. But the result was unsatisfactory as lawmakers refused to listen, she said.
“So I went to law school,” she said, adding that then she was not yet 25 and could not run for state office.
But in 2004, at 27, she won her first election as a state representative — the youngest women to win in the state’s history — and began to build relationships with Democrats and Republicans to change anti-gay views.
“I learned to get to know people who were different than me. Once you can do that, you form relationships and get things done,” she said.
Arizona is the second poorest state after Louisiana and has the nation’s highest foreclosure rates, two things Sinema wants to fix if elected to help families who go to bed hungry and without a home, knowing herself what those things are like.
“That’s what I want to do in Congress, is go solve some problems,” she said.
Erin Moore, vice president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, said the event had a good turnout for a Sunday night with about 20 people and helped raise roughly $3,500. She said she hopes the event helped continue the excitement for Sinema to continue the fundraising efforts in Dallas.
“Kyrsten’s always fabulous and I hope people get behind her and support her,” she said. “We need her voice in Congress.”
Sinema will be in Houston today at an event for Emily’s List, a national organization that supports pro-choice Democratic women. She recently received the group’s endorsement.
In June, Sinema said she will return to raise money in Texas, planning visits to Dallas, Houston, San Antonia and Austin. She faces two other Democrats in Arizona’s Aug. 28 primary. The nominee will then face a general opponent with five Republicans running in the primary.