I live in downtown Nogales and am frequently amazed at our Ambos Nogales community. The legacy of family, faith and service is evidenced by the recent Veterans Day parade and Día de Los Muertos events. The care in the public altars and celebrations of past family lives is always heartwarming and gracious.

On Friday, Nov. 12, the story of our community once again became the subject of scare tactics and fear.

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission held a virtual public hearing regarding the proposed congressional and legislative district boundaries. Over 100 people were in attendance, many of them in Pima County, who no doubt periodically visit our greater community to enjoy wine, arts and cultural events, or purchase prescription drugs in Mexico, and so much more.

The last speaker, Steve McEwen, resident of Rio Rico and chairman of the Republican Party of Santa Cruz County, said that “By overwhelming consensus, I’ve been asked to speak for the conservative citizens of Santa Cruz County.” When he wrapped up his remarks, he said the following: “As with our culture on the border, our issues here are ours to manage and suffer with. It is our fences that are being torn down, our mines that are being sequestered by special interest groups, our families that are being forced into drug trafficking, our women and children that are being stolen and sold in human trafficking, and our schools and hospitals that are being overburdened with non-taxpaying people when they come here illegally.”

I am not entirely clear where Mr. McEwen receives his news, but I find this picture disturbing for the realtors, tourism entities, small businesses in the wine and brewing community, state park rangers, economic development professionals, faith-based leaders, educators, law enforcement and others sharing a different story.

South32 seems to be doing fine. though yes, there are the special interests groups concerned about clean and sustainable water usage for our greater community. But they are not sequestering them.

Perhaps a fact-based conversation would be useful and helpful rather than scaring folks into not investing or visiting our community

I am sharing a different story of our international community with the world by hosting others so they can appreciate the culture, contribute to the local economy, and be inspired that we preserve the generational traditions found here and keep family legacies alive.

Mary Darling


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