Written by Mallory Kvek
Delina DiSanto is running for U.S. House to represent Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District.
The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress. The House is composed of representatives from each of the U.S.’s congressional districts from all 50 states. The number of congressional districts in each state vary and is determined by population as measured by the U.S. Census. For each congressional district, each state is allotted one representative. Arizona has 9 congressional districts.
The House and the Senate have oversight of the budget, but all revenue-related bills must originate in the House. The House passes federal legislation, known as bills, which after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the president for consideration. The House also initiates all revenue bills, impeaches federal officers, and elects the president if no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes. The House has 20 committees within it, and has it’s own officers elected by House members.
Delina DiSanto was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. She was the 6th out of 7 children, raised on democratic and strong American values by her hardworking, independent mother and Irish immigrant grandmother. Growing up, Delina adopted values of meaningful relationships, honesty, earned trust, accountability and a strong work ethic from the strong women in her household.
Delina and her family moved to Durango, Colorado in the early 1990’s. It was there that she started a construction business, DiSanto Builders, with her husband and became active in politics. Her political mentor for many years, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who is a Republican, taught her the value of working on both sides of the aisle, coming up with sensible compromises and looking at legislation through the eyes of a constituent. When working for Senator Campbell, Delina reviewed legislation, offered advice, spoke at engagements on his behalf, and advocated for water rights in Colorado. They didn’t always see eye to eye, but that is what made their team work for all people in Colorado.
Delina is a Registered Nurse, graduating from ASU Cum Laude, and has also served as the Financial Director in several hospitals. While in this role, she saw the financial burden that healthcare costs are to families; from tearing families apart to witnessing people die from cancer because they cannot afford the treatments. Healthcare is Delina’s passion, she believes affordable healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and will advocate for what people need and deserve.
Delina lives in a small community north of Cave Creek with her husband, Dave, her dog, Archie, and her cat, Simba. Delina and Dave have two children, David and Dakota, who also reside in Arizona.
I had the honor of speaking with Delina and learned about what drives her to run for office, her views on the current issues Arizonans face, and her vision for Arizona and CD4.
How can we flatten the curve of the Covid-19 pandemic in Arizona?
We should have had a national response to the mask issue, so there would be no confusion on each state level. Then Gov. Ducey should have mandated full state mask wearing, because now we have county by county confusion and anger. As a nurse, I understand the importance of mask wearing.
How has the pandemic affected the education system, and what is your plan to overcome that as well as support working families now faced with homeschooling their children?
I want to see full federal funding be restored for public school education. I have talked with several working families who are struggling to find someone to care and home school their children and are very frustrated. Some are afraid to send their children to school, as they have elderly parents at home. We need enough resources to be able to have less children in each class, more teachers, PPE, cleaning techs, and school nurses, so the environment is safe for everyone.
What areas of our healthcare system would you work to improve to better support Arizonans if elected?
We must have an affordable healthcare plan to help those who cannot afford the marketplace or private insurance premiums. They must be able to choose a Medicare plan. This would help Americans and also help healthcare providers. When someone has COVID19 and has to go into a hospital, the costs can go as high as $100,000 or more. If they do not have insurance, they will go bankrupt, lose their home, their car, their job. Even if they only have minor symptoms, it can still cost for OTC medications and doctor bills.
In the past, Arizona has voted against adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. How do you plan to advance the protection of women’s rights?
We must have the Equal Rights Amendment passed. We have had 3/4 of the states approve this amendment and so we should have a constitutional amendment. The next step is to have congress pass legislation or resolution that the 1982 deadline date to have this done is basically unconstitutional. Women’s rights and women’s choice must be protected.
How do you view social justice inequality in Arizona, and what is your plan to mend our broken system?
Everyone should have equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. The only way to have Social Justice for all, is to bring black, brown, Asian community leaders and those who have been abused by racial injustice, along with politicians to the table. There must be new policies and procedures set for police, city/county/state courts, small and large businesses, banks, and more. From those policies agreed upon, we then must pass legislation that ties to the Civil Rights bill. We can open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need.
If elected, what is your #1 priority to address?
My #1 priority is affordable healthcare. I want to have a Medicare plan that people can choose from. Medicare premiums are much more affordable and majority of doctors accept it. We must have a healthy nation, especially during COVID19 and more virus strains to come. If we have a healthy nation, we have a strong economic nation.
What motivates you to run for office?
What motivated me to run was watching Rep. Gosar cater to the energy companies, voting against legislation that would help his constituents and promote conspiracy theories, hate, and anger on social media. I have spoken to many voters across Congressional District 4, especially in the rural areas, and they are struggling. Especially now with this virus. They were paycheck to paycheck and now not getting a paycheck. I cannot sit back and allow this suffering, fear and anger to continue. Medicare and Social Security, Healthcare, Education, Veterans, our military, Native American rights, women’s rights, Social Justice issues and more are issues Gosar has voted against. I won’t stand for it.
Who has influenced you the most in your life, and why?
I would have to say my single mother, along with my grandmother. They taught me that those who are suffering, need a hand-up, not a hand-out. They taught me to always have dignity in times of hardship and good times. They taught me to respect all human beings, their culture and beliefs. I heard all my life, “don’t judge unless you walked a mile in their shoes”. My mom worked 3 jobs for many years, until she found one good paying job. She showed me strength and honor in work, but I also saw her struggles caring for children, putting a roof over our heads, car payments, and putting food on the table.
What would you like to be known for in the history books?
I would like to be known for knowing the struggles people face and that I fought for them to find solutions. I believe our nation is stronger when we work together to find solutions. I care about people’s health, their safety, our children’s future, and our nation’s future.
What is your vision for Arizona and for Congressional District 4?
My vision for CD4 is to have affordable healthcare for everyone, protecting our environment and water, bringing clean-technology jobs into the district, giving incentives and grants to small businesses to grow, ensuring we have a strong agriculture community and ensuring our children get the resources needed to compete in this global economy and have a strong nation.
Given the state of the country, what would you tell teenagers and young adults who are coming to age during President Trump’s 4 years in office?
I have talked with some teenagers and have heard several topics like: “We are a land of immigrants, why can’t we make it easier for them to come in?” “Trump is destroying our climate because he reversed Obama’s environmental laws.” (I explained they were executive orders). “Trump is not going to take our guns.” (Note this was a young boy about 14). “Trump is rich and he will make our economy better and bring better paying jobs for my mom and dad.” There are a few more, but I think most of their information comes from social media and Google. I usually let the teenagers/young adults express their feelings. I try to not get into a position, where I “tell” them about Trump, because it will come from my point of view. What I normally try to do is ask them more questions or ask them to look up certain legislation or what do they think will be the outcome, not just for them but for all affected/involved. We have to engage them and let them know where to look or how to look for further information. Example: for the first one, I asked them to look at the Kennedy-McCain Immigraton bill. I also asked them if terrorist learned spanish and was able to sneak into United States, how do we handle that? They said arrest them. Many teenagers think it’s that easy. So we need to help educate our teenagers and be truthful. I want teenagers to look at both sides and the consequences to humans, environment, communities, and economies. I do say that I disagree with Trump on many issues and that he is fueling hate and divisiveness, but only after they ask me and usually toward the end of our conversation.