"Integrity. Independence. That's Arizona. That's Jon Kyl." That's Jon Kyl's television ad, anyway (one of them). He's running for U.S. Senate, in case you didn't know. It's a clever ad. Lots of visuals of the candidate in jeans, meeting with "regular people." I was very impressed. It doesn't tell people much about Jon Kyl though. Oh sure, he may be independent and have some integrity. I don't know that for sure but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. What I do know is Jon Kyl's record as a Congressman P my Congressman (CD-4): his very right wing record. Make no mistake. Jon Kyl is not simply "conservative." He is, quite definitely, one of the most right wing members of Congress.
Jon Kyl probably won't tell you this in his television ads but he has received a 100approval rating from the Christian Coalition on their 1994 score card. Is that terrible? Maybe not. I'm nominally a Christian and appreciate the important role religion can play in instilling moral values into our citizenry. But as a citizen, I worry that the Christian coalition corrupts that role and promotes intolerance- towards homosexuals, many working women, family planning advocates, non-Christians, etc. That isn't to say Jon Kyl is intolerant. Rather, it's just to suggest that there are some intolerant people in the Christian coalition. And if they were in Congress, they'd apparently vote a lot like Jon Kyl.
Jon Kyl opposes abortion rights, even in the case of rape and incest. In fact, he co-sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban abortions in all cases except where the mother's life was threatened. In 1992, he opposed legislation to end the "gag rule," which cut off federal funding to family planning clinics which counseled abortion as an option (funding would be cut off even if abortion services were not provided by the clinic). In 1994, he voted against the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances bill. Surprise, surprise. The National Abortion Rights Action League gave him a zero rating.
Jon Kyl has particular views on civil rights. He voted against the civil rights bill in 1991, a bill President Bush signed. He voted against civil rights bills in 1990 and 1988 as well. In 1988, he was one of only 29 members of Congress who voted against legislation requiring the Justice Department to collect and publish statistics on hate crimes. One year later, he was one of only 47 members who voted against a similar bill regarding crimes that manifest prejudice. More recently, he refused to sign a Human Rights Campaign Fund pledge not to allow sexual orientation to be a factor in the hiring, promoting or terminating practices of his office. John McCain signed the pledge but Jon Kyl refused.
Jon Kyl is no friend of the environment. As a utility industry lawyer/lobbyist before his election to Congress, Kyl served on the Board of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, an industry sponsored group which primarily existed to challenge environmental laws. James Watt was the group's executive director at that time. In the last congressional session (1991-92), Kyl received a score of zero (out of 100) from the nonpartisan league of conservation voters. He improved in the present session (1993-94), but still only received a whopping 15 points.
In 1990, Jon Kyl received a zero rating from the Children's Defese Fund. Even Jesse Helms managed to get a 14 percent rating that year. Kyl not only opposed the Family Leave Act of 1993, he opposed the Republican version in 1991. He was one of 18 Congressmen who voted against a 1992 bill to establish federal quality standards for mammograms, and last year opposed the National Institute of Health reauthorization act, which increased research funding for breast cancer, ovarian and cervical cancer, osteoporosis and reproductive health (areas which have been chronically underfunded in the past, according to many health experts).
Is Jon Kyl a bad person? Well, that's not the point. For all I know, he's a good husband, a good father and a great guy to hang out with. In Washington D.C., though, he's a very right wing guy to hang out with. I'm not sure that Arizona's voters want such an ideologue representing our state in the U.S. Senate. But here's the rub: Jon Kyl will probably spend $4 million on his campaign this fall, most of it on television ads (he had $2.3 million on hand at the end of July). That's far more than any Democrat can hope to raise. So if voters don't take a closer look at his record, an ideologue is what we're going to get.
Douglas H. Allsworth is a second-year UA law student. He is a former Marine and previously attended Hamilton College in New York.
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