The Bernie Sanders of Tucson: Running ‘Clean’ vs Running ‘Dirty’ (video)

Pamela Powers Hannley

I am the Bernie Sanders of Tucson… with Hillary Clinton’s gender issues.

Like Bernie...

I have not taken any funds from Political Action Committees (PACs), dark money donors, or Super PACs. Fifty-eight percent of my seed money donations were $25 or less.

I am standing up against Wall Street domination of our economic system and offering ideas for change that will diversify our economy, help local businesses, create new jobs, and build infrastructure without creating new debt.

I am standing up against sales taxes on the poor and the middle class while our state is giving away $4 billion a year in tax cuts for the rich.

I am standing up for affordable student loans and free community college.

I am standing up for equality.

I am fighting for workers and families… not big corporations and big-money donors.

In Contrast…

I am running a progressive campaign against two privately-funded establishment Democrats. The two men in this race have been endorsed by the Tucson Chamber of Commerce and multiple PACs.

What’s wrong with that you ask?

The Chamber of Commerce is actively campaigning against three popular citizens initiatives: raising the minimum wage. legalizing recreational use of marijuana, and protecting the Clean Elections process. A group that tries to thwart the will of the people is not a group I want to be associated with.

Arizona workers don’t make enough money, and for women and people of color, the situation is even worse. In Tucson, the median wage for women is $10.75 per hour. If we raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour, 75% of the women in Tucson would get a raise! When I heard that the Chamber of Commerce was going to stonewall the minimum wage initiative on the November ballot, I wrote to them and declined to answer their endorsement questions.

Overall, the Chamber questions were so leading that the “right” answers were obvious. For example… here are just a few of the 33 questions on the Arizona Chamber of Commerce questionnaire:

  • Do you support lowering, in a fiscally responsible manner, the following taxes on business: personal income tax, corporate income tax, business personal property tax, commercial property tax or insurance premium tax? [Keep in mind that Arizona is already giving away $4 billion per year in corporate tax cuts, which are scheduled to continue to increase every year through 2019. Corporate welfare in Arizona is breaking the government by starving it.]
  • Do you believe employers should have the right to set hiring, compensation and leave polities without government guidelines? [A direct hit to paid leave and minimum wage laws.]
  • Do you believe employers should have the right to maintain drug and alcohol testing policies?
  • Do you believe employers should have the right to operate without government intrusion into their internal policies and private property rights?
  • Do you believe employers should have the right to maintain the ability to protect corporate assets?
  • What is your view of the current regulatory environment for business?
  • Should Arizona’s environmental standards be more stringent than federal standards?
  • There are a number of policy areas that are of statewide concern, and the policy should therefore be determined by the state legislature (e.g., wages, sick leave, etc.). Where cities have decided to engage in these policy areas, do you support efforts by the Legislature to preempt cities from adopting local ordinances regarding these policy areas?
  • Do you support the right of a worker to a private ballot for union organizing campaigns?
  • Do you support the right of a union member to expressly decide whether his or her union dues are used for political purposes?
  • Do you support Arizona’s right-to-work status?
  • Do you support more market oriented solutions to address the current challengers (sic) to our health care delivery systems? [“Market oriented solutions” is code for going back to the unaffordable pre-Obamacare health insurance system.]
  • Do you support the business community participating in the political process? [!!!!]
  • Do you support the state’s system of public campaign financing known as Clean Elections?

Some PACs have published the endorsed candidates’ answers to their questionnaires online, but I couldn’t find any candidate answers on the Chamber’s website. As an Arizona voter, I want to read the answers that every Chamber-endorsed candidate gave.

Also like Bernie…

Win or lose in next Tuesday, I have pushed the political conversation to the left in Tucson. By going bold with my progressive platform, I have forced other candidates to talk about issues that they would rather avoid.

A year ago when I started campaigning…

  • No one else was talking about wasteful government spending on corporate welfare  tax cuts ($4 billion/year), tax credits to big businesses (~$200 million per year), unnecessary lawsuits, or interest on debt to Wall Street ($312 million per year).
  • No one else was talking about sustainable and diversified economic development and job creation through public banking and low-cost loans– rather than the failed system of “luring” businesses and sports teams with taxpayer-funded giveaways.
  • No one else was talking about equality and paycheck fairness for women and minorities, including the LGBT community.
  • No one else was talking about the failed War on Drugs, shifting our focus to opiates and other drugs that kill and addict our citizens, and stopping the discriminatory over-policing of marijuana use.Truth be told… I am still the only candidate talking about the scourge of opiate addiction and sustainable economic development.
    [NOTE regarding the title: Progressives often label candidates who have privately funded campaigns as “running dirty”, as opposed to “running Clean”, with Clean Elections funds.]