Sen. Sinema announces House run, says 'We need to wake up Washington'

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

TEMPE, Ariz. -- State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced Tuesday afternoon that she is running for Congress in District 9.

“Washington doesn’t get it," Sinema said in a news release announcing her candidacy. "They don’t get that people are hurting. Jobs are scarce, people are losing their homes and they worry they’re next. I get it. … I understand how tough it is for people to make ends meet. I decided to run for Congress because we need to wake up Washington.”

Sinema, a Democrat, is an Arizona native. Born in Tucson, she moved to Phoenix in 1995, and currently represents Legislative District 15, which overlaps with Congressional District 9. In her announcement, Sinema touched on her history of taking on Gov. Jan Brewer and her "regressive policies."

Sinema has been considering a run for the House since the summer.

“If I am elected, I’ll stand up to the powerful in Washington,” she continued in her statement. "Someone needs to speak up for us, for the forgotten middle class and the powerless in our society.”

Sinema, who holds a law degree and a master's in social work, both from Arizona State University, was elected to the Arizona State Senate in 2010. Prior to that, she spent six years (three terms) as a state representative.

In 2006, Sinema headed up Arizona Together, a statewide campaign considered instrumental in defeating a proposition that would have banned the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona. She also led a campaign against a scaled-down version of the same proposition in the general election two years later. That proposition went on to be approved by 56 percent of the voters.

In 2008, Sinema,a supporter of President Barack Obama, was delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Last year, Time Magazine selected her as one of its "40 under 40," calling her one of the "rising stars of American politics" and one of " a new generation of civic leaders … already at work trying to fix a broken system."

Before entering the political arena, Sinema was a criminal defense lawyer. She started her career as a social worker in the Washington Elementary School District.