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1st Congressional District Profiles: Newcomer Jeffrey Brown Casts Himself as Political Progressive


By Gillian Ferris Kohl

Flagstaff, AZ – Political newcomer Jeffrey Brown says he enjoys running as the underdog in the race for Arizona's 1st Congressional District seat. Brown is running as a long-time political progressive with political experience in city, state and federal government.

Over coffee and bagels in Flagstaff, Brown laughed off public misperceptions about his background, and said it goes with the territory of being a political newcomer. But Brown said there is something he does want the public to know about him.

The voters of the 1st District will not have to worry about Jeffrey Brown being indicted on 35 felony counts, he said.

Brown was, of course, referring to the legal woes of Arizona Republican Congressman Rick Renzi, whose seat Brown is vying for. But Brown didn't dwell on the scandal. Instead, Brown talked about renewable energy, an issue most candidates in the district have voiced their support for.

"We have an incredible opportunity in this district to be the solar and wind capitol of the country," Brown said.

"We're sitting out here on a beautiful summer afternoon, the sun's shining, the wind's blowing, and there's no reason we shouldn't be harnessing that energy in order to get off the oil. This district, in my opinion, is specifically suited to do that," Brown added.

As a college student at Arizona State University, Brown interned for then-Senator Dennis DeConcini. Brown also worked on two presidential campaigns, with John Kerry in 2004, and in 2008 with Dennis Kucinich. Brown's campaign platform focuses mainly on benefits and rights for the working class.

"I think over the last eight years we've had a very significant effort by the administration to only look out for that top 1 percent, and I'm fighting for the average guy," Brown said.

Brown has never held political office. His mother is his campaign manager. Most of the $3,000 he's raised is from cash advances on his mother's personal credit cards and small donations from neighbors.

Brown seeks to be very approachable, and he is not guarded about how some of his political opinions have taken shape.

"My grandfather was killed in a hunting accident when my dad was 10 years old, so we've never been a gun family. That being said, I fully support the Supreme Court's decision [to strike down certain gun prohibitions], but I think there has to be a responsibility in gun ownership as well," Brown said.

Brown knows he's a long-shot in the 1st Congressional District, but he said that if he wins, it's not something he would take lightly. He also said it would be the best paying job he's ever had.