Category Archives: Political Events

Save Our Schools Town Hall Today

July8Tucson (1)

Are you concerned about funding for public education? Do you want to help protect our schools? Join Sen. Steve Farley, Rep. Dr. Randall Friese and others this Saturday for a panel-style education town hall.

WHERE: St. Francis In The Foothills United Methodist Church, 4625 East River Road, Tucson, AZ 85718.

***This will be an interactive event! What do you want to ask our panel? Send those questions to nikkileeaz@gmail.com so we can make sure you have the opportunity to get answers.***

Come talk to your elected officials and speak with education experts from around the state. Discuss the Arizona teacher crisis, the economic impact of defunding public education, and more. Learn about Save Our Schools Arizona, a group of concerned parents and teachers organizing around the clock to stop voucher expansion and demand that our legislators protect public schools. Receive training on how to gather signatures for SOSAZ, check out petitions, get completed petitions notarized, and drop them off to be turned in!

There is limited seating, so please reserve your free ticket to this event today!

 Click Here to Reserve Tickets 

The Big Bad Wolf Food Truck & Nhu Lan Vietnamese Food Truck will be on-site with delicious breakfast and lunch food for purchase. 


Agenda:

9:30 – Check in, mingle, and sign the SOS AZ petition to put SB1431 on the Nov 2018 ballot.

10:00 – 10:45 – Hear from your elected officials, Senator Steve Farley & Rep. Dr. Randy Friese

10:45 – 11:30 – Interact with your elected officials and a panel of education experts and discuss topics like the Arizona teacher crisis, the economic impact of taking more money out of public education, and more!

11:30 – 12:30 – Enjoy some local eats from some great Tucson Food Trucks & come back inside to get training and support on SOS AZ petitions. We will have training, notary, pickup, and drop off services on-site.


Speakers & Panelists:

Steve Farley – Gubernatorial Candidate & State Senator from LD9

Dr. Randall Friese – AZ House of Representatives from LD9

Katie Rogerson – Chief Operating Officer for Tucson Values Teachers

Jen Darland – VP of the Arizona Education Network

Jason Freed – Public School Teacher, President of Tucson Education Association

Moderator: Nikki Lee – Parent & Community Organizer

Billy Kovacs Congressional Kickoff Snubs Lifelong Democrats

Billy Kovacs at June 2017 campaign kickoff

Billy Kovacs officially launched his congressional campaign at a bar in Tucson, snubbing lifelong Democrats who were meeting at the exact same time, four miles away.

The kickoff was held in the student drinking district of the city with a crowd of 200 people. It was short on specifics and long on his slogan, “new voice…new direction…new generation of leadership.”

Kovacs repeated the slogan as he addressed attendees for two minutes. He made some kind of comment about Congressional District 2 being “not Democratic, Republican, or a swing district.” The crowd of young, old, men, women, mothers, children and friendly dogs loved it.

On the plus side, Kovacs is tall (6 foot 5), handsome, age 30, skinny and self-effacing. He’s running a youth-oriented campaign targeting Millennials, who sat out the last election. To his credit, he has visited 40 cities in the district and talked to people “who haven’t seen a Democrat in 10 years.”

His approach makes sense. If you’re a Johnny-come-lately, you should listen more than you talk. But it would have been great to hear what he thinks about:

Climate change

Medicare for all

Senior citizens

Repeal and replace Obamacare

the Tucson economy

Funding the A-10

…you know, current events. He’ll have to address these points if he’s going to win against a woman Air Force fighter pilot who’s backed by donations from warmonger John Bolton to car dealer Jim Click.

To support Kovacs:
https://www.kovacsforcongress.com, https://www.facebook.com/kovacsforcongress, Email: info@kovacsforcongress.com.

Meanwhile, Democrats met up the road

Congressional District 2

Because I’m an elected precinct captain, I had to move on to the regular meeting of Democrats in legislative District 9. It was taking place ten minutes away at a local church building.

Candidates make a point of appearing there for the “2-minute talks,” where they can promote their campaigns to lifelong Democrats who actually vote.

Katie Hobbs, candidate for Arizona Secretary of State

State Senator Katie Hobbs

For example, speakers included Katie Hobbs, a candidate for Arizona Secretary of State. She argued persuasively that the Republican incumbent has bungled handling state elections, costing voters confidence in the system. Hobbs is the Arizona Senate minority leader and a former state representative.

That’s when I wondered where Billy Kovacs was. Maybe he’ll come around because it’s early in the campaign.

The meeting attracted 160 people (and only 30 seniors like me). Comfortingly, it began with the Pledge of Allegiance before an American flag.

State Senator Steven Farley

State Senator Steven Farley

One report mentioned state Senator Steve Farley, a familiar face at these meetings, who is running for Governor. He is facing Arizona State University professor David Garcia in the primary. Like Kovacs, Farley intends to meet voters in person.

Another report urged Democrats to sign the Save Our Schools petition, which supports our neighborhood schools and will defeat vouchers in Arizona. The group needs to collect 10,000 signatures by July 31. Their next event is on July 9 in Phoenix, a happy hour with LD28 Rep. Kelli Butler, Phoenix City Council candidate Kevin Patterson, and Madison School Board member Scott Holcomb.

Susan Bickel reported that a whopping 600 people have become precinct captains in Pima County — up from 140 in January! She has done a totally awesome job of creating a network that Democratic candidates can rely on. Help her by sending her an email offering to become a precinct captain (PC). If you’re already a PC, offer to be an LD9 territory coordinator.

Rep.-Elect Pamela Powers Hannley

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

My heroine, state Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, said there was a huge demographic shift in Arizona last month: we are now 50% women and majority Latino. This will make a big difference in the 2018 elections.

Highlighting the change she said, “I hear women with gray hair talking about not getting equal pay for equal work,” she said. “Men are talking about being raised by single moms.”

The closer for the evening was UofA Sr. Associate Research Scientist Jeffrey S. Kargel (who is a new PC in LD11). He reported that Arizona is now the #1 place in the US to experience the pace of global warming. We just went through the longest +115 degree streak in history in Tucson.

“Our high temps are a glimpse into the future,” he said. “The climate here is changing fundamentally. We used to get 5-7 day heat spells. Now we get heat spells for weeks.”

6 Surprising Democratic Candidates Vow to Oust Martha Motormouth McSally

Updated July 4, 2017

The mission to oust right-winger Martha “Motormouth” McSally from her Congressional seat launched this week as a suprising array of Democratic candidates made their pitches to progressive loyalists.

The first candidates’ forum was sponsored by the brand-new McSally Take a Stand PAC. The registration of the PAC, with 1,150 members, is exciting because there is no limit to the donations you can make to it.

Inspiring the attendees, most of the candidates supported Medicare for All. The Arizona Democratic Party State Committee has united in support of HR-676 -Medicare For All — single-payer health care.

Here’s my scorecard (also see the latest Scuttlebutt below).

Dropped out. #1 Alison Jones, a water scientist,  hydrogeologist and past president of the Arizona Geological Society. She works at Clear Creek Associates, a company that does well design, water supply, and contaminated sites investigations. The political newbie was articulate, smart and organized.  She was only candidate with handout materials — hitting all the progressive notes about climate change, humane immigration, sustainable water policy, pro-choice, support the middle class, LGBT rights and sensible gun laws.

She was only candidate with handout materials — hitting all the progressive notes about climate change, humane immigration, sustainable water policy, pro-choice, support the middle class, LGBT rights and sensible gun laws.

I love scientists and she’s assembling a team of them to advise her. It will take a woman to beat McSally. I wish Alison had elected office experience and an existing base.

Best line: “Martha, how can you sleep at night?”

To support her: https://www.facebook.com/Jonesing4AZ/, Phone 520-230-1249, Email: aj4az2@gmail.com

#2 Billy Kovacs, a 30-year old who is the new Operations Manager for the Congress Hotel. The political newbie is tall, articulate, charismatic, handsome and young. His LinkedIn profile shows he has a lot of business experience for a kid. Did I mention he’s young and will attract Millennials who are 25% of the Tucson population?

A diamond in the rough, Billy can ride the wave of new, young volunteers who are flooding the Democratic Party. Before the election, I went to meetings of precinct committeemen and was let down by all the white hair I saw. And I say this speaking as a senior citizen myself. After Inauguration Day, these meetings have quadrupled in attendance and were moved to a bigger location. As Bob Dylan sang in 1963, “Don’t stand in the doorway, Don’t block up the hall, For the times they are a-changin.’” Let’s let the younger people take over.

I wish he had elected office experience and an existing base.

Best line: “We need to reach young people who haven’t seen a Democrat knocking on their doors.”

To support him: https://www.kovacsforcongress.com/, https://www.facebook.com/kovacsforcongress, Email: info@kovacsforcongress.com.

#3 Bruce Wheeler, an experienced legislator who was Assistant Minority Leader in the Arizona state house. He has served from 1975-1978, and 2010-2017. Bruce has done a lot for Arizona, sponsoring 71 progressive bills in the house.

He is the favorite of seasoned precinct committeemen, who are holding house parties for him now.  I can see why: he is for Medicare for All, a fair immigration policy, combating climate change, securing a woman’s right to choose, jobs not jails, stopping dark money, gay rights and eliminating school vouchers.

He quoted Martin Luther King and Noam Chomsky and said hello to Randy Friese from the podium. Friese is Assistant Minority Leader and a shining hope for Democrats. Bruce has been elected three times, and all of his constituency is in McSally’s congressional district.

I just wish he were as exciting as Governor candidate Steve Farley. I wonder if he can beat a female A-10 pilot in the election.

Best line: “We are optimists who can turn this around. CD2 is winnable.”

To support him: http://wheelerforcongress2018.com/, Email: bwheeler48@gmail.com, Phone 520-609-7800.

#4 Mary S. Matiella, a former US Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller), appointed by Obama. She has three key advantages: she’s a woman, a Latina and ex-military.

The daughter of migrant workers who grew up in Marana and Picacho, she told heart-rending stories of a childhood without medical care.

Today she is an alumna of the Eller College, where she earned her MBA in 1976. She was the youngest person in her MBA class, the only woman, and the only minority candidate. She has 33 years of military and federal government experience. She supports free public education, a woman’s right to choose, and labor unions.

Mary has the support of Bill Roe, a longtime leader among Arizona Democrats who is the party’s first vice chair. Tim Steller interviewed her for the Arizona Daily Star.

Best line: “Without free pubic education, we cannot give hope to the children who play in the dirt.”

Support her at: matiella@gwu.edu, phone: 703-321-6447.

#5 Charlie Verdin, an odd guy with no particular points. He is running “to create a better vision of representative democracy.”

Chris Wright

#6 Chris Wright, a guy with a beer belly in a blue t-shirt, gym shoes and white cargo pants. Best line: “I do have a clue.” He just launched a Star Treck Facebook page.

No-shows: Jeff Latas, Matt Heinz, Lou Jordan, Ann Kirkpatrick, Joshua Polacheck.

Scuttlebutt

Randy Friese told me he waiting to see if a strong candidate emerges in the McSally race. If there is, he might run against US Sen. Jeff Flake, who may face serious primary challenges from Trump lackeys like State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, onetime state GOP boss Robert Graham, and wacko crackpot Kelli Ward.

Ann Kirkpatrick has moved to Tucson from Flagstaff and Ron Barber is trying to draft her. She was a Congresswoman from Arizona’s 1st district from 2009 to 2011 and 2013 to 2017.

Tamar Rala Kreiswirth, founder of The Arizona Ground Game (where I am a steering committee member) passionately reminded us that 25% of Arizona Democrats did not vote in the last election. In McSally’s district, there are 122,000 registered Democrats, 116,000 registered Republicans and 104,000 independents and others. TAGG is a grass-roots group that supports precinct committeemen like me by recruiting neighborhood Guides. The Ground Game encourages active citizenship through neighborhood building and public policy education. See AZGroundGame.org.

Richard Elías, a Pima County Supervisor Supervisor is the new Chairman of the Nucleus Club, whose memberships pay the mortgage on the Pima Democratic Party office on E. 1st Street. Meetings are on the second Thursday of the month at the Viscount Suite Hotel, 4855 E Broadway starting at 5:30 pm with cocktails and appetizers. The programs start at 6:00 pm. I fondly remember the late Martin Bacall who always encouraged me to attend the meetings.


Larry Bodine is an elected Democratic Precinct Committeeman in Precinct #238.

DNC announces grassroots ‘Resistance Summer’

The Democratic National Committee announced this week its grassroots 50 state party building  “Resistance Summer” program. Press release:

DNC Announces Major Nationwide Resistance Summer Program to Bolster State Parties

DNC and State Democratic Parties Will Collaborate on Local Organizing Efforts Designed to Bolster State Parties, Win Elections Up-And-Down the Ticket

WASHINGTON – Today, the Democratic National Committee announced a major nationwide Resistance Summer program designed to bolster state parties in order to win down-ballot races. The DNC will partner with state parties and external allies to invest in local organizing projects over the summer, which will increase the party’s capacity to elect Democrats up-and-down the ballot in 2017, 2018, and beyond.

The mission of Resistance Summer is to educate, organize, and mobilize grassroots energy from Democrats in all 57 states, territories, and Democrats Abroad to help build our party’s base of political power and resist Trump’s attacks on hardworking families.

The program is a competitive matching grant program, where the DNC will approve and fund programs that will be executed by state parties. Recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective, each grant proposal will be unique to the state’s strategic priorities and organizational capacity. Part of these plans must incorporate, where legally possible, partners and allies.

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Save Our Schools Arizona referendum to overturn the ‘vouchers for all’ bill

For activists looking to channel their energy into something more productive than attending marches, their dance cards just got filled for the long hot Arizona summer. Time to get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Last week former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson formed “Voters of Arizona” (no web site yet) to file referendums against the Chamber of Commerce organizations’ bills to effectively strip Arizonans of their constituional right to enact laws by citizens initiatives in Arizona. Expect to hear more about this in coming weeks.

Now the long anticipated referendum to overturn the “vouchers for all” bill passed by anti-public education Tea-Publcans in the Arizona legislature is ready to launch as well. The Arizona Republic reports, Parent group will seek to overturn Arizona school-voucher expansion:

Public-education advocates are launching a referendum campaign to halt the controversial expansion of Arizona’s school-voucher-style program.

Members of the group “Save Our Schools Arizona” said they will file paperwork this week and begin gathering signatures to refer their proposal to the November 2018 ballot. The group has planned a rally and news conference on Monday at 5 p.m. at the state Capitol.

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Rally to Stop Trumpcare on Tuesday – Tucson (Updated)

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) said “if it takes a Democrat” to explain House Republicans’ healthcare bill, he’s willing to do it. House Democrat offers to hold town halls for Republicans:

Maybe a Democrat ought to go into every district where a Republican who supported TrumpCare won’t hold a town hall meeting, and do it for them,” he said during an interview on MSNBC.

“I think every Republican who voted for this thing ought to have to stand in front of their voters and explain it,” Maloney said.

“And if it takes a Democrat to go in and do it for them for a while, I’ll explain what’s in this bill, and if he doesn’t like it, he should stand up and explain it himself.”

Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) has taken up his challenge and he will hold a town hall in Tucson to explain the vote of Rep. Martha “Let’s get this fucking thing done!” McSally, the “cowardly lion” who is cowering in her chicken bunker too afraid to stand before her constituents to explain her vote to take away your health care. See op-ed by Dr. Matt Heinz, Martha McSally wrong on repeal of health law.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 3.44.15 PM

What: Rally to Stop Trumpcare

When: Tuesday, May 9, 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:00 p.m.)

Where: Rincon High School, 421 N. Arcadia Avenue (5th Street and Swan Road), Tucson, AZ

RallytoStopTrumpcare

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