Eastern Arizona Courier Article by Sam Ribakoff
Arizona’s 1st Congressional District is huge, covering everything from Apache and Navajo County all the way down to parts of Maricopa and Pima counties, and, of course, Graham County. This week, District 1’s representative Congressman Tom O’Halleran visited the Gila Valley. The congressman attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the House of Hope sober living center, and took a tour around a couple of local businesses.
“It’s a great community,” Congressman O’Halleran said, adding that “the community should be proud of what it accomplished” in taking the initiative in building and starting the House of Hope.
“I’ve worked hard, as a private citizen and a congressman, for mental health issues. We need places like this throughout Arizona and throughout America,” O’Halleran said.
O’Halleran said he wanted to also meet his constituents and hear about their wants and needs and their personal issues.
“You have to talk to people impacted to really know,” he said.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, O’Halleran visited Eastern Arizona College, where he spent time answering questions from students.
The congressman then visited Gila Valley Made in downtown Safford and talked to some of the business owners there. He then took a tour of the Safford Theater.
The congressman’s itinerary was planned by both his office staff, and the Graham County Chamber of Commerce and Eastern Arizona College to highlight small businesses and local development.
“There’s a lot of speeches in D.C. about small businesses being the backbone of this country, but a lot of benefits go towards big businesses. I want him to see the small businesses and how important they are,” said Graham County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vance Bryce.
“We hope he understands the needs of the local businesses and the college,” said Keith Alexander, the assistant to the president for community relations at Eastern Arizona College, “We truly appreciate his interest.”