Each election season, there is an endorsement process. Organizations, groups and causes conduct their endorsement processes differently. Some just hand out endorsements. Some require candidates to answer questions and do interviews.
Last week, the Arizona Daily Star conducted their endorsement interview with the three Legislative District 9 candidates: Democratic incumbent Reps. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley and Republican challenger Brendan Lyons. In the before times, these interviews were conducted behind closed doors with only Star personnel and candidates at the newspaper’s office. In the COVID19 era, the endorsement interview was an online forum with ~15 constituents and Star staff in the audience. Having even a handful of constituents “in the room, was a worthwhile addition. As you’ll see in the video, the people had good questions about reproductive choice, education funding and other topics.
The interview is an hour long. Pop some popcorn, pour your favorite beverage, and watch the video here. For your convenience, below are the question time stamps. (You can check out my other endorsements, honors and candidate statements here. Watch the whole collection of Star endorsement interviews here.)
4:10 – Candidates introduce themselves.
11:35 – Why did you choose to run for office?
16:05 – What do you think of the governor’s response to COVID19? Would you mandate masks statewide? What has emerged from our shared experience with COVID19 that needs to be addressed? (To clarify my mask answer, when I said, “We are beyond a mask mandate.” I meant to say: we are beyond a statewide mask mandate, given the current numbers. I support the current mask mandates, which have worked. As I emphasized during the interview, Arizona has to be careful as we open up; we don’t blow it and have a COVID19 relapse, as we did in May. Other states and countries are controlling the post-outbreak phase of COVID19 with continued masks, social distancing, and targeted control efforts in testing, contact tracing and quarantine to stop community spread when it pops up.)
24:15 – What is your reaction to the word “socialism”? Is it “pure evil”? (Audience question.)
27:30 – What is each candidate’s position on reproductive choice? (Audience question. Interesting answers! Our Republican opponent said it’s not the government’s role to tell women what to do with their bodies. The Star editors pointed out that the government does indeed tell women what to do with their bodies. When asked if abortion should be legal, he added, “It’s not the government’s role to decide if [abortion] is legal.” It was a confusing answer, except for his multiple assertions that he is “pro-life.”)
31:20 – What are pressing issues in LD9?
36:55 – What is the most important thing that each of the candidates would do to help small businesses? (Audience question.)
41:31 – What can the candidates do about the dangerous situation [in Midtown] in which people are walking in the streets after dark on streets with no lights? (Audience question.)
45:18 – How would you create the budget in this COVID19 world when revenue can be unstable? (In my opinion, COVID19 will dictate our budget priorities. I also agree with Dr. Friese when he said, “Everything should be on the table.” To me, that means Arizona’s billions of dollars in tax giveaways are on the table.)
51:10 – What are the candidates’ opinions on Red for Ed, as well as on the Invest in Ed citizens’ initiative, which will be on the ballot? (Both Democrats support Red for Ed and Invest in Ed. The Republican said education is one of his highest priorities, but “Invest in Ed is not the solution” to the funding. He wouldn’t answer the question regarding how he would fund education and if he supports raising sales tax to pay for education.)
56:55 – Closing statements.
I really appreciate this transparent endorsement process and the time and effort that the Star put into these video conferences.
Here is the article that the Star published about the LD9 race:
Two Democratic incumbents, GOP newcomer seek LD9 seats in Arizona House
The LD9 Clean Elections Debate will be September 15, 2020. The event can be watched live on the Citizens Clean Elections Commission YouTube channel, and all videos are archived there.