Constituents happy with decision show up at Flake's office - Tucson News Now

Constituents happy with decision show up at Flake's office

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. (Source: United States Senate) Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. (Source: United States Senate)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

There were two types of people who showed up to Senator Jeff Flake's Tucson office on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 24, when our Tucson News Now cameras were there: The happy person, and the happy person.

"I'm very, very proud of both of our Senators right now for standing up and saying, 'Wait! No more! We can't just play this because I've got an (R) next to my name and he has an (R) next to his, that that's how I'm going to go,'" said MaryEllen Landen.

Landen, a registered Independent voter who lives in far northern Pima County, drove about 20 minutes out of her way just to tell the Senator's office 'good job.'

"Yeah. I thought it was important enough. He spends half his life in Washington. I can tell him when I think he does something right. Because I definitely call when I'm not happy with him," she said.

It was the sentiment that seeped through from many, like Landen, who didn't vote for Sen. Flake. She proudly watched him give an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, as he challenged President Donald Trump and his own party’s leadership.

Landen applauded "the fact that he finally broke rank."

The speech has people in southern Arizona sounding off. They reacted after their one-term Senator announced Tuesday that he would not seek reelection of his seat in 2018.

"We must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared values, comity and good faith. We must argue our positions fervently, and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man, and always look for the good. Until that day comes, we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it. Because it does," Sen. Flake said on the Senate floor in Washington, D.C.. "I plan to spend the remaining fourteen months of my Senate term doing just that."

While Sen. Flake was in the nation's capital, his staff in Tucson was working in their northwest side office. They told Tucson News Now they could not comment on their boss' announcement without his D.C. staff's approval.

But Sen. Flake's constituents weren't off limits.

"I found (the speech) to be rather goody two-shoes; rather holier-than-thou. And then to try and blame it on the President. My God. That poor guy's got enough on his shoulders without everybody trying to jump on it, too," said Lance Ransom.

Ransom, a registered Republican who voted for Flake in the last election, proved to be equally as ecstatic as Landen but for different reasons. 

He showed up to Flake's office to give the Senator's staff a piece of his mind. He was caught off guard.

"They were quite cordial, as a matter of fact. Because, well, who knows why?" he said. "I don't think they thought somebody would come in to rejoice in the fact that he's not running for office."

The announcement will open the door for a new Junior Senator in Arizona, with both Ransom and Landen worried that the childish infighting won't end with Sen. Flake's decision.

"He encapsulated, quite well, the viciousness of this Washington scene," Ransom said. "I'm an old man, and I've never seen anything like this in my country. I've never seen the likes of this."

Both felt the announcement was too little too late, wishing Sen. Flake would stay in office past 2018 and use his legislative power to fight back against the things he denounced.

"I mean, that's how it came across," she said, referencing what she perceived Flake's mindset to be. "I think all these things but I wasn't going to say a whole lot until I knew for sure I wasn't going to run."

"A fighter, he was not," said Ransom.

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