The citizens of Arizona created the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) and the process to run as a “clean” candidate in 1998. It was a reaction by the people of Arizona to widespread corruption in the Arizona Legislature, following the AZ Scam investigation. Every year since then, Arizona Republicans have mounted an attack on Clean Elections. Heaven forbid … we should allow politicians to run for office on their ideas and values and deny big money donations. Every year that he has been in office, Rep. Leo Biasiucci has been the CCEC hit man. His HB2014 weakens the watchdog function of the Clean Elections Commission by adding more bureaucracy. I believe that Clean Elections should be expanded — not repeatedly attacked and weakened.
Thank you so much, LD9 voters, for making me the top vote getter in the 2020 Primary Election and the 2020 General Election. I particularly want to thank my grassroots volunteers who worked tirelessly to help me win re-election.
It was an extremely difficult year for humankind, but you persevered to help many Democrats win– including the LD9 team of Senator Victoria Steele, Rep. Randy Friese and me. Oh, yes, and Joe Biden!
You are my Power Team.
We traveled 2020’s rough and bumpy roads together. We not only faced the pandemic together, we faced a Republican opponent with more than three times as much money and all of the wealthy donors, television commercials, robocalls, slick mailers, and giant signs that accompany big-money politics.
I was his target, and you helped me beat him. The final count is PPH 64,781, Rep. Randy Friese 64,772 and Brendan Lyons 48,026. OK, I beat Friese by only nine votes, but I beat Lyons by 17,755 votes.
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.
Corporate America, was it something I said?
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?
Or maybe you didn’t like my video on raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for public education, instead of continuing to raise sales taxes on the poor to fund the state government?
Or maybe you didn’t like it when I exposed the GPLET tax shell game or the $13 billion in state tax giveaways?
Or was it my speeches against voter suppression and against attacks on Clean Elections, the Citizen’s Initiative, Independent Redistricting and Medical Marijuana?
Or was it because I opposed the sub-minimum wage of $7.25/hour, fake pregnancy clinics, dangerous deregulation, and Reefer Madness anti-marijuana legalization efforts?
Or was it when I said that Arizona chose a short-term economic boost over common sense, opened up the economy too soon, and gave our state the worst COVID19 record in the world ?
Each election year the Capitol Times hosts a Meet the Candidates event in July for all Legislative candidates and incumbents at a fancy downtown Phoenix hotel.
This year, the Cap Times event — sponsored by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission — is virtual and spread out over five evenings, from 6-8 p.m. each night. The schedule is below. All of the forums are broadcast live on YouTube and posted on YouTube immediate afterward.
Pima County LDs 2 and 3 were on July 13, and Pima County LDs 9,10, and 11 were on July 14. The videos for those two events are posted below.
There are a ton of contested primaries in the Legislature on both sides of the aisle. Our forum on Tuesday was very interesting; our Republican challenger was one of the men who were no-shows. The format is that each Legislative District is up, one at a time. Each candidate for each district gets a minute or two to introduce themselves, but the majority of the time is fielding questions from the audience.
Usually, sine die is an orderly but sometimes drama-filled end to the Legislative session. Historically, the Arizona House and the Senate vote to sine die (end the session) on the same night and often under the cloak of darkness.
The second session of the 54th Legislature was… different… even before the novel Coronavirus hit the world. Although Democrats made up 48 percent of the House members in the 54th Legislature, the Republican leadership refused to work with Democrats and refused to put any bills up for a vote unless all 31 of their members were in their chairs and ready to vote in lock step with their party. The Republican leadership’s attempts to tightly control the action resulted in chaotic schedules (when all Republicans were present), several closed-door Republican caucus meetings, and long stretches of inaction because one or more R votes were missing. This is no way to run a government.
The Arizona House of Representatives was adjourned from March 23, 2020 to May 19, 2020, due to the COVID19 pandemic. Some of us wanted to sine die on March 23 and go back into for special session(s) focused on COVID19 public health and economic issues, later when we know the economics of our situation better. Others– mostly Republicans– wanted to stay in session and pause the action by adjourning because they had hopes that their bills would still pass during this session.