Tommy Espinoza is one of a select group of individuals who were chosen to speak at the late Senator John McCain’s memorial service on Thursday, August 29.
Espinoza is a businessman and activist in the Phoenix area. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Espinoza Is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Raza Development Fund Inc
According to the ceremony details on McCain’s official site, Espinoza is the president and Chief Executive Officer of the Raza Development Fund Inc. Formerly, he worked as the president and executive director of Chicanos Por La Causa.
Espinoza is listed as a “friend” of McCain’s. They have been friends for over 30 years, according to NBC News, and met for the first time at a Washington, D.C. dinner.
Espinoza said of the first time they met, “The whole evening, we just started talking about a variety of different things. But what sticks out in my mind is I asked John, I said look ‘I suspect you’ve been asked this question before, I said, but how did you manage to survive your captivity in the prisoner of war camp? What was it that kept you together?’ and he kind of looked at me and goes ‘You know, I’ve never been asked that question. Everybody always asks me how they treated me and of course they did treat me very well, right? So, he said ‘first of all, it was my belief in God, my family and my country. I knew those pieces would in effect bring me back home.’ And that stuck with me… he’s also a man of faith and obviously a man that does really trust our country.”
2. Espinoza Is the God-father of McCain’s Son, Jimmy
According to NBC, Espinoza is the god-father of McCain’s son, Jimmy McCain, and he introduced McCain as his “compadre” when McCain was running for president.
Espinoza said of the honor of being Jimmy McCain’s godfather, “When Jimmy was born to Cindy and to John, I was honored by John McCain asking me to sit in and be part of baptizing Jimmy, which was a little bit of humor in John. I said ‘John, you know, I’m a Catholic. So, I’m not sure that’s helpful to you, he says. ‘Don’t worry about it that!’ Typical John McCain… I say “Okay. Let’s do it!’”
3. Espinoza Is a Democrat, & Has Opposed McCain on Several Issues, Especially Those Related to Immigration
McCain was a conservative Republican, and Espinoza is a Democrat. Of their differences politically, Espinoza said, “There were some positions he didn’t like obviously that I would stand on… at moments of elections, especially, John had to be conservative republican that everyone wants to BE elected in Arizona, so there were certain times that he took positions that were very difficult for me to swallow, but yet I had the high respect for him knowing that even as he got elected.. That the Senator would be there for our community.”
4. The Ceremony Will Take Place on Thursday, August 30, at 10 AM, PDT
According to John McCain’s official site detailing the ceremony schedule, the Arizona-based memorial service will take place at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona.
The site reads, “Senator McCain’s family and friends, along with state, local and tribal officials, and business and civic leaders from across Arizona have been invited to attend the service. In addition, about 1,000 seats have been made available to the public.”
5. Espinoza Is Set to Be One of Four Men Who Give a ‘Tribute’ During the Service
Espinoza is set to be the second of four men to deliver a “tribute” address regarding McCain. He will follow Grant Woods, the Arizona Attorney General, and will be followed by Arizona Caridinals player Larry Fitzgerald, Jr., and former Vice President Joe Biden.