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Mr. Mitchell goes to Washington

'Father of Tempe' makes the transition to U.S. Congress

 by Matt Stone
 published on Tuesday, January 23, 2007

AROUND THE BLOCK: Harry Mitchell, left, responds to a question at a public forum night at the Tempe City Council Chambers in 2004./issues/news/699346
Kelley Karnes / THE STATE PRESS
AROUND THE BLOCK: Harry Mitchell, left, responds to a question at a public forum night at the Tempe City Council Chambers in 2004.
 
FRESH FACE IN D.C.: Former Tempe senator Harry Mitchell 
announces his intentions to run for U.S. Senate in downtown Tempe in April 2006./issues/news/699346
Caitlin Coonan / THE STATE PRESS
FRESH FACE IN D.C.: Former Tempe senator Harry Mitchell announces his intentions to run for U.S. Senate in downtown Tempe in April 2006.
 
STANDING TALL: An abstract statue of Harry Mitchell is displayed near the west side of city hall in Tempe. The statue is tall enough to be seen from Mill Avenue./issues/news/699346
Lee Kauftheil / THE STATE PRESS
STANDING TALL: An abstract statue of Harry Mitchell is displayed near the west side of city hall in Tempe. The statue is tall enough to be seen from Mill Avenue.
 

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Forty-five years after graduating from ASU with a political science degree, Harry Mitchell was back at the University on Nov. 2 looking at a sea of students on Hayden Lawn.


Mitchell, 66, was about to introduce former president Bill Clinton during a rally for Democratic candidates.


"That was exciting," Mitchell said. "You couldn't even see the end of the crowd. That was pretty special."


Five days later on Nov. 7, Mitchell, sporting a maroon and gold tie, took the first steps to unseating J.D. Hayworth, the Republican incumbent who had previously held Arizona's 5th Congressional District for 12 years.


Despite a strong lead following election night, Hayworth refused to concede until all ballots were counted. Over the next week, as daily count updates came in, Mitchell held strong in his lead and did not claim victory out of respect for the system and his opponent.


Ultimately on Nov. 14, Hayworth conceded with votes still to be counted but the
In office for less than a month, Mitchell had his first floor speech Jan. 11 in support of stem cell research.


Mitchell also co-sponsored a bill last Wednesday that would cut some student loan interest rates in half.


Those issues, along with immigration and education, are some of his top priorities, Mitchell said.


As he was sworn into the U.S. House, Mitchell wore something familiar - the same maroon and gold tie he adorned on election night.


But don't tell him it's a good luck charm.


"It's just one of my favorites, that's all," Mitchell said of the tie. "I've got all kinds of ASU ties."

Reach the reporter at: matthew.g.stone@asu.edu



What he's done so far ...

First floor speech on Jan. 11 was in support of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007.

Co-sponsored College Student Relief Act, which, if passed, will cut some Stafford student loans in half over the next five years.

Co-sponsored C.L.E.A.N. Energy Act of 2007, which seeks to close loopholes for big oil companies and shift funding to clean energy.

Member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, speaking for ASU and science efforts in the state.

Member of House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Member of House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Has said illegal immigration is one of his top priorities.



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