Category Archives: Energy

Fully Funding Education is the Top Issue as LD 18 Democrats look to take both State Representative Seats in 2018

State Representative Mitzi Epstein

State Representative Mitzi Epstein

Education, Education, Education. That is the top issue for all three candidates competing for the two Representative seats for LD 18 as they vie to continue the trajectory of making this district increasingly blue in this year’s election.

As reported in a previous overview of LD 18, it is a district that includes Ahwatukee-Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, and Mesa. Socioeconomically, it is a mostly upper-middle-class district. It is where the main campus of Mesa Community College is located as well as technology powerhouses GoDaddy and Intel.

Jennifer Jermaine

Until recently, the district has predominately elected Republican candidates for its local seats. Democrats made their first electoral gains in the district this decade with victories for State Senator Sean Bowie and State Representative Denise “Mitzi” Epstein in 2016.

The party hopes to continue this trend by re-electing Bowie and Epstein to their current positions and electing either Jennifer Jermaine or LaDawn Stuben who will run against Republican State Representative incumbent Jill Norgaard.
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Candidates Offer Surprises as 300+ Democrats Flock to CD2 Congressional Candidate Forum

CD2 Candidates at May 3, 2018 forum

Left to right: Mary Matiella, Billy Kovacs, Matt Heinz, Bruce Wheeler, Barbara Sherry and Yahya Yuksel.

Some 300 people packed Catalina High School yesterday night for the CD2 Congressional Democratic candidate forum held May 3, 2018, by the Represent Me AZ grassroots PAC. Here are the high points:

  • This forum showed what democracy looks like: an open, public and free event, as contrasted with GOP candidate forums which are closed, secretly announced and cost money to attend.
  • Yahya Yuksel

    Yahya Yuksel

    New candidate Yahya Yuksel, an attorney, stole the show with his articulate, quotable and confident presence. Born and raised in Tucson he has worked for Democratic campaigns since he was a teenager, including Gabby Giffords and Mayor Karin Uhlich. “I’m a young Democrat. I’m running because we see a broken Congress, we see constant war, and we see the economy not working for everybody. We need new ideas, not yesterday’s answers,” he says.

  • The candidates seethed with resentment for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) which has offended local Democrats by picking candidates so early in the primary. “It is shameful that the DCCC has taken the task, before you have had a chance to vote to endorse a candidate,” Bruce Wheeler said to loud applause. “The outside interference is something that needs to be countered.”
  • Mary Matiella zinged Matt Heinz with the question, “What are you doing different this time to make sure you win?” In 2016 Heinz lost in his run for Congress in CD2 by 44,000 votes in a race where he relied mostly on TV ads.
  • Ann Kirkpatrick made a mistake by not attending. The forum was an opportunity to capture support and deflect criticism. She leads in fundraising, winning important endorsements, and getting the DCCC support that the other candidates, not surprisingly, begrudge.
  • Heinz zinged the absent Kirkpatrick when asked if he would endorse Kirkpatrick if she wins the primary. “It is important that the Democrats nominate a Democrat, he said to loud applause. “As soon as I hear that, I will absolutely endorse them,” he says. Heinz is the leading attacker of Kirkpatrick, criticizing her northern Arizona origin and long-ago top rating from the NRA. Kirkpatrick lives in Tucson and has a “D” rating from the NRA now.
  • Veteran legislator Bruce Wheeler is apparently running a one-man campaign. He says he personally collected 95% of his signatures to get on the ballot. Wheeler has only $8,686 on hand, so he is not raising funds effectively.
  • After a one-year campaign, Mary Matiella still stumbles over her words and has a hard time making herself clear. In a bizarre argument, she said the EEOC [U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] had been disbanded and should be brought back. This is not true — because the EEOC is still actively litigating discrimination charges and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
  • Bill Kovacs boldly called for de-funding of ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is breaking up undocumented families captured at the border. He also says that marijuana should be removed from the forbidden Schedule 1 list of drugs. His says his mother has chronic Crohn’s disease and is a marijuana patient. “When you look at what marijuana and CBD [Cannabidiol] can do for chronic pain, it is a lifeline for America, he says. 
  • Barbara “Chemtrails” Sherry has become a fringe candidate who currently does not have the 1,274 signatures needed to get on the ballot by the May 30 filing date. She bitterly and incoherently criticized front-runner Kirkpatrick.

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Democratic Party Leaders See Voter Explosion in Arizona LD 18

According to Dr. Janie Hydrick, the top three issues facing the community are public education (the number one issue), safety, and affordable health care.

Situated in their office at 725 East Guadalupe, District Chair Dr. Janie Hydrick and Webmaster Craig Falasco discussed the issues Arizona LD 18 faces this political season and the people-first goals they would like their candidates to pursue to move their community forward.

Encompassing parts of Ahwatukee-Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, and Mesa, this mostly upper-middle-class district is where the main campus of Mesa Community College is located as well as technology powerhouses Go Daddy and Intel.

It has an incumbent Democratic State Senator (Sean Bowie) and one Democratic State Representative (Mitzi Epstein) who are running for reelection. Two other Democrats LaDawn Stuben and Jennifer Jermaine are running for the other representative seat. (See https://ld18democrats.org/elections/#ld18_senate_house)

Voter enthusiasm has exploded

Describing the district as mostly centrist with streaks of both pragmatic and Sanders-style Progressivism, both Hydrick and Falasco contend that voter enthusiasm has exploded since the 2016 election with attendance at their January 2018 meeting showing a nearly four-fold increase from 70 to 240 attendees.

According to Hydrick, people are finding, thanks at first to Hillary Clinton’s Electoral College loss and later to the daily antics and policies of the Trump Administration, the benefits, and the necessity of active citizenship. Their enthusiasm has also grown with the recent Arizona Congressional District Eight results, feeling that the Democrats, with their platform, will be very competitive against the “entitlement reform” agenda of the Republicans in other areas that are less conservative and more diverse and inclusive.

Falasco cautioned that, even with a possible Blue Wave, Democrats have to do the little things that win elections like knocking on doors and making phone calls.

According to Hydrick, the top three issues facing the community are public education (the number one issue), safety, and affordable health care. Furthermore, Hydrick believes that a “quality education, a solid economy based on a work ethic and investing on people, and to restore the American Dream of solid income, a stable life, and retirement security is the key to satisfying the needs of the people in their district.

The District passed a resolution supporting the teacher walkout that started yesterday. Hydrick stated that the Governor and the Republican legislators supported tax cuts instead of fully funding schools. She also maintained that the Republicans had no idea of what was going on in schools and their ideas for solving the school funding issues involved taking funds out of other areas that vulnerable citizens depend on.

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Van Jones Says Democrats and Progressives need to work on Winning and Not Take Anything for Granted.

Van Jones

CNN commentator and author Van Jones said that for Democrats and Progressives to win elections, they cannot just sit and wait for the people to follow them because the masses agree with them on the issues or because most agree that President Trump is unfit to serve. Instead, they need to speak out and make their views known and remain continually persistent and vigilant for the causes they believe in.

He spoke at the Fifth Annual Lecture Series on Delivering Democracy at the Fourteenth Street Pilgrim Rest Baptist church in Phoenix.

Jones said that Democrats and Progressives also can not take any group for granted. The poor white person in Appalachia wants the same life for their kids like the poor black person in the projects. People who believe in God also believe in helping the needy and oppressed. Democrats and Progressives would be wise to reconnect with these groups they have forgotten. If Democrats and Progressives can do all of these things (and it should not be a heavy lift), Progressives and Democrats will have a lot to celebrate after the next few election cycles as long as they remember that they can never stop being proactive and fight to move the country forward.

The lecture was sponsored by the Arizona State University Center for Race and Democracy and hosted by the congregation of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church Ministries. Jones is a community and environmental activist, and former White House Aide to President Obama, and he offered his views on bringing different races, classes, and the religious and secular worlds in our country together.

At a packed Church hall, the congregants gathered for the fifth year to hear Van Jones’ views on Race and Democracy. Many still remembered the contributions of their late Pastor, Bishop Alexis Thomas, and progressive (both secular and religious) activists from organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, East Valley NACCP, The Pat Tillman’s Veterans Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Red for Ed, and Outlawing Dirty Money (an irony because one of the sponsors of the event is APS)

After an excellent performance by the church choir and music group, the event started with the pivotal question, broadcast on a video “What is Democracy?” Following several varying answers from respondents on the video, the key message is that Democracy is the “responsibility of the people” to maintain.

Dr. Stanlie James, the Vice Provost for Inclusion and Community Engagement, echoed this sentiment by relaying the current issues our countries citizens’ face such as the incident with two African American patrons at a Philadelphia Starbucks (Mr. Jones would later ask in his presentation why the police did not arrest the person that made the erroneous/false complaint) or the rising mortality rate of African American Mothers in a “First World Country.” Calling the Center on Race and Democracy “an oasis in the desert” where these issues can be discussed, she cited support from the Obamas as proof that this center is doing good works.

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Ann Kirkpatrick Says Economic Growth, Healthcare, Gun Safety Will Win Back Tucson’s CD2 Seat

Ann kirkpatrick at the March 24 March For OUr Lives against gun violence.

Ann Kirkpatrick (2nd from left) at the March For Our Lives against gun violence.

In an exclusive Blog for Arizona interview, Democratic Congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick identified the big issues to win back the seat in Tucson’s CD2: the economy, healthcare, gun safety and immigration reform.

The district is rated as “leaning Democratic” and was carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016, who beat Donald Trump in CD2 by 4.9%. Many Democrats (and Republican opponents) see her as the front-runner to win the August 28 primary with a field of at least seven other Democrats.

Total donations of $1.3 million

She advanced her lead by raising a total of $1.3 million in donations with $850,000 cash on hand. Results for other candidates will be released soon by the Federal Election Commission.

Kirkpatrick had two record quarters in a row for donations. In the 4th quarter of 2017, she raised $400,000 and in the 1st quarter of 2018, she raised $535,000. Fundraising is a key measure of a candidate’s strength because it pays for staff, office space, phone lines, computers, travel, events, and campaign materials. A candidate with low fundraising is not a serious candidate.

A Congress member for CD1 in northern Arizona from 2013 to 2017, Kirkpatrick has key endorsements: Emily’s list, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and unions representing electricians, building trades, typesetters, and food and commercial workers.

At least 6 of the other Democratic contenders will appear at a candidate forum on Thursday, May 3 from 6:30 to 8 pm at Catalina High School, sponsored by Represent Me AZ. Kirkpatrick had notified the event sponsors that she could not appear because of a long-scheduled private meeting.

Growing the economy
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Plan to Modernize TEP Power Plant in Tucson will Produce More Air Pollution

TEP's Sundt generating station on Irvington Road in Tucson.

TEP’s Sundt generating station on Irvington Road on Tucson’s south side.

Tucson Electric Power is proposing to modernize the Sundt Generating Station  at 4120 E Irvington Rd. in Tucson by replacing two 1950’s era steam units with 10 natural gas-fired combustion engines. The purpose of the new engines is to ramp up more quickly and to balance the variability associated with solar and wind energy generation. But all that ramping spouts more pollution into the air than the current steam units.

TEP claims that these units are part of a larger goal for 30% renewable energy by 2030, but gas-fired engines should not be equated with clean, renewable power from wind and solar. The Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine (“RICE”) units are fossil-fuel based generating units that would create significant greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter (fine particles PM2.5 and coarse particles PM10) and volatile organic compounds.

Over a third of carbon dioxide emissions in the US are from power plants.
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