The commander, staff and garrison of Fort Buckley (me, myself and I) will support Frank Antenori for Congress in CD 8′s special election, then CD 2′s general election.
I’ve known Frank Antenori since the spring of 2007. We met when both of us hosted Pete Hegseth, David Bellavia, Steve Russell and Jeremiah Workman when they came to Tucson as part of VetsForFreedom’s national bus tour. VetsForFreedom sought to remind Americans of the importance in not cutting and running in Iraq. Instead, VetsForFreedom urged that DC politicians give General David Petraeus enough breathing room to implement the surge started in early 2007 by President Bush. I know many disagree, but I think history proved that Petraeus was right.
During that day with the VetsForFreedom contingent, I found Frank to be charismatic, earnest and bright. I was floored by accounts of his experiences with the Army’s Special Forces. Read his book, Roughneck 91 and you’ll see what I mean.
When Frank entered the State House, because we were fellow GOP travelers, I stayed in touch. I was impressed by how hard he worked. I remember him describing his living conditions in Phoenix while the Legislature was in session. He lived with three other legislators in a four-bedroom rented house, and got about five hours of sleep a night. He got inundated by e-mails from constituents daily, he told me, but he did (and does) his best to answer as many as he could.
Frank’s very visible throughout the district. Check out his Facebook page. You’ll see that he’s constantly attending events and visiting constituents. He doesn’t just hang around the east Tucson suburbs. I recall Frank telling me about the time he went up Mount Lemmon to put a campaign sign in Summerhaven, which was part of his House district. A resident came up to Frank, shocked that a candidate had actually thought to pay attention to their little hamlet in an election campaign.
One of the most compelling tributes I’ve heard given to Gabrielle Giffords came from Frank:
“She took a bullet for her country, just like many other people that I know, and she’s to be commended for that,” said Antenori, who served in the Army Special Forces. “Whether it’s a veteran or a congresswoman, they’re to be respected for that degree of sacrifice. We may disagree on politics, but the respect for being wounded is exclusive of political affiliation.”
If you want an example of civility in politics, and leadership-by-example in the public eye, that’s it.
The leadership in the state legislature thinks highly of Frank as well. Shortly after assuming Jonathan Paton’s old Senate seat, he rose to the position of majority whip. The whip’s job is a big deal, and I’ll bet than some Maricopa County-based senators in a Maricopa County-centric legislature wanted it. Yet, Frank got it. There’s your proof that Frank is viewed as capable and effective in Phoenix…
…and THAT’S the big reason I support Frank Antenori for Congress (and urge you to do so, too).
I have nothing against any of the other GOP candidates, and I’m pretty sure I’ll support the GOP primary winner in both elections. (Surprise!) Having said that, it’s primary season. In primaries, all partisans have to make choices. I wanted my bias in the Congressional primary contests to be be fully known.
When CD8′s new Congressman/woman reaches Washington, they’ll only have a few months to try and get anything done in this Congress. (To be sure, it’s highly doubtful that much of anything gets done in Congress in a presidential election year—point noted and well-taken).
Frank’s legislative experience, coupled with the credibility and influence he’s established in Phoenix, give him a leg up on the other GOP competitors for the CD 8-then-2 seat. Frank knows the issues and needs of southern Arizona because he’s been working on them for more than three years. He’s best positioned to achieve as much success as possible in the final few months of the current Congress; his experience also makes him the best choice for the general election this November.
No one can read the future, but I’m pretty sure the GOP will run the House of Representatives in the Congress that will be seated in January 2013. The majority party runs the House. If you want CD2′s voice in the House to be as potent as possible, you want that voice to be Republican.
Believe it or not, there are people out there who look for “Fort Buckley” for guidance on politics. I hope both of them read this.