Jesse Kelly on War, Health Care Reform, Federal Spending and the Rosemont Mine

Republican Jesse Kelly on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords opposition to the Rosemont Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains: Why does a congresswoman care about what’s going on there when the local politicians and local officials can handle that? Why is she sticking her nose in that, when we have all the business in the world to take care of right now with the government, and she cares about a copper mine in Southern Arizona?
  • Republican Jesse Kelly on Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's opposition to the Rosemont Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains: "Why does a congresswoman care about what’s going on there when the local politicians and local officials can handle that? Why is she sticking her nose in that, when we have all the business in the world to take care of right now with the government, and she cares about a copper mine in Southern Arizona?"
My story this week, "The Latas Paradox," profiles Jesse Kelly, who wants a shot at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. I note that he may find tough competition in a GOP primary from state Sen. Jonathan Paton, who is considering his own run in Congressional District 8.

Here's a recent Q&A with Kelly, edited to clean up language and redundancies.

Who is Jesse Kelly?

I’m just a normal guy. I’m a Marine Corps vet, a businessman, I manage construction projects here in town for the family business, Don Kelly Construction.
Married, young son. Love my family, love my life, love my country, and that’s just about it. I’m a normal guy. A simple guy.

How’d you end up in Tucson?

When I got out of the Marine Corps in August of ’04, my folks had started a construction business in 2000. And they moved it down here because the ground’s frozen for six months of the year in Montana. And the family business was what I wanted to do. I love being a businessman and this is where it was, and I love the weather. After so much time in the desert with the Marines, I didn’t ever want to go back to the snow, so here I am.

So you grew up in Montana?

Born in Ohio and moved to Montana when I was 10 years old. They packed us up and moved us West. So I guess you could say I grew up in Montana.

What inspired you to go into the Marine Corps?

I just think that this is the greatest country in the world. I just think that it is. And I wanted to better myself. When I got out of high school, I went to a year at Montana State University and I hated it. Just absolutely hated it. I had a lot of growing up I needed to do, in my mind at least and I’m sure in plenty of other people’s minds as well. And I loved my country and there’s nothing that can grow you up faster than the Marine Corps. It just teaches you a lot about life and you have to grow up there. That was the direction I was going and I never considered any other service or doing anything else other than infantry in the Marine Corps. I was a recruiter’s dream, I guess. I walked in and said, “Sign me up.”

So you went to school for a year before that? What were you studying?

It was general studies, and not studying much. I was not ready for—I hated it. Absolutely hated it.

Why did you hate it?

I don’t know. Probably immaturity, to be