Nationwide and statewide, far too many women and their children are living in poverty. Those of you who follow my Legislative Updates and videos know that I have been beating the drum for improved maternal and child health and for tackling Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) like food, housing, and financial insecurity. During the pre-COVID19 pandemic, Arizona was #50 — worst in the country — for Adverse Childhood Experiences.
The Children’s Action Alliance (CAA), a watchdog group that lobbies the Legislature on behalf of children, recently published their 2020 Kids Count Book with data regarding the well-being of Arizona’s children. You can read the data book here. CAA also collects survey responses from candidates and electeds who are running for the Legislature. You can read the responses here.
Instead of hosting a giant picnic at Reid Park with games, food, and networking, the Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF) joined other groups for seven days of protests against corporate tax giveaways, gentrification, and expansion of Tucson’s Central Business District this Labor Day week.
Barrio Neighborhood Coalition activists, PALF members, Mi Familia Vota, Jobs with Justice, college students, neighbors, Catholic workers, and other progressives turned out to protest the upcoming Tucson Mayor and Council decision on Sept. 9 regarding expansion of the Central Business District (CBD) and expansion of GPLET tax giveaways in the CBD.
The first protest was at the Ward 3 office in LD9. This office is located in the Opportunity Zone that conveniently runs along the path of destruction of the Grant Road Widening Project, which has been hanging in limbo for ~30 years just like the Broadway Blvd. Widening Project. In the days of increased online commuting, why are we knocking down all of the businesses on two major arteries, forcing businesses to move or close, and then incentivizing new businesses to go there? This is the ultimate in “picking winners and losers.” How is this friendly to local businesses when government forces many of them to go out of business or forces them to hang in limbo for decades while decisions are made in endless meetings, many of which are behind closed doors?
The Labor Day protest was at the Ward 6 office also in Midtown but in LD10. Approximately, 40 people came to that protest, including former City Councilwoman and former mayoral candidate Molly McKasson. She lost the mayoral race to Republican and former Raytheon executive Bob Walkup. Years ago in the Arizona Daily Star, Molly said, “It’s too bad Tucson decided to put all of its eggs in the developers’ basket.” Ten years or more later, that statement is prophetic.
Thank you so much, LD9 voters, for making me the top vote-getter in the August 4 Primary Election, with 29,713 votes (50.7%).* Even though the LD9 House Democrats — Dr. Randy Friese and me — didn’t have a primary challenger, LD9 voters turned out the vote and heavily supported both incumbents over the General Election challenger. In November 6, 2018 election, Friese ended the night a few hundred votes ahead of me (less than 1%). This August, I’m a few hundred votes ahead of him … a statistical dead heat in both elections. Thanks for supporting both of us. I think we make a good team. Let’s do this again on November 3, 2020, LD9.
Another pleasant outcome on Tuesday was the substantial showing that both Friese and I made, compared to our Chamber-backed Republican challenger Brendan Lyons. I am currently beating Lyons by 11,608 and Friese by 822, as final votes are counted. Below is the full screen shot from the Secretary of State’s website as of today (August 11). Lyons has hired a large, out-of-state consulting firm to run his campaign to oust me from the Arizona House. In 2018, I beat my Democratic challenger by >14,000 votes and beat my Republican challenger by almost 13,000 votes. Bring it on.
Today is primary day 2020, August 4. It’s obviously been a rough year for humanity with the COVID19 pandemic, which was made more deadly by bungled governmental responses worldwide.
The 2020 election — already historic in importance — is layered on top of a public health crisis of epic proportions.
Take a deep breath. We will get through this. As I have said many times, the world will be different at the end of Coronavirus tunnel. Our future is like a five-point Likert Scale, which ranges from Significantly Better than the “Before Times” to Significantly Worse, with a neutral/no change center choice. I don’t think “no change” is possible. Too many people have died. Too many broken systems have fallen apart. I strongly believe that it is up to those of us who were dissatisfied with the status quo before COVID19 to come together to envision and create a more equitable and more sustainable world — one based on respect, cooperation and environmental stewardship, rather than based on greed, power and profit.
PACs, SuperPACs, and wealthy Arizonans are spending heavily in the Legislative races in 2020 because they have gotten richer and more powerful while “small” government/big tax break Republicans have been in control. They really don’t like outspoken Clean Elections candidates like me because I don’t take dirty money or any PAC money. I vote on your behalf — not on behalf of wealthy donors, special interest groups or big corporations. I am the only person in the Arizona House who voted against every tax giveaway in the last four years because I believe the Arizona Legislature should fund the People’s To-Do List — education, healthcare, infrastructure, and safety and security — and not the corporate wish list. I can’t be bought, and they know it. That is why Big Money is playing in the LD9 race and bankrolling my young Republican, Chamber of Commerce opponent with tens of thousands of dollars in donations.
I beat all of my challengers by significant margins — Democrats and Republicans — in 2016 and 2018, and I plan to beat this guy, too, with your help.
A Time for Gratitude…
Right now, I’d like to take a few minutes for gratitude and thank the many volunteers, precinct committee members, petition signers, $5 donors, voters, and LD9 officers for helping me get on the ballot, helping my collect my Clean Elections $5 Qualifying Contributions, and offering encouraging words in virtual meetings and on social media.
Are you putting tens of thousands of dollars in big money donations behind my pro Trump, pro deregulation, pro tax giveaway, pro privatized insurance, pro Open Up Arizona (and masks are a personal choice) Republican opponent because I told the people of Arizona the truth about tax giveaways? That we were poised to giveaway $1 billion in taxes to corporations, special interest groups and wealthy Arizonans in 2020, after giving them $400 million in 2019?
Or was it because I said (repeatedly) that we should fund the People’s To-Do List — Education, Infrastructure, Healthcare and Safety and Security — instead of the Corporate Wish List?
Following the tragic and unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Dion Johnson, Rayshard Brooks, Carlos Ingram Lopez and others at the hands of law enforcement officers, there have been calls to “defund the police.”
In this Guardian article, Reich talks about increased spending in social investment beginning in the mid 1960s through President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Beginning in 1964, the War on Poverty efforts rolled out Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, Food Stamps, cash assistance to the poor, equal opportunity programs, the voting rights act and more. By the early 1970s, these programs were working to reduce poverty, particularly among African Americans.
In 1971, future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote the now infamous “Powell Memo,” which author and historian Bill Moyers labels a “Call to Arms for Corporations, “ excerpted …