From a Mormon living in a gas station to the senator with Biden’s $3.5T budget in her hands: How Krysten Sinema came out as bisexual and went from being ‘too liberal to be a Democrat’ to the moderate holding ALL the cards

DailyMail.com | by Emily Goodwin | September 30, 2021

  • Democratic anger is growing with Krysten Sinema, blaming her as the sole reason for holding up Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion social agenda 
  • All eyes are turning to the 45-year-old senator, known for wearing candy-colored wigs, bright dresses, and competing in Ironmans
  • She is the first openly bisexual member of the Senate and grew up poor, living in a gas station and went to college on scholarship
  • She cultivates an independent streak in the Senate, but once considered herself too liberal to be a Democrat

Democratic anger is growing with Krysten Sinema, blaming her as the sole reason for holding up Joe Biden‘s $3.5 trillion social agenda as the party demands to know what the Arizona Democratic senator wants in exchange for her support.

‘The president keeps begging her, tell us what you want. Put a proposal forward,’ progressive Rep. Ro Khanna told CNN, adding that neither moderates nor liberals can name her demands.

All eyes are turning to the 45-year-old senator, known for wearing candy-colored wigs during the COVID pandemic because she couldn’t get her hair dyed, competing in Ironmans and touting her personal story – growing up in a gas station with conservative Mormon parents before earning her PhD and become the first openly bisexual woman to be elected to the Senate.

Sinema, a colorful presence in the Senate in her bright floral dresses and faux fur coats, is in demand even as she cultivates an independent, maverick streak in the model of John McCain, who she calls her ‘personal hero.’

She rarely attends the weekly Senate Democratic luncheon, was the only Democrat to skip Vice President Kamala Harris’ dinner for female senators, and invites Republicans to go for a run with her around the Capitol.

Biden is courting Sinema heavily, hosting her for three meetings at the White House on Tuesday and sending his legislative team to a meeting in her Capitol Hill office on Wednesday.

‘She’s smart as hell and she has a plan,’ Adam Kinsey, a Democratic political consultant in Arizona, told DailyMail.com.

Her intelligence and drive led her from her early life growing up in a gas station to power player on Capitol Hill.

Sinema was born in 1976 to a father who practiced law and a stay-at-home mom in Tuscon, Arizona.

After her parents divorced in 1983, her mother remarried and took Sinema and the two other children to Florida, and it was there that she lived in an abandoned gas station from the ages of eight to 11 after her stepfather lost his job. 

Sinema has told her personal story many times in the state, including to the Arizona Republic, saying she didn’t have electricity and running water and that her mom relied on food stamps along with help from the Mormon church.

Her family eventually was able to recover economically but she said the experience taught her the value of hard work. Highly intelligence, Sinema began taking college courses at 14 and she finished high school a year early at 16.

Her teachers and classmates described her as ‘driven.’ She dotted the ‘i’ in her name with a star when she signed her yearbook.

In two years she obtained a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, which she attended on scholarship. 

She left the Mormon Church and doesn’t follow any particular religion. She was sworn into Congress on a copy of the Constitution. 

She first ran for office as independent Green Party candidate for the Arizona House. When that race failed she registered a Democrat and her career was off and running.

It was in the statehouse that she made her first public comment about being bisexual, when a state Republican lawmaker insulted members of the LGBT community.

She said: ‘We’re simply people like everyone else who want and deserve respect.’

When questioned by reporters as to what she meant by ‘we,’ she replied: ‘Duh, I’m bisexual.’

When the 9th Congressional District was created after the 2010 Census, Sinema ran for the Phoenix-area seat as a centrist and won the 2012 election.

In the 2018 election, she became the first woman elected to represent Arizona in the Senate.

Her political evolution has become a point of contention among Democrats, particularly liberals who wonder how she went from a fire thrower in a pink tutu to co-sponsoring legislation with Senator Ted Cruz.

But she shrugs it off.

‘Everyone knows that I am very independent-minded,’ she told Politico soon after her election to the Senate. ‘And that it’s not super useful to try and convince me otherwise.’

Sinema shifted from a liberal anti-war activist to a Democratic moderate who gave President Donald Trump a standing ovation during his 2020 State of the Union address when he praised Republican Senator Tim Scott’s work on opportunity zones.

Now she’s front and center during another president’s legislative battles.

Sinema has told Biden that she can’t support the $3.5 trillion price tag but she also hasn’t given a number she can get behind.

The White House has expressed confidence they’ll lock down her vote. Asked on Wednesday if Sinema wants to make a deal, press secretary Jen Psaki responded: ‘Our sense is that she does.’ 

But Sinema’s stance has confused many Democrats, who wonder about her motivations. 

Sinema represents Arizona, a state that Biden won in the 2020 election and elected a second Democratic senator. She’ll share a ballot with him when she’s up for re-election in 2024.

She is becoming a focus of anger, even edging out her more famous moderate colleague, Joe Manchin, as a target of liberal ire.

Liberal Rep. Jamie Raskin, in complaining about Sinema, told Axios that ‘people are very understanding of Sen. Manchin’s situation, because Donald Trump won his state by more than 30 points, and people appreciate the fact that he is, you know, a Democrat in a tough environment.’

But it’s not unusual for her to play her cards close to her chest. 

She rarely speaks publicly about her positions and has been described as an ‘enimga.’

She is, however, carving out a role as a deal-maker role in the Senate where she helped craft a $1.1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed there this year. 

She’s also a vocal defender of the 60-vote threshold required for most legislation to move forward in the Senate known as the legislative filibuster.  

Independent voters in Arizona value her actions.

‘Independence is political capitol in a place like Arizona,’ Kinsey noted.

But the Arizona state Democratic Party on Saturday overwhelmingly passed a resolution that criticized her for that stance and for not supporting the president’s agenda.

The resolution warned the party will and ‘give Senate Sinema a vote of NO CONFIDENCE’ if she doesn’t support Biden’s measure.

Meanwhile, liberal activists in Arizona have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a potential 2024 primary challenger.

‘It’s time to send a message that she can’t ignore,’ the page reads. ‘Either Senator Sinema votes to end or reform the Jim Crow filibuster this year or we fund a primary challenge to replace her with someone who will.’

Source: Krysten Sinema holds all the cards for Biden’s $3.5 trillion agenda | Daily Mail Online

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