Mark Kelly Wins Arizona Senate Seat


Former NASA astronaut, Navy captain, and West Orange native Mark Kelly won a senate seat in Arizona on Nov 3 in the state’s special election. The Democrat Kelly defeated Republican incumbent Martha McSally by a tally of 52.6% of votes to 47.4% of votes, according to the Arizona Secretary of State. 

“I am deeply honored that Arizonans have trusted me to be their next United States Senator and to serve in this seat once held by Senator John McCain,” Kelly said in a series of tweets. 

Kelly flew combat missions as a US Naval pilot during the Gulf War before being chosen as a NASA pilot in 1996. As an astronaut for NASA, Kelly flew four shuttle missions between 2001 and 2011 before retiring after the final mission. 

In addition to his career as a pilot for both the US Navy and NASA, Kelly is a former West Orange resident and student. He attended Pleasantdale Elementary School, which is now called Kelly Elementary School after him and his brother Scott. He graduated from Mountain High School, which is now Seton Hall Prep, in 1982. He is also a former West Orange First Aid Squad Volunteer. In 2017, he returned to Kelly Elementary to speak to the students during an assembly. 

Kelly is married to former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Giffords represented Arizona’s 8th congressional district from January 2007 until January 2012. She resigned from her position after suffering a severe brain injury from a gunshot wound in an assassination attempt. As a result, she and Kelly have been very outspoken on the issue of gun control, including starting Americans For Responsible Solutions (ARS) in 2013 to promote gun control legislation across the country. In 2016, ARS merged with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence to become a big research organization called Giffords. 

Mark Kelly plans on tackling many key issues during his term as Arizona senator. He wants to abolish the tax break for the extremely wealthy individuals and corporations, as well as make medicare more affordable and accessible to Arizonans by eliminating cuts to Medicare spending. In addition to this, he plans to contribute to education by instituting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and advanced placement classes across Arizona schools while providing more financial aid to students going to colleges and universities. He also plans on continuing his advocacy for gun control through his and his wife’s organization, Giffords, while in office.