Daniel Hernandez enters growing Democratic field for Tucson-area congressional seat

State Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson/Submitted photo

By Ronald J. Hansen | Arizona Republic

State Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson, is running for Congress in the open race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz.

State Rep. Daniel Hernandez, who helped save the life of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords moments after she was shot a decade ago, is running for Congress in the Tucson area she once represented.

Hernandez is making official his bid to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., on Thursday, becoming the third member of the Arizona Legislature to enter the Democratic field.

Hernandez, 31, joins state Rep. Randy Friese, D-Tucson, a trauma surgeon who helped treat Giffords’ head injuries, and state Sen. Kirsten Engel, D-Tucson, who teaches environmental law, in a race for Arizona’s only current congressional vacancy.

Hernandez emphasized the need for improved access to health care as the central issue in the race. He said he helped secure $3 million for Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital in Green Valley during the pandemic last year in what he pointed to as a sign of his ability to work productively with Republicans in a “very difficult Legislature.” 

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