Gov. Doug Ducey has picked Sen. Jon Kyl to replace Sen. John McCain, AZ Central reported. In Arizona, vacancies are filled by governor appointment rather than a special election. But is Kyl a Republican or a Democrat? Is he conservative or liberal? Read on to learn more about Kyl, who previously served in the Senate from 1995 to 2013.
In Arizona, the replacement must be from the same political party as the vacating Senator. So McCain’s replacement must also be a Republican. Sen. Jon Kyl is not only a Republican, but he was once the Senate Minority Whip, which was the second-highest position in the Republican Senate.
Kyl has a strong background. Time named him one of America’s Ten Best Senators in 2006. He’s also very conservative. In 2007, the National Journal ranked Kyl as the fourth-most conservative U.S. Senator. He retired in 2013 and said he would not run again, unless he was running for the Vice Presidency. But now he has returned to take McCain’s seat.
Despite being a conservative Republican, Kyl — much like McCain — has not been particularly fond of President Donald Trump. When interviewed by KJZZ, Kyl said about Trump: “I don’t like his style. I think it is boorish. I think he’s own worst enemy. He could be much more effective if he were more politique, more diplomatic — of course that’s one of the things that people like about him — the fact that he isn’t that way. But I think there’s a happy medium.”
McCain said in 2014 that Kyl was liked by both Democrats and Republicans, AZ Central reported. “He is respected by one and all, Republican and Democrat. I wish I were as good a public servant as Jon Kyl. I think he’s a wonderful man.”
Here are some of Kyl’s stances on issues, to give you an idea of just how far he leans in the spectrum of conservative vs. liberal:
In terms of healthcare: in 2009, Kyl voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and in 2010 he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
Kyl was a sponsor, with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would protect crime victims’ rights. After this was clearly not going to pass, he helped author the Crime Victims’ Rights Act in 2004, which involved federal criminal cases. It includes the right to timely notice of court proceedings, the right not be excluded from public court proceedings, the right to full restitution under the law, and to be free from unreasonable delay, and to meet with the attorney for the Government in the case related to them.
Regarding abortions: in 2011, Kyl took to the Senate floor and said that abortions accounted for over 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s action, which Planned Parenthood later refuted, saying only 3 precent of their services were related to abortion. Politifact said that Planned Parenthood’s percentage was self-reported and couldn’t be confirmed with an audit, but Kyl’s number also seemed exaggerated.
However, Kyl has also said that he never voted to make abortion illegal. In 2006, he said: “Some of his ads are downright false, distortions even according to the Arizona print media. In one ad he suggests I want to make it a crime for women to have an abortion. I don’t. I never did. There’s never been a bill in the Congress to do that. Why would you take such a sensitive and emotional subject and put that in an ad that absolutely lies about somebody’s career?”
He did vote yes on defining an unborn child as eligible for SCHIP (child assistance), and voted yes on prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for an abortion, according to OnTheIssues.
As far as marijuana, Kyl does not appear to be a fan, at least he wasn’t in 2010. He disagreed with even the idea of allowing medical marijuana, East Valley Tribune reported. “Marijuana for medical treatment is the foot in the door for legalization,” he said during a news conference against Proposition 203, which would have allowed people with qualifying medical conditions to receive 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from licensed dispensaries. McCain also opposed the proposition in the same news conference.
As far as other civil rights questions, On the Issues reported that Kyl voted yes on a Constitutional ban on flag desecration in 2006, yes on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2006, and voted no to adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes in 2002. In 2001, he voted yes to loosening restrictions on cell phone tapping (this was just after September 11 happened), and in 2008 he wanted to amend the Constitution to define traditional marriage.
It’s not clear what his current stance on same-sex marriage is. During his farewell address in 2012, he didn’t address that specifically, but did say: “The marriage culture is fighting an uphill battle against forces that threaten to overwhelm it. I would urge everyone who believes in limited government and economic freedom and the real self-worth and well-being of our children to do their part in rebuilding the institution of marriage. No other social cause or campaign is more vital to America’s future.”
Regarding the environment, Kyl helped establish the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University, and sought to expand Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. He also was the “driving force” behind the Arizona Water Settlements Act, Our Campaigns reported. He also was the primary sponsor of a 2010 bill to prohibit the sale, distribution, advertising, marketing or exchange of animal crush videos, which depict “obscene acts of animal cruelty.” While he was a practicing attorney, Kyl specialized in water law.
This is a developing story.