A crowded field gets ready to battle in the Aug. 4 primary election.
While other congressional races have little competition, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary election will have three Democrat candidates for the 8th Congressional District.
Rep. Debbie Lesko was the only Republican to file in District 8, which includes parts of Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Waddell, Glendale and Peoria.
The three Democrats on the primary ballot for the 8th Congressional District: Michael Muscato of Peoria, Bob Musselwhite of Litchfield Park and Bob Olsen of Surprise.
Kyle Martin of Glendale filed as a write-in candidate.
The West Valley View emailed the candidates questions about their backgrounds, priorities and styles.
Here are the answers of those who responded:
Please briefly describe your background including any relevant education and work history.
Debbie Lesko: I have served as the U.S. congresswoman for Arizona’s Congressional District 8 for over two years. I serve on the Rules, Judiciary and Homeland Security committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Michael Muscato: I’m born and raised here in CD8. I attended Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale and Glendale Community College, where I was drafted to play professional baseball by the New York Yankees. I played a few seasons of professional baseball and hold a bachelor’s degree. For the past decade I have held a professional career as a director and crew chief in the entertainment industry overseeing multimillion-dollar entertainment projects working alongside major music artists on their world concert tours. I have also owned a small business here in Glendale for the past almost eight years.
Bob Musselwhite: B.A. Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Masters in Public Administration, West Virginia University, Morgantown. County administrator, Upshur County, West Virginia. Town administrator, Biltmore Forest, North Carolina. City manager, Litchfield Park. Hold airline transport pilot rating. Chief Pilot for a small company in the southeast working in the forest industry. High school social studies teacher Glendale Union High School District for 14 years.
Bob Olsen: I’ve spent my entire adult life serving the public. Coming from a blue collar family of mostly loggers and longshoremen, I am the first in my family to graduate college, ultimately earning a law degree. I’ve held several overlapping positions throughout my professional career. I am a retired military veteran with 10 years active duty and 22 years in the Reserve, recalled to active duty twice following 9/11. I retired as a fire captain/training officer after more than 20 years and was heavily involved in labor issues for 25-plus years as a union vice president, negotiator and shop steward.
I continue to serve my community here in Arizona on the volunteer Sun City West Posse as a dispatcher and patrol officer.
My education includes a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia College and a juris doctorate from Northwest School of Law.
I’ve been married to my wife, Linda, for nearly 32 years. We have two beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and I am very proud of all of them.
What neighborhood do you live in and for how long have you lived there?
Bob Musselwhite: I have lived in Litchfield Park in the same house for 30 years.
Michael Muscato: I’m born and raised here in this district. I live in Peoria.
Bob Olsen: Sun City West for four years.
Debbie Lesko: I live in Peoria west of 67th Avenue between Cactus and Thunderbird roads for the last eight years.
What are the three biggest issues of this local election?
Bob Musselwhite: I think people are very concerned that we have governments that are not in touch with the needs of the people because our government is in someone’s pocket. There is also a concern that people are in government to further their own personal interests and not the interests of those they represent. This is an opinion that is held regardless of political affiliation.
Social Security and its continuation, along with other insurance programs, such as Medicare, are a big concern. People pay into these what is in effect insurance programs for decades, and they are concerned that the benefit they paid for will be there when and after they reach retirement age.
Health care is a big concern.
Bob Olsen: COVID-19, national security and Social Security/Medicare.
Debbie Lesko: Growing jobs and our economy; providing quality education and tackling the coronavirus crisis.
Michael Muscato: The three biggest issues locally are health care, immigration reform and recovering our economy.
See additional Congress candidate questions in next week’s issue.