PHOENIX -- The Valley first came to know Julie Erfle after she became a Phoenix police officer's widow.
Nick Erfle was not only her husband but also a father to their two young boys. In September 2007, an illegal immigrant gunned him down. The deadly shooting thrust the grieving widow into the center of a political firestorm.
"My husband's name was being used to forward an agenda that I knew he would not have been in favor of," Julie said.
Now, four years later, Julie is healing and blogging. No surprise, one of her goals is immigration reform.
"So if you want to get rid of illegal immigration then we have to find a way to make legal migration possible," she said.
Julie believes Arizona is fooling itself with Senate Bill 1070 by thinking it can solve the national crisis.
"Things like poverty, unemployment and education and health care, these are things the state of Arizona can accomplish and they really should be talking about and they really put a lot of that on the back burner by focusing on immigration, which is really something they don't have a lot of power over," she said.
Julie's thoughts and research are reflected in her blog called Politics Uncuffed. It's become her venue to steer the immigration debate away from rioting and into a respectful dialogue.
"The tone of the entire debate was so divisive, it really just tore apart this state and it serves to tear apart the nation and it's not fixing the problem," she said.
For those able to fix the problem, Erfle believes, "A lot of these politicians have used a lot of these catchphrases to sort of get around solving the problem and to prohibit the actual discussion of what's going on. It's about recognizing the consequences of all of this and understand the big picture."
The big picture for Julie is raising her two sons. At this time of year, they decorate their tree in honor of Nick. Many of the ornaments are sentimental and symbolic.
"It's very special to them, to see these little ornaments and have that memory back of what it was like to first put the tree together," she said.
As for Julie, life will never be the same, however.
"It's been a very eye-opening journey, a lot of personal growth that you wish you didn't have to go through but you do," she said. "But today things are very good, they're really good. Kids are good, I'm doing good."
For more information about Julie's blog, Politics Uncuffed, visit http://politicsuncuffed.com.