Category Archives: Charter Schools

21 Year Retired Air Force Veteran Master Sergeant and Civic Activist Michelle Harris seeks to turn the LD 13 Senate Seat Blue in November

Democratic LD 13 Senate Candidate Michelle Harris

With her husband as a campaign manager and 30 volunteers at her disposal, retired 21 Year Air Force Veteran Master Sergeant and local Civic Activist Michelle Harris is seeking the LD 13 Senate Seat this November in order to make it Blue. Her potential opponent, to be determined after the August 28 Primary, may be disgraced expelled State House Member Don Shooter. This well qualified and experienced Clean Elections candidate, with a compelling message and agenda, is one of many Democrats that will help shift the balance of power from Republicans in the November Elections.

Over water, coffee, croissants, and a very huge Blueberry Muffin at Mimi’s Café at Dysart and the I-10, Master Sergeant Harris enthusiastically relayed why she is the best candidate for the State Senate in LD 13 and the its residents whose territory stretches from Yuma in the South to Wickenburg in the North with parts or all of Glendale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Buckeye, and Avondale in between. Motivated to run because local state leaders from the district or the Corporation Commission did not take the time to address concerns in a either a timely (sewage rate increase) or any (school voucher expansion) manner, Harris wants to use the training and experience gained from her service in the Air Force to engage with all stakeholders on the needs of the district and solve problems in a consensus fashion. If she prevails this November, she will be the first Democrat in recent memory to win a legislative seat in this district.

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Lifting All People Up is the Goal of LD 15 State Senate Candidate Kristin Dybvig-Pawleko

LD 15 State Senate Candidate Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko

After bearing the ravings of a “gentleman,” in desperate need of decaf coffee, going through drive-through rage at the Starbucks at Tatum and Paradise Village Gateway in Phoenix, Democratic Candidate Ms. Kristin Dybvig-Pawleko (pronounced Dib Vig Pa Welko) passionately framed why she is the best candidate to win the open State Senate Seat in Legislative District 15 this November.

A first-time Clean Elections candidate, running as a team with LD 15 State House candidate and fellow educator Jennifer Samuels, Dybvig-Pawleko wants to bring a community-minded consensus solution approach to governing that emphasizes lifting all people up by building up our public education system, infrastructure, local and state economies, and stopping gun violence.

LD 15 includes parts or all of Peoria, Phoenix, Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, and Deer Valley. Unlike recent past elections where there has been minimal or no Democratic presence, this year features three Democrats vying for the two State House seats in LD 15 and a very enthusiastic State Senate Candidate in Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko.

The Republican running in the State Senate Race is current LD 15 House incumbent Heather Carter, who according to Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko, is a “nice lady” but does not follow  what residents want her to do in the legislature. A Representative that follows the reactionary party line, Ms. Carter (also an educator) did not support any of the measures that would assist educators in the classroom and voted with her party in making the processing of ballot initiatives more difficult, a woman’s right to choose more intrusive, allowing gun sales without a background check, and repealing campaign reform measures such as the revealing of campaign donors.

Realizing that the actions of local and state officeholders in areas like education, infrastructure, and zoning, most impact the people, Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko sees her pragmatic progressive ideas and approach to problem-solving as the best ways to represent the people in LD 15 and move the district and state forward.

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Helping Children is the First Priority for State Senate Candidate and 2016 Arizona Teacher of the Year Christine Marsh.

LD 28 Democratic State Senate Candidate and 2016 Teacher of the Year Christine Marsh

While petting a year old German Shepard Mix named Zuzu at the Democratic Party LD 28 office on Shea and 32nd Street, State Senate Christine Marsh relayed her reasons for wanting to replace incumbent Kate Brophy McGee in the Arizona Senate and the legislative goals she would like to pursue after taking office in January 2019.

Partially inspired by a conversation with a student, in her English class at Chaparral High School, on whether children in Arizona were worth as much as children in other states, Ms. Marsh, a 2016 State Teacher of the Year, is running largely on a pro-public education platform in the Purple Arizona District 28 on a ticket with State House Incumbent Kelli Butler and House Challenger Aaron Lieberman. A very attainable Marsh win in LD 28 would help Democrats achieve their realistic goal of gaining control of the State Senate in November’s elections.

Arizona Legislative District 28 is similar in some ways to Arizona Legislative District 18. It is a district that is becoming increasingly blue as evidenced by Kelli Butler’s State House win in 2016 and Kate Brophy McGee’s two-point squeaker over Democrat opponent Eric Meyer in the same election. A district that includes parts of Phoenix, Paradise Valley, and Glendale, Democrats have a well-organized and energized team led by Field Director Chris Fleischman (the dog parent of Zuzu) and able volunteers like Tyler Kowch, an Arizona resident who found education in Canada a cheaper option.

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David Schapira’s 4 Arguments for InvestInEd

David Schapira, Democratic Candidate for AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction

David Schapira, Democratic Candidate for AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction

There are four good arguments in favor of the InvestInEd public initiative, according to David Schapira, a Democratic Candidate for state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The InvestInEd public initiative creates a dedicated funding source to keep teachers in Arizona classrooms and give students the one-on-one attention they deserve.

Schapira is former Senate Democratic leader and current Tempe City Council member. He spoke at a recent meeting of the LD9 Democrats in Tucson.

➊ It will restore the $700 million in state funds cut from education over the last 10 years. “The Republican majority in the Legislature decided to balance the budget on the backs of our kids. Pima and Maricopa county colleges county lost every penny of funding from the state, and the universities cut were cut too,” Schapira said. “The RedforEd movement convinced the Legislature to put money back into public schools. But even after that our public schools still have $700 million less than they did a decade ago.” Continue reading

How Candidates Ralph Atchue and Hollace Lyon will Flip the State Leglislature

Ralph Atchue and Ret. Colonel Hollace Lyon, LD11 Democratic state legislature candidates.

Ralph Atchue and Ret. Colonel Hollace Lyon, LD11 Democratic state legislature candidates.

Democrats need to flip only two seats in the Arizona Senate and only five seats in State House for Democrats to get parity with the Republicans. Democratic candidates Ralph Atchue for State Senate and Retired Air Force Colonel Hollace Lyon for State House in LD11 spelled out the winning issues that will carry them into office in November.

They spoke recently at a rousing meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson.

  • Funding public education. “Access to quality public education is Arizona’s economic driver. The state has abdicated its responsibility to fund public education. It’s been left to cities, counties and school districts to raise taxes,” Atchue said.
  • Cutting corporate tax giveaways. “74% of corporations in Arizona pay the minimum of $50 a year in income tax,” Lyon said. “We have $12 to $14 billion that we’re giving away in tax loopholes in this state. The more companies we invite here, the more tax breaks we give them. We don’t put sunset clauses on our tax incentives. They’ve been accumulating for decades. We need to go back and see if they are still giving us a return on investment.”
  • Access to affordable healthcare. “We support opening up Medicaid, AHCCS (state health care coverage) and CHIP (children’s healthcare insurance). We’ve gotten locked into employer-controlled healthcare, and if we can start moving away from that and it would be a benefit,” Atchue said.
  • Jobs that pay well. “If you give a person a job where they feel good about themselves, they will become invested in the community and are better contributors. They feel a sense of dignity. It’s unfair to need three jobs to make ends meet. They never get enough time to spend with their kids. We need good jobs, fair wages, and a comprehensive program to let that happen to everybody,” Lyon said.
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They also called for Outlawing Dirty Money in campaign contributions and establishing real ethics in government. “The state doesn’t follow through on conflicts of interest. Andy Tobin was appointed to the Arizona “Corruption Commission” (Corporation Commission). His son works for one of the companies he oversees. This is a conflict of interest. So the state legislature decided to make an ethics decision and they changed the definition of conflict of interest to allow that,” Atchue said.

Atchue is an Air Force veteran and a seasoned campaigner, having worked in many Arizona political campaigns, for Ann Kirkpatrick, for Tom O’Halleran, and including his state senate run in 2016. Ralph is distinctly aware of the issues facing Arizona’s middle-class families and small business community and will work to rebuild the middle class.

Colonel Lyon commanded twice, served at NATO Headquarters in Belgium, as well as at the Pentagon. She served as a state senate campaign manager in 2012 and in 2014 and ran for the Legislature herself.  Lyon is serving her second term as Chair of the Saddlebrooke Democratic Club. Since 2015, she has also served as the Senior Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.

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LD 12 Democratic Candidate Joe Bisaccia sees the 2018 Election as “A Campaign about the Future Versus the Preserving the Past.”

LD 12 Democratic State House Candidate Joseph Bisaccia

Over coffee and ice water at the Old Town Gilbert café Bergies Coffee, energetic and idealistic Democratic State House Clean Election Candidate Joe Bisaccia outlined his vision for how he would represent LD 12 if he won one of the two State House seats this November.

Bisaccia is one of many educators, inspired by the poor educational policies advanced by the reactionary Republican State Legislature along with the teacher-led Red for Ed Movement, who want to lead a pro-education campaign all the way to State House.

Arizona LD 12 includes parts or all of Gilbert, Queen Creek, and San Tan Valley. Eddie Farnsworth and Travis Grantham now represent the district in the State House. Mr. Bisaccia is one of three Democratic Candidates (the others being Lynsey Robinson and DJ Rothans) running to take one of those House seats. This is a great example of Democratic enthusiasm this election year because Democrats have not fielded candidates in the State House Race for this Legislative District in two out of the last three elections.

Bisaccia sees this race as “a campaign about the future versus the preserving the past” and is running on the issues of education, technology, jobs, and tax reform to advance a pragmatic liberal progressive agenda.

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