Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
At the Arizona Democratic Party Spring State Committee Meeting in Tucson last Saturday, candidates were given an opportunity to speak. Everyone was surprised when Randy Parraz was introduced as a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Since when?
Turns out that Randy Parraz officially declared his candidacy on Monday. H/t to Arizona Guardian. Here is the link to the candidate's web page Parraz for Change: Randy Parraz for U.S. Senate, Arizona.
Randy Parraz is Director of Programs for Transformative Action Institute:
Randy Parraz is an attorney, community organizer, and executive director of the National Voter Rights Education Project. As a leader of the AFL-CIO, he spent many years advocating on behalf of workers and their families. From church based organizing in East Dallas, to national coalition building on behalf of 20,000 strawberry workers in the fields of California, to coordinating the mobilization of thousands of Canadians across the border from Vancouver to Seattle in protest against the WTO, to spearheading support for the Immigrant Worker Freedom Ride in Arizona, Parraz has experience with many different methods of social change. He is the founder of both the Student Institute for Social Change and the Latino Youth Leadership Institute.
A graduate of U.C. Berkeley, Parraz earned a Master's degree in Public Administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a J.D. at Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. He was a leader in the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and the AFL-CIO for nine years.
Parraz and Sherman were recently recognized as two of the "world's best emerging social entrepreneurs." The global nonprofit organization Echoing Green chose them from among hundreds of international applicants for having "bold, visionary ideas that will change the world."
POLITICO.com and Hispanic Business reported his candidacy announcement. AZ Immigration Law Prompts Hispanic Challenger to Vie for McCain's Seat – HispanicBusiness.com:
The political backlash has begun.
The uproar surrounding Arizona's recent passage of the nation's most stringent immigration law has already produced a new candidate for the Senate seat that has been occupied for 24 years by John McCain: civil rights attorney Randy Parraz.
Parraz will square off in the Democrat primaries against Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman on [August 24], with the winner taking on the Republican victor. In that race, McCain will try to fend off former GOP Congressman J.D. Hayworth, who accuses McCain of being soft on immigration.
Parraz couldn't be reached by press time, but his spokeswoman, Christina Martinez, told Politico that the new immigration law signed last week by GOP Gov. Jan Brewer was "the straw that broke the camel's back."
"For many of us, our spirit has become broken," she told the news Web site. "People don't have the will to take the lead and challenge these folks, so we're relying on Randy to do it."
Illegal immigration issues in Arizona have intensified since the San Diego area tightened its borders in the early 2000s. Hispanics now make up about a third of the Arizona's population, and constitute about 17 percent of the state's eligible voters.
Earlier this month, McCain made a plea to the federal government for an increased National Guard presence, noting that 17 percent of the people caught trying enter Arizona from Mexico had criminal records.
For his part, Parraz has long been a dogged critic of the nation's most controversial sheriff, Joe Arpaio, the head elected lawman of Maricopa County, Arizona, who is known for his aggressive tactics in detaining illegal immigrants.
In September of 2008, Parraz was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing after leading a group of protesters who interrupted a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting by shouting and holding up anti-Arpaio signs. He was aquitted a year later.
The Phoenix New Times reported on how Parraz was targeted by Maricopa County Sheriff deputies for arrest at this Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting. County Supes Critic Randy Parraz Arrested by MCSO During Supes' Do-Over Meeting (w/UPDATE). – Phoenix News (September 29, 2008):
In what will surely be viewed as a black day for the Maricopa County Supervisors' relations with the public, Randy Parraz, an organizer with the Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability, was arrested outside of the Supervisors' auditorium this morning. The arrest came during an MCSA demonstration demanding that the Supes address Sheriff Joe Arpaio's abuses of power.
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Last week, MCSA enacted a similar demonstration, whereby its members interrupted a BOS meeting, demanding that the Supes address their concerns about Arpaio's racial profiling, and other issues. About 300 demonstrators exited that BOS meeting singing My Country Tis of Thee and waving American flags. Sheriff's deputies, who provide security for Supervisors meetings, then locked the doors, preventing reporters, MCSA demonstrators and other members of the public from entering or re-entering. This, in direct violation of Arizona's open meetings law.
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What does this say about the BOS, that it first violates the state's open meetings law, then a member of the public, a critic of the Supes, is arrested outside the meeting on public property? It says that the BOS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office, and part of a police state which rules this county with an iron fist.
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UPDATE: Witnesses to Parraz's arrest report that Parraz was targeted by a small contingent sheriff's deputies after he exited the auditorium where the BOS meeting was being held. Though other protesters were present nearby Parraz when MCSO ordered them away from the building, they were not encircled and nabbed, as was Parraz.