LD9 Clean Elections Debate: Oct. 16 (video)

Legislative District 9 Democrats: incumbent Reps. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley with Senate candidate and former House Rep. Victoria Steele.

The three Democrats and two Republicans running for seats in Legislative District 9 will participate in a Clean Elections Debate on Tuesday, October 16, beginning at 6 p.m. at Pima College Northwest.

Running for the Arizona House are incumbent Reps. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley and Republican challenger Ana Henderson, who lost to the two Democrats in 2016. On the Senate side, Democrat and former House Rep. Victoria Steele and political newcomer Republican Randy Fleenor are vying for the seat vacated by Senator Steve Farley.

Come with your questions. Since this debate is being run by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC), at least half of the questions come from the audience.

Also, the CCEC will videotape the debate and make it available on their YouTube site if you can’t come. Links to other debates and to upcoming debate dates are here:
https://www.azcleanelections.gov/debates

Check out the 2016 LD9 debate between Friese, Powers Hannley and Henderson, below. Also, in this blog post, I annotated the topics in the debate: #LD9 Voters–Can’t Decide How to Vote? Watch the Debate (video).

 

Balanced Public Health Policy Should Be Legislature’s Goal (video)

Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act

This is the transcript of my opening remarks at the Arizona Public Health Association Conference on Oct. 3, 2018. A video of the speech is below.

It is an honor for me to address the Arizona Public Health Association, since I have a Masters in Public Health from the University of Arizona. I worked in health communication, medicine, public health and behavioral research for many years before deciding to run for the Arizona House in 2015.

In fact, it was my background in public health that prompted me to run for office. Many times since I moved to Arizona in 1981, I have found myself shouting at the radio or the TV or the newspaper or a social post about bad policy decisions made by the Arizona Legislature. Anybody else have that experience?

In the public health arena, the Legislature far too often makes short-term decisions to save a buck or make an ideological point, but in the long-term, these decisions cost money and lives. Do you remember Governor Jan Brewer’s Death Panels? Brewer knocked more than 250,000 adults off of Medicaid—including people on transplant waiting lists. That decision made national news as transplant patients began dying.

Another example of a short-term savings that caused long-term problems is the $80 million cut in childcare subsidies and preventive services for families in need. That recession-era funding sweep played a major role in Arizona’s foster care crisis. At its peak, nearly 19,000 Arizona children were in foster care. Most of those children were removed from their homes for “neglect”. Unfortunately, in Arizona, neglect is a catch-all term which could encompass anything from lack of reliable child care to drug abuse to domestic violence.

None of that $80 million in state funding for childcare has been restored. Why not? Because, of course, we have to cut taxes every year—regardless of the needs of the people.

In the wee hours of May 3, 2018, I proposed a budget amendment to use $56 million in federal childcare subsidies to restore part of that $80 million in state funds that were swept. These funds would have dovetailed nicely with tiered reimbursement for high-quality childcare bill that was passed in 2018 but had no funding attached to it.

Despite the crushing need for childcare subsidies, the amendment was rejected on a party line vote, and Arizona became the ONLY state in the US not to use these federal funds to help our families living in poverty. A few months later, a lobbyist told me that one powerful man stopped these funds from being used.

Where’s the fairness in that? How can we allow one powerful man’s opinion to force thousands of single mothers and their children to live in poverty?  How does that promote the common good? It doesn’t.

Last summer, I read the book Envisioning a New World: Awakening to Life’s Oneness by Unitarian Universalist Rev. Rosemarie Carnarius. In it, she applies the concept of balancing yin and yang to public policy. Taoists believe that to lead a healthy and happy life one must seek balance.

Carnarius suggests that to have good government we should try to consciously balance social responsibility—the yin—with individual liberty—the yang. With this model, policy is not about who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about balance. This sounds simple yet so profound. Doesn’t it?

Carnarius goes on to point out that our Declaration of Independence is the first document in history in which “… an individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was proclaimed as divinely ordained, unassailable, and constitutionally guaranteed.” This was a huge step for the common man.

The framers of the Constitution balanced “the ascendency of the individual” with a “trust in humanity’s capacity for self-governance.”

Democracy—the voice of the people—would balance the rights of the individual. To help keep this delicate balance the founders added a free press to educate the public. In fact, President Thomas Jefferson valued newspapers so much that he proposed mailing them to all Americans for free, so they could be educated about current events and the government.

So, what happened to our Democratic utopia? Individual liberty and social responsibility are out of balance.

Big money politics, voter suppression, disinformation, and the slow death of the free press have adulterated our democracy and put special interests in charge of our government. If you look at many issues—like gun violence prevention, school choice, environmental protection, or healthcare– it is obvious that in many cases individual liberty is being promoted over the social responsibility and the common good.

As a result, lawmakers often pass laws that are contrary to the voters’ wishes. In fact, in the Arizona Legislature, it is shocking how many bills we hear—and pass—that are crafted to benefit one corporation or one special interest group. It’s no wonder voters are frustrated.

Let’s look at two examples.

Congress has perpetually skirted meaningful gun reform, and nearly every bill that expands gun rights passes the Arizona Legislature. On Second Amendment, individual liberty is sacrosanct.

Unfortunately, tipping the scales so heavily toward individualism has made us less safe as a country. A recent CDC study looked at 10,000 homicides of women and found that half of these women were shot to death by their male partners.

Along the same lines, recent research on violent death in 23 high-income countries revealed that 90% of the women who died a violent death were killed by a firearm in the US. And 80% of the children who died a violent death were killed by a firearm in the US. This is unacceptable.

“… firearms are killing us rather than protecting us,” is what authors of the American Journal of Medicine article concluded. As a society, we need to find balance between the individual’s right to own a gun and the larger community’s right to safety. These mass murders, fatal traffic stops, and family tragedies must stop. We are better than this.

In 2018, after the Parkland Florida shootings, students representing March for Our Lives descended upon the Captiol and pushed for common sense gun reforms. For weeks, Democrats negotiated with the governor and our Republican colleagues, but there was no consensus and no movement on gun violence prevention. Maybe next year, we can find some balance on that issue.

The battle over healthcare insurance reform is another glaring example of the imbalance between liberty and responsibility in public policy.

Since the early 1900s, many special interest groups have fought successfully against meaningful health insurance reform in the United States. The Affordable Care Act was a major step in the right direction because it increased health insurance coverage dramatically; it eliminated pre-existing conditions; it eliminated gender-based price discrimination; it eliminated lifetime insurance caps; it mandated a basic healthcare package that focused on disease prevention; it capped health insurance company profits; and it included fees and taxes (primarily on the wealthy) to make it self-sustaining. The Affordable Care Act was an attempt as balanced policy.

Unfortunately, as the ACA played out and insurance companies dropped out of the exchanges, it was obvious that reform was needed.

For several years, the Congressional “reform” plans have focused on: 1) Repeal of the ACA with no alternative plan, 2) Repeal and replace, or 3) Death by 1000 cuts to collapse the insurance system.

Last fall I organized the 200 Stories Healthcare Forum. More than 75 Tucsonans came together to share their medical stories. When asked how they would describe their ideal health insurance plan, they said it should be universal, affordable and fair. Overwhelmingly, the attendees said that healthcare, health insurance, and drugs were too expensive, and that access to care and drugs was too limited. There were many complaints about narrow networks, surprise billing, balance billing and an overly complicated system.

Although health insurance coverage increased dramatically after the passage of the ACA, medical bankruptcy is still a major problem. Far too many people are underinsured because they are buying the insurance they can afford—not the insurance they need.

Denying access to affordable healthcare results in unnecessary disease and premature death. It doesn’t do our communities, our state, or our country any good to allow our people to live in poverty and sickness. The Affordable Care Act was an attempt at balanced policy. Let’s fix it—instead of allowing special interest groups to kill it.

Here at home, Arizonans need affordable options and improved access to care. That is why I joined Rep. Kelli Butler when she proposed a bill to allow Arizona residents to buy-in to Medicaid. This would be like an Arizona public option that is more affordable than the Affordable Care Act.

In the 53rd Legislature, the passage of dental therapy and the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act were wins for access to care and balanced policy. The Legislature can do good when we work together for the good of the people. [A photo of the bill signing is above.]

We hear on the news that we are a country divided. Social media fuels this narrative with countless stories of political and ideological stalemates– despite mounting societal needs. It’s no wonder people are upset and frustrated

The Taoists believe that to attain health, we must have balance in our lives. Without balance, there is dis-ease.

Are the anger, the bullying, the hatred, and the violence that we see in our country just symptoms of our societal dis-ease?

I touched on only a few policy areas today. If you think about this concept of balanced policies, you’ll realize that many of our country’s and our state’s policies are out of balance because they are not aligned with needs or desires of the general public.

It’s no wonder people across the political spectrum say that the system is broken or rigged against them, and that they feel left behind or left out.

Could balanced public policy calm the tension in our country by bringing fairness to the lawmaking process?

I say, it’s worth a try!

In my opinion, it’s time to say “no” to special interest groups and “yes” to what’s good for the people.

#RedForEd: Don’t Get Mad. Get Even on Nov 6 (video)

Red for Ed

Are you upset that the Outlaw Dirty Money and Invest In Ed Citizens Initiatives were tossed off of the November ballot by right-wing, activist judges? Many constituents have asked me what they can do about it. Here are three suggestions: vote NO on Prop 126, Prop 305 and Prop 306, and here’s why.

Along with hundreds of Arizonans, my volunteers and I carried petitions through the summer heat to get the Outlaw Dirty Money and Invest In Ed on the ballot. I’m upset that the Arizona Supreme Court tossed both of these initiatives off the ballot– despite their obvious popularity with the voters and despite the gargantuan signature drives that were mounted by the people. The only people who declined to sign these two petitions when I asked them were people who had already signed.

Outlaw Dirty Money was an attempt to bring more transparency to campaign finance laws. Invest In Ed would have raised the income tax on Arizona’s richest residents to pay for stable funding for public education. If you believe in these ideas– campaign finance transparency, getting big money out of politics, sustainable funding for public education, stopping the tax giveaways, and stopping school vouchers– there are three important “no” votes you can make on Nov. 6– No on Prop 126, No on Prop 305 and No on Prop 306.

Continue reading #RedForEd: Don’t Get Mad. Get Even on Nov 6 (video)

#StopThief Fair Tax Forum: It’s Time to Review Corp Tax Giveaways (video)

Fair Tax Forum

#RedForEd lifted the veil from our eyes and put the issue of corporate tax giveaways front and center in the fight to restore public education funding in Arizona.

As many of you are aware, the Arizona Legislature is giving away more than $13 billion in taxes every year and using only $10 billion to run the state. It is not sound fiscal policy to use accounting gimmicks and 50 fund transfers to “balance” the budget. It is no surprise that the state owes K-12 education around $1 billion. Thanks to scheduled corporate tax cuts passed by the Tea Party*, beginning in 2011, Arizona’s corporations got to keep an extra $1 billion in 2017. These corporate tax cuts continue through 2019, even though we can’t afford them.

As a result of the anger and frustration that many Tucsonans feel about the Arizona Legislature’s performance, the Stop Thief! Let’s Restore Fair Taxes Community Forum drew a standing room only crowd of diverse participants. The event was hosted by the Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF) and Progressive Democrats of America (PDA Tucson), with support from many other unions and community groups.

Tax giveaway banner
The star of the tax forum was the 20-ft banner listing 195 of Arizona’s 334 tax giveaways. Arizona is giving away $13+ billion is taxes each year and using only $10 billion to run the state. It is not sound fiscal policy when you use accounting gimmicks and 50 fund transfers to “balance” the budget.

Heart-felt testimonies from current high school students, who explained how school budget cuts have impacted their lives and their schools, opened the forum.

LD9 Rep. Randy Friese gave a detailed presentation on tax revenue and how it has been siphoned off by special interest groups and corporate tax cuts for decades. (Video after the jump.)

My talk focused on specific tax giveaway votes in the 53rd Legislature. focused specific tax giveaway bills and the drama that swirled around the bills that passed and the ones that failed. (Video after the jump.) Excluding any votes related to budget appropriations, all of the tax giveaway votes in the 53rd Legislature were bipartisan— with Democrats and Republicans on both sides.

The Legislature’s mindset on tax giveaways shifted from January 2017– when two Progressive Democrats made a pact to vote against every tax giveaway until the schools were fully funded– to budget night in May 2018. The Progressive viewpoint was: If the state “can’t afford” to fully fund K-12 public education (due to self-imposed austerity), then we “can’t afford” to give away or excuse any more taxes until the schools are on stable footing and fully funded. Thanks to the #RedForEd movement, on budget night 2018, hundreds of teachers, parents, and supporters filled the House gallery and the Capitol lawn and demanded that public education take priority over corporate tax cuts.

As I mentioned in my talk, a thorough tax giveaway review bill and several tax reform or repeal bills were proposed in the Legislature in 2018. Unfortunately, due to the gamesmanship at the Capitol, these bills were not heard because they were proposed by Democrats: Senator Steve Farley and Reps. Mark Cardenas, Randy Friese, and Pamela Powers Hannley.

It’s time to review all of the tax cuts, tax exemptions, tax credits, tax subtractions, and other tax loopholes. Some of these tax giveaways benefit narrow interests– to the detriment of the general fund and the general public. We must determine which tax exemptions benefit the people of Arizona (like the TPT exemptions for food and prescription drugs); which ones benefit special interest groups (like gold bullion enthusiasts); which ones benefit individual corporations (like the infamous four-inch pipe); which ones we are effective and affordable; and how we can spark economic development without breaking our budget and starving all of our educational institutions, as we are now.

Several people told me that they felt hopeful after my talk because so many costly tax giveaways were stopped on a bipartisan vote.  If fact, all of the tax giveaway votes were bipartisan— with Democrats and Republicans on both sides.  This is why it is important to ask every candidate in the 2018 election what their stance is on tax giveaways, the #RedForEd movement, the Invest In Ed Citizens Initiative (to secure long-term funding for K-12), and the Outlaw Dirty Money Citizens Initiative.  Will these candidates fight for the people or will they “take the money and run”?

Continue reading #StopThief Fair Tax Forum: It’s Time to Review Corp Tax Giveaways (video)

Happy Birthday, SunLink! (video)

Four years ago, on a ridiculously hot July day, thousands of Tucsonans showed up to welcome the Modern Streetcar (AKA Sunlink or affectionately “the trolley”) to downtown Tucson.

Tomorrow, July 28, Tucson will celebrate the streetcar’s steamy birthday with music and air-conditioned rides.

I won’t be downtown for the birthday party because I am giving a talk on the Equal Rights Amendment on Saturday night in Tubac, but I hope you all will check out the festivities and the live music on the streetcar and along the route. Here are a few photos and a video from opening day.

Sunlink Tucson
SunLink dedication
Playground Tucson
The view from The Playground.
Sunlink Tucson
Downtowners welcome the streetcar to Congress Street.
Sunlink Tucson
Tucsonans take their first ride on the modern streetcar.
Jim and Pam Hannley
Our first streetcar selfie.
Sunlink Tucson
The blue head at the east end of the streetcar line.
Sunlink Tucson
The eastern stop.

Know Your Candidates: Early Voting Begins Aug 1 (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

It’ go time, people. Today is July 26, 2018.

In five days, voter registration closes for the August 28 primary on July 30.

In seven days, early voting begins for the August 28 primary on August 1.

In 34 days, it will be Primary Election day on August 28.

It’s time for voters to get serious about making up their minds on who to vote for. Many news outlets– like the Arizona Republic and the Tucson Weekly— are compiling voter guides. (The link to the Republic’s guide is below. The Weekly’s will be published soon.) The state’s main Voter Education Guide, which you will receive in the US mail soon, is already available online here.

In addition to voter guides, organizations, nonprofits, and unions have released candidate statements and endorsements (linked below).

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley
Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

For your consideration, I have compiled a list of my endorsements, ratings, awards and news clips– along with links to five organizations that have compiled candidate issue statements.

I am asking for your vote on or before the August 28, 2018 primary and again in the fall– on or before the November 6, 2018 general election.

I promised to be the voice of the people in the Arizona Legislature, and that’s exactly what I did. As a Progressive Democrat and a Clean Elections candidate, I am beholden to no one but you– the voters of Arizona. I accept no big-money donations from lobbyists, special interest groups or unions. Votes should decide our elections– not money.

In the 53rd Legislature, I voted my values and stood up for your rights and wellbeing. The People’s work is not done. We must turn the Arizona Legislature around. It’s time that elected officials stopped voting to give our tax money away and started voting to fund the People’s To-Do List: education, healthcare, infrastructure, and safety and security. I am proud to say that I voted against every tax giveaway that was proposed in two years. Do you want a representative who stands with teachers, students and families or one who stands with the developers? That is your choice in the LD9 primary.

Please check out the links and videos below. It has been an honor to serve you for the past two years in the Arizona House. Thank you for your support.

Continue reading Know Your Candidates: Early Voting Begins Aug 1 (video)

#ICYMI: Watch the LD9 Clean Elections Debate (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) organizes and hosts debates for all elections in which at least one Clean Elections candidate is running. In Legislative District 9, three of the five people running for office are Clean candidates: Jim Love, Victoria Steele and me. The other two people who are running for house– Rep. Randy Friese and J.P. Martin– are running traditional.

Since early ballots for the August 28 primary election will be mailed on August 1, the CCEC has been hosting many debates in the past month. On July 19, the LD9 candidates had their debate.  (The LD9 video link is here and the embedded video is below. To watch other CCEC debates go here.)

CCEC debates include some questions that are asked of all candidates and other questions that are asked of specific people. I have annotated the debate with time stamps– in case you want to focus on particular topics. Since there were several audience questions about guns in schools, the environment and prison reform, I have grouped those questions and answers.

Continue reading #ICYMI: Watch the LD9 Clean Elections Debate (video)

What Did the 53rd Arizona Legislature Accomplish? (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

It has been a little more than a month since the 53rd Legislature ended with a 40-hour marathon, passing the budget in the middle of the night, under the watchful eye of Red for Ed teachers and supporters.

What did the Legislature do in the 53rd Session?

  • We passed the comprehensive Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, to attack the opioid epidemic in Arizona.
  • We passed dental therapy, expanding access to affordable dental care for urban and rural residents and creating new healthcare jobs. (Video.)
  • We stopped several corporate tax giveaway bills that would have further drained the general fund and taken money from public education. (Video.)
  • We stopped an untested technology from being used on Arizona workers. After Uber and Theranos, hopefully we have learned our lesson on putting untested technologies into statute. (Video.)

What didn’t we do?

    • We failed to adequately fund k-12 public education, community colleges or the university system. In fact, the Republican response to the Red for Ed movement was to make 50 fund transfers to pay the teachers a bit more (but not as much as they deserve). It’s time to restore k-12 public education funds for personnel and infrastructure to pre-recession levels. Funding education is economic development. (Video.)

Continue reading What Did the 53rd Arizona Legislature Accomplish? (video)

#AZGOP Takes Another Stab at #CleanElections (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

The very last bill of the 53rd Session was a blatant attack on the Citizens Clean Elections Commission by the Republican majority.

The bill attacking a system that was created by the voters was rammed through after midnight. They want to protect big-money-based elections. Speaker Mesnard said this bill was necessary because Clean Elections needs “more oversight”, so what better place to put CLEAN Elections than under the control of Gov. Ditry-Money Ducey.

Clean Elections are governed by the Clean Elections Commission (as outlined in the law passed by the voters). What the Republicans aren’t telling you is that they really don’t like Clean Elections’ watchdog function over everybody’s campaign finance reporting, including the Republicans who run on dirty money.

Arizona needs a stronger campaign finance watchdog function not a weaker one. The GOP also is specifically targeting Progressive Clean Elections candidates with this bill because it says Clean candidates can’t make any payments to political parties— even to buy services like the VAN database.

Luckily, since Clean Elections was created through Citizens Initiative, any change that is not in the spirit of the original bill as passed by the voters must go back to the voters for approval. As the 2018 election approaches, expect heavy spin from the Republicans regarding Clean Elections because they have a vested interested in keeping the dirty money status quo. Watch the video after the jump.

Continue reading #AZGOP Takes Another Stab at #CleanElections (video)

From Guns to Water: LD9 Forum Video

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

We had a great crowd of about 50 people who came out for the Tanque Verde Democrats LD9 Forum on May 12. For those of you who couldn’t make it, my husband Jim manned me video camera, and we taped the whole thing.

There are seven videos total. Each incumbent or candidate answered every question, and each question is a separate video. The video topics are: introductory comments, water policy, the property tax hike for TUSD residents, gun violence prevention, police interactions with communities of color, working across the aisle, and closing comments with accomplishments or goals.

You can watch the forum videos, as well as my one-minute updates and selected Arizona House Floor Videos on my YouTube Channel here.  (There is also a link to subscribe if you want to follow me on YouTube.) Below the fold are the videos from the meeting. If you are wondering what that red cone is in several of the videos, it is a flag on an audience member’s wheelchair. At first when I saw the raw video footage, I thought, “Who was wearing a tiny red party hat?” Check out the videos after the jump.

Continue reading From Guns to Water: LD9 Forum Video