I am the most independent-voting Democrat in the Arizona House and perhaps in the Arizona Legislature. How did that happen? When I first ran for office in 2015, I said I would look at every bill and ask myself, “How does this help the people of Arizona?” And if it didn’t broadly help people OR if it was a carve-out for the connected, there was no reason for me to support it.
Continue reading I Am the Most Independent Voting Democrat in the #AZHouse: Here’s Why (video)
For years, I have been pounding a drum about the need for the state of Arizona to fully fund maternal and child health and to tackle Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Too many Moms and babies are dying or living with poverty and disease due to stingy policies in Arizona.
Arizona’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Report (AMMMR) showed that 80 percent of the post childbirth maternal deaths were preventable and 20 percent were suicides. Moms need help — especially now with the added stress of COVID19 and limited childcare options.
M&C Health got a much-need boost recently with the passage of increased funding for Healthy Families (HB2111). Healthy Families is a program that was cut dramatically in the past 10 years and never restored. It is a voluntary home visitation postpartum program. Health educators visit new moms and their babies and teach topics like breast feeding, healthy diet, and coping skills, along with strategies to be a better mom.
Continue reading There’s Progress in Maternal & Child Health … But We’re Not Done (video)
This week House and Senate members are gathering co-sponsors and filing many of their bills. This year, as I have in the past, I am focusing on the Social Determinants of Health and Adverse Childhood Experiences. Arizona is one of the stingiest states in the US. We force people to live with sickness and poverty.
Governmental policies should give people the freedom to thrive. That means helping families with food insecurity, housing insecurity and financial insecurity. That means helping them keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.
Continue reading My Focus Is Food & Housing Security (video)
Long-term drought, extreme heat, intense fires and unpredictable weather — obviously, Arizona is feeling the effects of climate change now.
Governor Doug Ducey and Republican Legislators continue to pursue the capitalist path of unbridled and unchecked growth as the road to prosperity, with no concern regarding the environmental impact or the long-term sustainability of their ideas.
In her speech to the UN climate conference in 2019, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg called the corporate push for more consumerism … more growth … more building “fairytale” and warned world leaders that the youth of planet Earth expect action. In 2021, Thunberg called the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow “more blah, blah, blah” and scolded leaders for making little progress.
Climate change is a ticking time bomb. The human race has roughly this decade to make major changes in order stop the worst effects of climate change.
For the commentary this week, you’ll hear Thunberg scolding world leaders for inaction on climate change on behalf of the world’s children in 2019.
There is a link to this podcast below. You can also subscribe to A View from the Left Side on multiple podcasting services such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher Radio, I Heart Radio and others.
Continue reading Podcast: How Will Climate Change Shape Arizona’s Future? (video)
As 2021 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the past Legislative session, the extreme laws enacted by the radical right that controls the Arizona Republican Party, the continuing court cases and voter backlash against these new laws, and a look forward to November 2022.
The first session of the 55th Legislature was a wild ride because of the Republicans’ slim majority (47 Rs – 43 Ds) and the radical nature of the newly elected Republican lawmakers. In order to get 16 Republican Senators and 31 Republican House members to vote “yes” on their budget, they stuffed many unrelated, failed policy bills into the budget. (Many of those were later thrown out of the budget by the courts.)
To get anything from tax giveaways to common sense bills to online gaming passed in the 55th Legislature, the Libertarian “Freedom Caucus” forced Corporate Republicans to reach out to Corporate Democrats and sometimes to all of us. They don’t like to pass bills where the majority of “yes” votes are Democrats because it shows how big our numbers are, but sometimes they need us … or some of us.
For a recap of the first session of the 55th Legislature, watch the video below.
Continue reading Rep. PPH Legislative Update: Moving into the 2nd Session of the 55th #AZLeg (video)
The Finance Advisory Committee of the Arizona Legislature met recently. This group of financial experts from the universities and elsewhere meet quarterly with the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) to advise them and the Legislature on the state’s economic outlook.
The October 2021 Finance Advisory Committee meeting was particularly rosy. During the pandemic, Arizona’s state government and residents received a total of $51 billion in aid from the federal government. These funds kept many Arizonans afloat during the pandemic and greatly helped our state’s financial position. The state coffers are brimming with tax revenue and gaming proceeds. Arizona corporations saw record profits. The Rainy Day Fund has $970 million in it. Ninety-four percent of the prepandemic jobs have returned.
During my five years in the Arizona House, I have been a crusader for increased funding and services for maternal and child health. Arizona is worst in the country for Adverse Childhood Experiences. Far too many Arizona children grow up with food insecurity, housing insecurity and financial insecurity, while the state government gives away billions each year in tax breaks.
With so much cash on hand, it’s time for the Arizona Legislature to invest in the health and wellbeing of children and families – instead of more tax breaks for corporations and wealthy Arizonans.
Continue reading Podcast: With Cash in the Coffers, Will Arizona Finally Invest in Healthy Children & Families? (video)