Sept. 15 was the date for the Legislative District 9 candidate debate hosted by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) and moderated by Hank Stephensen, LD9 resident and editor of the Captiol Times Yellow Sheet.
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 CCEC debates are being held online and not in person, as is the tradition. While we were waiting in the “green room” for the event to start, CCEC Executive Director Tom Collins said that the online debates have had much larger viewership than the in-person events, which is great news.
All three House candidates participated: incumbent Democratic Reps. Randy Friese and Pam Powers Hannley and Republican challenger Brendan Lyons. Unfortunately, Lyons’ schedule dictated a “hard stop” at 7 p.m., so our debate was truncated to one hour. Many audience questions were left unasked.
Below are the video time stamps for different questions, if you are interested in specific topics. Stephensen allows for more candidate interaction; check out the robust debates on unemployment insurance and how to pay for education.
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.)
The LD9 Town Hall on August 19 featured presentations by David Lujan of the Center for Economic Progress and Marilyn Rodriguez of Creosote Partners on the four Citizens Initiatives that have been battling in court to get on the November 2020 ballot.
All four initiatives — Invest in Ed (public education funding), Smart and Safe (legalization of adult use marijuana), Second Chances (prison and sentencing reform) and Healthcare Rising (stop surprise billing) — were challenged in court by those who profit from the current broken systems and want to protect those systems.
In the four videos, Lujan and Rodriguez do a great job of outlining the layers of legal challenges that each of the four Citizens Initiatives faced at the hands of Republican Legislators, the Chamber of Commerce, two retiring Pima County Democrats, and others who want to maintain the status quo in education funding, marijuana policing, prison sentences and time served, and privatized, for-profit healthcare.
It’s interesting to hear about the behind-the-scenes political maneuver by Republican Legislators and Ducey’s judges in an all-out attempt to keep all four of these initiatives off the ballot. As of this writing, Invest in Ed (Prop 208) and Smart and Safe (Prop 207) will be on the ballot. Second Chances was knocked off the ballot by separate legal challenges from retiring Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall and retiring Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez. (Why?!)
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.
LD9’s July virtual town hall was July 23, 2020. The format was a bit different for the this town hall because the LD9 team of Senator Victoria Steele and Reps. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley shared the stage with educators Leila Counta (TUSD School Board member), Taylor Cleland, and Nathan Davis (Amphi School Board Candidate) for the first 30 minutes.
We had a rousing discussion on the safety of opening up Arizona schools during the pandemic, with presentations from the educators and comments and questions from the Legislators and participants. What is TUSD doing? What is Amphi doing? How are teachers preparing for the unknown? The education video is a bit long because it includes the three presentations, plus the Q&A session. (Pop some popcorn and watch it. It’s worth it.)
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?