Paul Babeu, the Pinal County lawman dedicated to lowering crime, fighting illegal immigration and challenging President Obama’s unconstitutional power grabs, announced Monday he is running for Congress.
The two-term sheriff will vie for the open 1st Congressional District.
“I’ve spent seven years fighting Washington’s inaction and now it’s time to bring the fight directly to our nation’s capital,” Babeu said. “I will work tirelessly to protect the residents of rural Arizona, shrink the federal government, overturn Obamacare and guard against attacks on the 2nd Amendment.”
The 1st Congressional District stretches from Flagstaff through the White Mountains and south to Pinal County and northern Pima County. The district is one of the largest in the country and encompasses rural and suburban areas plus several Native American tribes.
“The challenges facing CD1 stretch far beyond the district’s boundaries,” Babeu said. “Illegal immigration impacts us all. I’ve stood on the front lines against the drug cartels and human smuggling rings and I will bring this same tenacious work ethic to Washington, D.C.”
The issues facing CD1 are as diverse as its people and regions. Babeu said he plans to work to improve forest health, ensure that the U.S. Forest Service is acting responsibly, increase job opportunities and fight overreach by the U.S. EPA.
“I will work to ensure the EPA deals fairly with Arizona,” Babeu said. “Coal power plants provide much of the energy for rural Arizona and I will fight any misguided effort to shutter those plants and make it more expensive for residents and business to buy electricity.”
Babeu is a veteran of the Iraq War and spent 20 years in the Army National Guard, rising to the rank of major. In addition, Babeu commanded 700 troops on the Arizona-Mexico border as part of Operation Jump Start, which helped reduce illegal immigration and drug smuggling by 94 percent in the Yuma Sector.
Babeu began his law enforcement career as a City of Chandler police officer and eventually became the first Republican sheriff of Pinal County. Since taking office, Babeu’s deputies have seized more than 162,000 pounds of drugs, exposed an identity theft ring in the county recorders office and busted Superior Court personnel in a bribery scandal. Service has improved through regimented staff training and high performance standards evidenced in the national accreditation of the 1,100-inmate jail.
Babeu boasts the biggest drug bust against a Mexican drug cartel in Arizona history – nearly $3 billion worth. Recent efforts are targeting the Sinaloa Cartel scouts occupying mountaintops along the drug and human smuggling corridor in an effort to provide safe passage as they head to other parts of the country.
“Stopping the flow of drugs and smuggling rings must be a priority of law enforcement and is a defined responsibility of the federal government,” Babeu said. “Our politicians have failed us time and again when it comes to securing our southern border. I will not rest until the federal government does its job so it is not left to the local sheriffs and police departments in border states to fend for themselves.”