Sinema: 'Keep telling me what you think. I appreciate it'

Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaPence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin Schumer eyeing Build Back Better vote as soon as week of Dec. 13 Bottom line MORE (D-Ariz.) in a rare interview appeared to address the frustrations that grew among Democrats toward her during negotiations for the party's social spending package, which the House passed Friday.

Speaking to ABC15 Arizona's politics reporter Mark Phillips, Sinema maintained a triumphant tone and expressed pride in the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill she helped to put together. The Arizona senator also said she was now focused on managing the implementation of the bill.

Phillips noted that Sinema suffered some damage to her reputation over the course of the infrastructure bill's passage. Many congressional Democrats, especially progressive lawmakers, expressed frustration over Sinema's lack of communication regarding her approach to the massive pieces of legislation.


"You know, when I first was elected to head to Washington, D.C., and represent Arizona about nine years ago, I promised to be a workhorse, not a show horse. That's exactly what I've done over these last nine years," Sinema said, saying she worked to build trust with others in Congress. 

Phillips also pointed out that there was particular discontent among young Arizona progressives with Sinema's actions in Congress and asked how she would respond to them.

"Well, first, I want to say that I appreciate the First Amendment," Sinema said. "So I appreciate when folks are willing to tell me they agree with me or disagree with me. If they want to protest, if they want to offer things, all of that as welcome."

"So I guess my message to folks would be keep telling me what you think. I appreciate it. And I'm going to keep doing the work and delivering results for Arizonans," she said.

Sinema told Phillips that she doesn't pay "any attention" to national media and does not "bend to political pressure from any party or any group."

The House passed the Build Back Better Act on Friday, and Phillips asked Sinema whether she felt Democrats had moved too quickly in passing it.

"I'm not really concerned about what the House is doing because luckily my job now is to serve Arizona in the United States Senate," she said.

Senators are expected to pick up the bill after returning from the Thanksgiving recess.