Reflections on 2017 at year end…

Arizona House Dems

To say that 2017 was a challenging year is a gross understatement. Buffeted by angry Tweets, backward-thinking executive orders, political grandstanding, militarism, and attacks on our healthcare, our finances, and our freedom, the American people have been on an emotional roller coaster since November 8, 2016. At the dawn of 2018, we have nowhere to go but up.

Inequality in the Trump Era
The summer 2017 news cycle was filled with stories about Congressional Republican plans to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and throw millions of Americans off of health insurance. Problem is: Most people didn’t want to lose their health insurance. Vigilant activists and 1000s of phone calls, emails, and protests stopped multiple ACA repeal and replace attempts. Tucsonans at the 200 Stories Healthcare Forum overwhelming said they wanted health insurance to be affordable and universal— not more expensive and less accessible, as the Republicans had planned. We must stay vigilant because Republicans plan to continue their attacks on our health and well being in 2018.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, the fall 2017 news cycle flip flopped between stories on militaristic Tweet tantrums and details of Congressional Republican plans to dramatically reduce taxes for big corporations and 0.01% of the richest Americans. Who will pay for massive tax cuts for the rich? The rest of us, of course. Tax Cut and Jobs Act is blatantly unfair to millions of Americans. As far as I’m concerned if the federal government is giving away billions in tax cuts, the State of Arizona can roll back our tax cuts. After all, we need the money to fund education and other items on the People’s To-Do List. For more thoughts on this, check out the text and video of my DGT speech on solving economic inequality: Economic Inequality, Access to Care & Workforce Development: A Progressive Roadmap.

#MeToo Movement Shake-up
A year that began with amazing women’s marches nationwide, ended with months of sexual harassment and sexual assault charges against powerful men in entertainment and politics. Several Congressmen, State Legislators, and entertainment icons like Matt Lauer, Henry Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey and others have lost their jobs and fallen from power.

In the #MeToo Era, is it finally time to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)? I think so. I proposed the ERA in 2017, and I have opened a 2018 bill folder for it. You can read my blog post on this topic here. Watch for ERA activists at the Together We Rise Rally on Opening Day of the Legislature, January 8, 2018. Check out the ERA in AZ Facebook Group here and my blog here for news and updates.

Happy New Year! Take care of yourself. In a few days, I will be heading back to the Arizona House.

Below the fold, check event updates from December 2017 Constituent Newsletter. (BTW, the feature photo depicts Arizona House Democrats at their December retreat on the Gila River Indian Reservation.)

Continue reading Reflections on 2017 at year end…

Labor Day Picnic on Sept 4: Come On Down!

Re-Elect Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

Come and join Jim and I at the Powers For The People booth at the Pima Area Labor Federation’s Annual Labor Day Picnic on Monday, September 4 at Reid Park.

The Labor Day Picnic is like homecoming for Jim and me. We have had a booth or attended the Labor Day Picnic nearly every year since we met– first with Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), then with Arizonans for a New Economy, for the past two years as a candidate for Arizona House, and this year as an elected representative. Two years ago, I collected my first signatures and $5 Clean Elections Qualifying Contributions at the Labor Day Picnic.

There are five ways you can support my 2018 re-election campaign at the picnic.

1- Sign my petition

If you live in LD9, I will have nominating petitions for you to sign at my booth. Please help me get on the ballot in 2018.

2- Give Me $5 for Clean Elections

Yes, I am running clean again and looking for $5s. Running clean is part of my value system. I believe that elected officials should answer to the voters– not to big money donors, lobbyists, political action committees, or dark money. Clean candidates have no strings attached because we accept only modest donations from real people. I will have $5 Clean Elections Qualifying Contribution forms at the booth on Monday. To qualify for Clean Elections funds and avoid trap of big money politics, I have to collect at least 200 $5 donations from LD9 voters . Please help me out, and bring a $5 to the picnic.

Continue reading Labor Day Picnic on Sept 4: Come On Down!

Fun with Campaign Finance: Questions for Ana

All three of my opponents spent $1000s on consultants leading up to the primary on August 30, 2016.

According to the Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Database, Ana Henderson, the sole GOP candidate in the LD9 race, spent $6280 (the largest part of her Clean Elections funds) on an ultra-conservative Phoenix-based consultant– Constantin Querard of Grassroots Consulting LLC. His website says that he works for “‘platform Republican[s]’ with uncompromising beliefs in the sanctity of life, pro-family issues, low taxes and the right to keep and bear arms…”

The Capitol Times is quoted on his website as saying, Querard “has helped to create the most conservative Legislature to be seen in years…” The website client list bears this statement out; it’s a who’s who of Cathy Herrod fetal personhood aficionados and NRA backers.

The second biggest chunk of Henderson’s funds– $4800– was spent in Mesa at a non-union sign shop. So– Henderson spent 80% of her $13,908 in Maricopa County. (This is surprising since Henderson often talks about being a former small business owner– like me.)

For comparison purposes, I spent almost all of my $19,806 locally. Except for buying office supplies, party supplies and food at local chain stores, by far, most of my money was spent at small locally-owned businesses. The Gloo Factory– a local union printer– got the largest chunk of my money with $6341; second was National Mailing at $4808; and third was Tucson Local Media at $2224. I spent 68% of my funds ($13,373) with three local businesses. The only non-Tucson businesses that I used were the company that printed the checks for my bank account and the Arizona Democratic Party who gave me access to the Democrats’ giant voter database.

I have a few questions for Ana Henderson…

Continue reading Fun with Campaign Finance: Questions for Ana

#PowersForThePeople at Labor Day Picnic, Sept 5 (video)

One year ago on Labor Day Weekend, I kicked off my campaign for the Arizona House to serve Legislative District 9. I officially announced by campaign that Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson (video here), and on Monday at the 2015 Labor Day Picnic, my husband Jim and I began collecting petition signatures and $5 Clean Elections donations.

This year, I am returning to the Labor Day Picnic as one of LD9’s nominees for the Arizona House.

As many of you know, both my Dad, James L. Powers, Sr., and my husband, Jim Hannley, were members of the United Steelworkers. Since I toiled in the pink collar ghetto my entire life, I never had the opportunity to join a union.

My campaign will have a booth at the 2016 Labor Day picnic.  Stop by and say, “hi”. This year at our booth, Jim and I will be honoring our relatives who were union members and collecting names of people who would like to volunteer to help the campaign.

Remembering the Teamsters struggle that was ongoing last year, here’s a video I shot of the labor demonstration at the Rondstadt Transit Center in September 2015. Solidarity forever.

Fathers’ Day Reflections: My Dad– Working Man & Gun Owner (video)

Today is Fathers’ Day. It’s been almost 20 years since my Dad, James L. Powers, Sr., passed away… far too young.

Many of you have heard my speeches about my Dad’s unwavering support for the United Steelworkers. He was a long-time member and an officer in his local in Lorain County. That is… until the last strike when Thew Shovel closed the plant in Ohio and moved to the south for cheaper, non-union labor. As a vice president, grievance man and a contract negotiator, Dad was a strong fighter for working men and women, and he argued politics and unions with everyone, particularly his father (my grandpa).

Dad as a lumberjack, with Grandpa Powers watching.
Dad as a lumberjack, with Grandpa Powers watching.

Dad, the Working Man

Dad was one of those boisterous, in-your-face union guys that you see in the movies. He was a third-generation electrician, a Navy vet, an NRA member, an avid outdoorsman, a hunter, a John Wayne aficionado, a great dancer, a quirky style icon, a ham radio nut, and a Republican, until Nixon broke his heart and he changed his registration to Democrat after Watergate. He drank to much, fought in bars, won and lost rings and watches playing craps, and carried a switchblade and sometimes brass knuckles. (Truth be told: he may have won those two prizes shooting dice. Jimmy and I were always fascinated to see his winnings in the morning.)

Thew Shovel was in South Lorain, a grungy, hard-scrabble place with economic immigrants from all over the US and the world. “Hillbillies” from Kentucky and West Virginia worked alongside Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Hungarians, Poles, Italians, and workers from the earlier immigration waves like the Germans, English, and Irish.  Lorain is called the “International City” because so many nationalities lived there and worked in the factories of Northern Ohio– US Steel, the shipyards, the Ford plant, the GM plant, BF Goodrich, Moen, Nordson, and many others– all gone or, at least, greatly diminished now. Unionized factory jobs made Northern Ohio a true melting pot of ethnicities in the 20th century.

James L. Powers, Sr.
Ironically, I wrote this blog post on the anniversary of this election on June 19. 1970ish.

I remember going to Thew once or twice with Mom to pick Dad up when his car didn’t start. (Since both of my parents worked, they always had two vehicles. Mom drove the “good car”, and Dad always drove some rusty rattletrap that was held together with shade tree mechanics and cooled with a Thermos of iced tea on a hot summer day. I remember driving to Lorain once with Dad and my younger brother Jim, who was a toddler at the time. The floor boards on the passenger side of his car were completely rusted out, and I could see the road whizzing by beneath us. Being maybe five years old or so, I remember expressing concern to Dad that Jim and I may fall out onto the pavement and be run down by the cars behind us. There were no seat belts or car seat back then. Dad said, “You’re OK. Don’t look down” and kept driving. There was an “emergency” at radio station, where he was a part-time engineer, and he had to take us along. He left us in the car for what seemed like forever while he went inside to get the station back on the air. It’s a wonder some of us survived our childhoods.)

I have vivid mental picture of the Thew Shovel factory– smelly, noisy, dark, dirty, and stifling hot, and I remember thinking, “Wow. This is where Dad goes everyday.” Life for a working man in the industrialized north was hard. Lorain and Lake Erie were extremely polluted in the 1960s, before the EPA. The air was thick and dirty. The beaches were strewn with dead Lake Erie perch. The sky and the houses were pink with dust from the steel mills. With a job like that, it’s no wonder Dad loved camping, hunting and fishing. (And it’s no wonder he fought so hard for benefits and better working conditions for USW workers.)

My Dad, the Gun Owner

I have been thinking a lot about my Dad during this past week– not so much because of Fathers’ Day– but because of the mass shooting a week ago in Orlando, Florida and the gun control debate that has followed.

Continue reading Fathers’ Day Reflections: My Dad– Working Man & Gun Owner (video)

Arizona Workers Deserve a Living Wage & a Lot More (video)

Pamela Powers Hannley

Far too many good-paying, full-time jobs disappeared when Wall Street crashed our economy back in 2009. Unfortunately, these jobs were replaced with part-time, low-wage, no-benefits jobs in the gig economy. In Southern Arizona, the post-recession economic recovery has been slow. Arizona workers deserve better. Arizona workers deserve economic security.

On the campaign trail, I often talk about my upbringing in a union household. My Dad was a member and officer in the United Steel Workers local in Lorain County, Ohio, and my Mom worked as an admin assistant in another unionized factory. We lived modestly in a small house, yet we always were financially secure. My parents were high school graduates who never rose the corporate ladder, yet– thanks to unions– my family had many benefits that workers in Arizona today don’t have.

Arizona workers deserve better. They deserve a living wage; benefits like health insurance, paid family leave, paid sick time, paid vacations, overtime pay, and pensions;  equal pay for equal work; full-time work if they want it; and they should be paid for every hour they work. If we can help Arizona workers become financially secure, it will not only help them and their families (obviously), but it will help our state thrive and save our state money in the long run in public assistance, crime, drug addiction, domestic violence and more. There are many negative consequences to living in poverty– or on the edge of it. Workers fuel the economy with their labor and their money. We need to help them and their families be successful in life; after all, like it or not, we’re all in this together riding this blue ball in space.

In this video, I talk about putting Arizonans back to work and about job creation through diversified, sustainable economic development, public banking and other economic reforms.

I want to go to the Arizona Legislature to help Arizona workers and their families. I am a progressive Democrat running for the Arizona House to represent LD9 in Tucson. Together we can build a stronger Arizona for future generations.

Please follow me on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and this blog.  I will be having more house parties, coffees with the candidate, canvassing, and phone banking. Please consider volunteering to help me– here.

AND, if you live in Legislative District 9, please vote for me on August 30 in the Democratic Party Primary and again on November 8 in the general election.

 

MLK March 2016

Jim and I had a great time at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally and March. It was heartwarming to see and talk with so many old friends. We helped chauffeur a group of Unitarian Universalist youth to the event. That’s my “Standing on the Side of Love” UU t-shirt. (Not a color I usually wear, but I like the slogan.)

My husband Jim (left) with JWJ pals.
My husband Jim (left) with JWJ pals.

Why I Support Paid Sick Leave

Bill Buckmaster
Local news host Bill Buckmaster noted on Facebook that everyone has the “Tucson Cold.” This is a sign that too many people are going to work and/or to school sick.

Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero is leading the charge to require local businesses to provide paid sick leave for employees.

As someone who has been in management for more than 20 years, I fully support paid sick leave and the city’s proposed ordinance. At first glance, paid sick leave appears to be an expense that businesses don’t want or need, but in reality, requiring employees to come in sick is far more costly in the long run because it hurts productivity, diminishes customer services, and spreads disease in the community.

Continue reading Why I Support Paid Sick Leave

Tucson Then & Now: How Far Have We Come in 35 Years? (video)

Pima CanyonTucson was a happening place back in 1981 when I moved here. Earthquakes in California and blizzards in the Midwest had prompted waves of migration to the sun belt. The town was bustling, and everyone was from somewhere else. Opportunity was in the air– as evidenced by all of the things that started in the early 1980s that we still enjoy today– the Tucson Weekly, KXCI, the Tucson Kitchen Musicians, and (until recently) Access Tucson.

Unfortunately, before I moved here, no one warned me about “right to work” states. All I had to go on was my Dad’s warning: “They didn’t like unions” out there.

With a bachelors degree and eight years of experience, I had been making $8/hour (with health insurance, paid sick time, and paid vacation) as a professional photographer working for a swanky graphic and product design agency in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to moving, I mailed resumes hawking my writing, photography, and graphic design skills to Tucson agencies and got a number of job interviews. I received two job offers pretty quickly, but when I told them I expected to make what I had made in Ohio, they literally laughed in my face. “You’re not going to make that here! You’ll be lucky to make $6/hour.” (That guy was right. I was offered $6/hour by both potential employers. I turned them down and opted for $25/hour as a freelancer– early shades of the local gig economy.)

In Columbus, I had been making about 2.5x the $3.35/hour minimum wage and was told to expect 1.8x the minimum wage in Arizona– even though our rent ($250/month) in Tucson was significantly higher for a much smaller and less stylish place than we had in Columbus.

Let’s Do the Math

What’s with the history lesson you ask? This is actually a math lesson…

Continue reading Tucson Then & Now: How Far Have We Come in 35 Years? (video)