Arizona's 2nd Congressional District Challenge for 2018

EzDebate is challenging each candidate to answer questions for their constituents. We will be posting the recorded answers so voters can view them.

The following questions were submitted to the candidates:
  • What will you do to stop Trump from building his wall?
  • How can we fix the healthcare crises in our country? Can Obamacare be salvaged?
  • How are you going to work with members of the opposite party who do not share your values?
  • What is the most important issue that faces voters in Arizona?
  • Why has the Democratic party been so ineffective at passing gun control measures and how will you change this?
  • Does our attention to global warming cause us to overlook a more important issue of pollution?
  • How will you protect undocumented immigrants from being deported by president Trump?
The order of the candidates is based on the date and time we received confirmation of their participation.


Matt Heinz (Democrat)

Matt has been an attending physician at the Tucson Medical Center since 2003. There, he treats patients with a range of diagnoses from heart attacks, and head trauma, to chronic conditions like diabetes, PTSD and cancer.

Elected to the Arizona State House in 2008, Matt served two terms and was chosen by his Democratic colleagues to serve as caucus whip. In the House, he focused on seniors, veterans, and healthcare issues, working across the aisle to write and pass key legislation including:

He wrote a bill to make all medical complaints and patient safety information a public record, and broke the partisan gridlock in Phoenix to get it passed (Arizona H.B. 2520 (2011); Arizona H.B. 2545 (2010)

He stood up for our injured veterans so their benefits can never be seized by collectors. Arizona H.B. 2348 (2010)

He helped secure health care for seniors who need it most by ensuring access to hospice care in a time of drastic cuts. Arizona H.B 2099 (2011)

From June of 2013 to March of 2015, Matt served as Director for Provider Outreach in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At HHS, Matt helped coordinate federal response to the Ebola virus and worked closely with healthcare providers implementing the Affordable Care Act.

... See Entire Bio


Ann Kirkpatrick (Democrat)

Ann Kirkpatrick was born and raised in rural Arizona, moved to Tucson to get her college education, and has performed a lifetime of service for Arizona families. She has also worked as a prosecutor, starting her career in the Pima County Attorney’s office, before going on to serve in Congress.

Born and raised in the White Mountains, Ann spent her childhood on the White Mountain Apache Nation. Her first words as a child were in the Apache language. With a Republican mother and a Democratic father, Ann learned early how to mediate disagreement. She is a graduate of Blue Ridge High School, and earned both her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from the University of Arizona.

She worked as a law clerk for the Pima County Attorney’s office in the late 1970s, and served as Deputy Pima County Attorney from 1981 to 1985. She has also worked as an attorney in private practice. In November 2004, she was elected to the first of two terms in Arizona’s House of Representatives, during which she worked with Governor Janet Napolitano to improve Arizona’s K-12 schools.

In 2008, Ann Kirkpatrick was elected to Congress. She was re-elected in 2012 and 2014, representing a district that ran from Tucson’s northern suburbs of Marana and Oro Valley all the way to Flagstaff and the Navajo Nation.

In her first term in Congress, Ann passed bills that helped Arizona’s veterans and Native American tribes, and her bipartisan legislation enacting a historic water settlement is today helping Arizona’s urban, rural and tribal communities. She has also been a leading voice in the push to reform the broken VA system and address problems exposed by Phoenix VA whistleblowers. Her call for a nationwide VA audit was enacted by the Obama administration within just 24 hours, and she was part of the bipartisan committee that brokered and passed major VA reform in 2014.

In 2016, Ann answered the call to run against Republican Senator John McCain, campaigning against Donald Trump across the state.

Ann and her husband Roger live in Tucson near their adult children and grandchildren.

... See Entire Bio


Billy Kovacs (Democrat)

The second congressional district suffers from an exodus of young talent, and has a massive problem retaining young professionals graduating from the University of Arizona. Billy saw this problem and because of his commitment to our community he got to work on finding a solution. He founded the Connected Communities Forum presented by Cisco Systems at the 10West Festival, which brought together Southern Arizona education, business, and government leaders to discuss real world solutions to urban, economic, social and digital infrastructure challenges in our region and explore solutions to overcome them through technology, innovation and public private partnership models.

Understanding that the children of Southern Arizona are vital to its future success Billy has invested significant time in mentoring, promoting and working to retain students within Southern Arizona. From high school students through the ‘Young Entrepreneur Academy’s-Student to CEO’ program presented by the Tucson Unified School District and Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to his work as an Ambassador for Tech Launch Arizona at the University of Arizona where he coordinated with top stakeholders to ensure retention of graduates by connecting students, inventors, and entrepreneurs to startup and tech growth programs and resources, and through his actions, he is making a direct impact on the lives of dozens of students and their families and fostering the growth of the next generation of business leaders.

Billy is not a career politician, nor does he intend to be one, but he understands that for Southern Arizona to meet its full potential it will need to grow its economy on a larger scale, and not just in Tucson, but in every part of Southern Arizona. His work in Cochise County at his family’s vineyard in Pearce, and co-founding Prep and Pastry, a successful Tucson eatery, has shown Billy understands how to work with numerous stakeholders to bring an idea and a business plan from conception to reality. Active with downtown economic and regional development, Billy is a local businessman with a broad set of leadership experience. When elected, Billy plans on using his skills and experiences as a job creator and small businessman to kick-start our economy and get people back to work.

Billy has worked diligently to promote Arizona’s economy as one of the fastest growing regions in the country for high tech jobs. As a Former ambassador to the Arizona Technology Council he specifically focuses on developing new relationships with companies looking to move or do business in Arizona. As a member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Billy works within the organization to bring ideas to attract, retain, and grow high quality and high wage jobs to enhance the quality of life for southern Arizonans.

Recently, Billy accepted a highly competitive fellowship to the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership-Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy. During his fellowship, he focused on ways to stop the political gridlock that plagues our government, and how to better apply his business skills to public service and strengthen his civic leadership abilities to better benefit southern Arizonans. When elected, he will take those lessons learned and continue to address the many opportunities and challenges our state and district have.

Billy is currently employed as the Operations Manager at the historic Hotel Congress. He was educated in public schools, attending Pima County Community College and the University of Arizona. He currently lives in the Sam Hughes neighborhood of Tucson.

... See Entire Bio


Mary Matiella (Democrat)

Mary Sally Matiella is the third of six children born to Arturo and Angelica Garza, both migrant farm workers in southern Arizona. Growing up in a farming family taught Mary the importance of hard work and the value of an education.

Mary attended Ochoa and C.E. Rose elementary schools, Wakefield Junior High, and Pueblo High School, all in Tucson.

While working a summer job at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Mary met Airman Francisco Matiella, whom she married seven years later in 1975.

Mary earned a Regent's Scholarship and enrolled in the University of Arizona’s College of Education. It was while studying at the University that Mary began to hit her stride. Mary earned her BA in Education but did not stop there, earning an MBA from the Eller College of Management in 1976.

Over the next 17 years the couple traveled the world, as Francisco’s career in the Air Force took off. Mary’s skills as a budget analyst ensured that whether they found themselves in Texas, Germany, Colorado, or Panama she could find meaningful work. It was during this time that Mary gave birth to the couple’s two children, Maria Alejandra and Francisco Jose.

In 1999, after four years as Director of Accounting Service for the Air Force in California, Mary was asked to come to work at the Pentagon for the Undersecretary of Defense. Subsequently, Mary served three years as Chief Financial Officer for the United States Forest Service, where she oversaw a $4 billion budget. She then served four years as Assistant Chief Financial Officer at Housing and Urban Development, where she oversaw a $40 billion budget. Mary went on to earn a Doctorate from the Executive Leadership Program, George Washington University.

Not long after, she was asked by President Barack Obama to return to the Pentagon. After unanimous Senate confirmation, Mary was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller in 2010, a position designated by the Department of Defense as the civilian equivalent to a four-star general. Mary served in that capacity until her retirement in 2014. Throughout her successful career in public service, Mary returned home to Tucson for vacations and family visits and finally moved back after her retirement. She is now a candidate for the Second Congressional District and would be the first Latina to represent it.

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Barbara Sherry (Democrat)

First and foremost I am not a politician! I am a Rancher in McNeal Arizona,these feet have walked the fields of this land,shopped in stores,ate in the restaurants and listened to the neighbors that surround my Ranch. My dirty boots went to work every day to produce the finest Grass Fed Beef and Pork on our Organic Ranch. We then sold that Beef and Pork at the Farmers Markets in Sierra Vista, Tucson and Oro Valley.We worked Monsoon or extreme heat since hay fields and animals do not know about Holidays or vacations. This I today PLEDGE to you I will work as hard as any Rancher. Those Boots will go to Washington and work there as Hard as I do here. I will talk and work with any side of the Political aisle in the Best Interest of this Country I so Love.America has been good to me and I want to give back to all the people and I do mean all the people. Please help me to do that ..and thanks to everybody who takes the time to read this and then VOTE!

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Bruce Wheeler (Democrat)

Bruce Wheeler is the progressive democratic candidate for Arizona’s Second Congressional District.

Born and raised in South America, Bruce graduated from the University of Arizona and was first elected to public office two years later. He has worked as a construction worker, photographer, and retired from his work as Director of Energy Management at Tucson Airport Authority in 2006.

As a city council member in the 1990’s, Bruce was instrumental in cleaning up the TCE contaminated groundwater table and successfully worked to attract highly renowned optics industries to Tucson and the University of Arizona through public-private partnerships.

As a three term member of the Arizona House of Representatives, and Assistant House Democratic Leader, Bruce worked tirelessly across the aisle to pass the 2013 Medicaid Expansion legislation, allowing 350,000 Arizonans to have health care coverage. Bruce has been described as a common sense independent minded legislator with a “sensitivity to people’s problems.”

By supporting Medicare for All, Bruce stands in stark contrast to Congressperson McSally, particularly following her Trump Care vote to eliminate the Medicaid coverage passed in 2013, including 40,000 residents in CD2.

Bruce’s two sons attended public schools in Tucson and went on to receive degrees from MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. Bruce and their mother Liz have always prioritized family above all else and are very proud of their sons’ accomplishments.

... See Entire Bio