Women Candidates to Watch in 2014

Kyrsten Sinema among MSNBC’s Women Candidates to Watch in 2014

As part of its ‘30 in 30’ — a new series where the 30 of the most dynamic women candidates seeking office in 2014 will be spotlighted — MSNBC honored Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema Aug. 28.

Sinema was interviewed on day 19 of the 30-day campaign, and was asked questions based on women’s issues and being a woman in a male-dominated industry.

MSNBC: How has being a woman in a field dominated by men impacted your race  so far?

Sinema: Our race is about who stands up for Arizona families, so my proven record of working with anyone to get things done for Arizona and our country is the focus of our campaign.

MSNBC: If elected, what will be your No. 1 priority?

Sinema: I have fought for Arizona families since first taking public office a decade ago. Now that I represent Arizona’s 9th District in Congress, my top priority continues to be serving the women, veterans, seniors, and families in my district. Our office is currently working on solutions to the VA Health Care crisis, which first emerged at the VA hospital in my district. We have organized and staffed resource fairs for veterans in our district to access the care and resources they deserve. Constituent service is the top priority for our office and I am proud of the work we do every day to help individuals and families in our community.

MSNBC: What’s one piece of advice you would give to young women looking to pursue a career in politics today?

Sinema: I have two pieces of advice! First, don’t listen to the people who tell you can’t or you shouldn’t follow your dreams. You can be anything — and everything — you want to be. So ignore the haters and go do what you love. Second, learn everything you can. Take every opportunity to further your education through formal (college) and less formal (internships, mentors) methods. Fill your toolbox with every tool you can, and know that it’ll all help you be better at every endeavor in life. There’s no such thing as too much learning. Be greedy about learning!

MSNBC: Which women in politics inspire you?

Sinema: I am lucky to work with many incredible women who inspire me. I’ve always admired Sandra Day O’Connor, former Arizona state senator and first female Supreme Court justice. She’s a tough, smart woman. I served in the Arizona Legislature with Gabby Giffords; she gave me good advice in my early years in politics and she inspires me to be stronger every day. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard are two dear friends that I’m lucky to serve with in Congress. They’re strong and smart and never give up.

MSNBC: How will you address unequal pay for working women?

Sinema: Women are the primary source of income for nearly half of American households. We must eliminate income inequality to protect and preserve the middle class in our country. I sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work. It’s a common sense bill that’s way overdue.

For the complete interview, visit msnbc.com/msnbc/women-candidates-watch-2014-kyrsten-sinema.