Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Safford City Councilor Chris Taylor has announced his bid to run for the House of Representatives.
Hopes to flip Congressional District-1 for Republicans
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Safford City Councilor Chris Taylor has worn quite a few hats in his life – Army combat veteran, firefighter, drug counselor, city councilor, family man – and now he wants to represent Arizona in the United States House of Representatives.
Taylor officially announced his candidacy for U.S. Rep. CD-1 today and launched his fundraising campaign. Donate to the campaign by clicking here.
Taylor is a sixth-generation Arizonan who was born and raised in Safford. A standout athlete who attained the rank of Eagle Scout, Taylor served two tours of combat duty for the Army in Afghanistan, following the example of his father – who saw combat duty in Vietnam – and both grandfathers who saw combat duty in Korea.
With former candidate Wendy Rogers changing her tactic and instead running for the Arizona State Senate, the Republican nomination for U.S. Rep. CD-1 is up for grabs and Taylor – who by all rights could be selected by central casting as the new face of the Republican Party – believes he is just the person to flip the contested district and win against incumbent Tom O’Halleran or whoever may win the Democratic nomination.
“I think they’re ready to try something different,” Taylor said. “I think they’re ready for somebody who can relate to all sides of the political spectrum. Because in this district, it’s one thing to win the nomination for the Republican Party. But that’s not only what I want to do. I want to win the election.”
Taylor said his life experiences – including his time serving his country in combat as a paratrooper in Afghanistan and dealing with the Veterans Administration scandal afterward – which he says needs to be a nonpartisan issue to find a solution to the issue and take care of our country’s veterans.
“I’m a regular person,” Taylor said. “I’m a blue-collar person. I’m a certified firefighter, and I just think that understanding this district – they are regular people who need representation from a regular person who understands their desires and needs. And that’s what I think the Founding Fathers intended. They didn’t intend for only multi-millionaires and such people to be in Congress . . . They are largely out of touch with what regular Americans need and want.”
While Taylor may be a “regular person” his consultants have some pedigree and include Shawn Dow as a consultant – who ran Ron Paul’s Arizona operations for president in 2012 and Rand Paul’s in 2016 – and Ross Trumble as campaign manager – who worked on the Pauls’ campaigns and Kelli Ward’s Senate bid. To read more about Chris Taylor see his op-ed on why he is running here or visit his campaign website here.
Taylor said his main issues moving forward will center around illegal immigration, which he describes as being at a “crisis level”; the economy; protecting the Constitution, including but not limited to the First and Second amendments, increasing education, balancing the budget, and national security and foreign policy.
“We really need to keep our taxes low, live within our means and balance the federal budget,” Taylor said. “Working as a council member, I can’t even imagine if we did what they do in Washington (D.C.) here in Safford and in other cities. I mean, it’s not even possible. And so, if we have to do it and the state has to do it and regular citizens have to budget their household budgets every year, why is Washington any different? We need to balance the budget.”
Another top issue that hits home for Taylor is the opioid crisis that is gripping the country. Taylor himself went through his own bout with opioid addiction and famously conquered that evil to go on and found Desert Eagle Addiction Recovery, a nonprofit organization that was dedicated to helping individuals – especially fellow combat veterans – suffering from drug addiction. Taylor ran the nonprofit as executive director for four years. In 2016, Taylor ran for the Safford City Council and received the most votes of the four various candidates for the three open seats.
In speaking about his past dealings with opiate addiction, Taylor said while his opponents may think it as a weakness to attack, it is actually a source of strength.
“The experiences that I’ve had with opiate addiction and being able to overcome that and inspire and help others to find that recovery as well are a source of strength,” Taylor said. “Just like any issue, government programs aren’t the answer. But, I think that we can better spend federal grant dollars and we can strategically place them into the private sector and into charitable nonprofit organizations that are best equipped to combat that issue. And it goes hand-in-hand with the border. We have to cut off the flow of heroin and fentanyl that is flooding our communities and killing our children. It seems like a whole generation is being wiped out and it’s because of ineffective policies and our inability to do what’s needed. And a big part of that is erasing that negative stigma associated with addiction where people who really want help are afraid to reach out because of the public shame that comes with it . . . This is a problem that knows no demographic. It doesn’t discriminate. Addiction hits every single race, every gender, every political class, and every economic class. Everybody knows somebody who is suffering from addiction and it cripples our families. To have a strong nation, we need to have strong families.”
Taylor said he also hopes to return politics to a civil tone and help end the hyper-partisanship.
“The hyper-partisanship is destroying this nation,” Taylor said. “I will never waiver in my conservative values and principles and will always defend conservative positions to the best of my ability, but I will never endorse personal attacks on my opponents. I’ll never put out false or misleading ads or messages meant to play on people’s worse fears for shock value. I won’t do that, and I think that’s going to be refreshing.”