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‘Prada socialist’ turned centrist wields power on Biden’s agenda


When Arizona Senator Kirsten Senema voted against including a $15-an-hour minimum wage in President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package earlier this year, she did so with a dramatic boom: a rejection.

The gesture recalled the late John McCain, another Arizona senator who repeatedly broke with his party, and was famous for admiring the efforts of his fellow Republicans to repeal the Health Care Act, the health law signed by Barack Obama.

But Cinema has also infuriated progressives, who chose her as one of eight Democratic senators. They oppose wage increases. A cinema spokeswoman said the media’s focus on her “body language, clothing or physical behaviour” was biased against women.

Three months later, Cinema is once again at the center of political debate, spearheading bipartisan infrastructure talks with the White House and attracting criticism from within her own party for its support of the disruption, an opaque Senate ruling that means most bills need the support of 60 House members. Senators — or at least 10 Republicans in the current Congress — to become law. Calls to scrap the disruption increased this week after a sweeping vote-reform bill stalled without a single Republican vote.

The senator’s first-term emergence as a power broker in Congress highlights the daunting math facing Biden as he pushes ambitious plans for InfrastructureAnd the clean energy and the social safety net. The Senate is divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, centrists like Cinema and West Virginia Joe Mansion exercise great influence.

Cinema, who will turn 45, has made no secret of her desire to inherit McCain’s reputation as a “dissident”. doubled on commenter b vertical In the Washington Post on Tuesday, shortly after progressive group Just Democracy spent $1.4 million running ads accusing it of “failure” of Arizona voters. Sinema argued that bipartisan cooperation was the only way to achieve “lasting and lasting” results.

Biden hosted a cinema in a rare one-on-one meeting at the White House on Monday. A group of senators met in her office with administration officials Tuesday in hopes of striking an infrastructure deal that could garner a critical mass of bipartisan support. On Thursday, Cinema walked out of the White House alongside Biden announce A deal was concluded with the group.

Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the US Chamber of Commerce, which has given Cinema several awards for its bilateral collaboration and support for business-friendly policies, said cross-party talks were a natural fit for the senator.

The fact that she has confidence and credibility not only with Democrats but also with Republicans. . . It’s like a muscle. “You have to build and practice these relationships, and you have to build trust,” Bradley said. “She’s spent years doing this, all for the sake of being able to be a key legislator at a critical moment like infrastructure.”

With a colorful wardrobe, pop glasses and a neon wig — which she wore in the pandemic when she couldn’t dye her hair platinum blonde at the salon — Sinema often stands out in a sea of ​​dark suits in Washington. But her biography is equally remarkable.

Senema was born in Tucson, Arizona, and raised poor in the Panhandle area of ​​Florida. She graduated at the top of her high school class at the age of 16 before attending Brigham Young University, a Mormon college in Utah. She later returned to Arizona and earned a master’s degree in social work and a law degree.

She left the Mormon Church and later came out as bisexual. She is one of two openly LGBT senators and the only member of Congress known to be “religiously unaffiliated,” according to the Pew Research Center.

Two decades ago, Sinema was a member of the Arizona Green Party, an anti-war activist who described himself as a “Prada socialist”. But after finishing last in a field of five candidates for the state legislature, she joined the Democrats and won the election two years later in 2004.

She has steadily built a reputation as a moderator, first at the Arizona State House and later in the US House of Representatives.

Its move to the center made cinema vulnerable to accusations of hypocrisy. But critics and allies alike say the senator has been smart in her pursuit of power in Arizona, a border state in the desert southwest where nearly a third of registered voters are affiliated with neither major party.

Republicans have dominated statewide elections for decades with free market economics and strict immigration policies. But the Democrats did invasions, helped in part by influxes of immigrants from Latin America and people from California and other states.

In 2018, Cinema became the first Arizona Democrat to be elected to the Senate in 30 years. “She made some very smart political calculations that led her to the US Senate,” said Chris Love, president of Arizona Defenders Parenthood, the group’s political arm.

She won the support of centrist Democrats, independents and Republicans who were disillusioned with Donald Trump. Last month, 45 percent of Arizona voters had a favorable view of Cinema, a reversal from two months ago, when its approval rating fell to 39 percent after a vote on the minimum wage, according to a poll by OH Predictive Insights, which is not a group Search party in Phoenix.

“The far right or the hard left don’t do that in a general election here,” said Mike Noble of OH Predictive Insights. “What he wins at the state level is center, center right, or center left.”

Noble said recent findings showed that voters were unlikely to penalize Cinema – who won’t run for re-election until 2024 – for breaking the trend.

But this does nothing to reassure progressives.

“There is a latitude . . . people realize it’s a moderate country, it needs these moderate attitudes,” said Catherine Alonzo, CEO of Javelina, a corporate and political campaigns consultant in Phoenix. .”

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