Tag Archives: Gabby Giffords

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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All in the family: 3 Hernandez siblings running for election in 2018

L to R: Consuelo Hernandez, LD 2 Rep. Daniel Hernandez Jr.,Alma Hernandez – photo taken by their mother (also named Consuelo)

Three siblings in Tucson, all named Hernandez are running for election in 2018. Daniel is running for LD 2 House (re-election), Consuelo for Sunnyside School District Governing Board, Alma for LD 3 House.  They are having a joint fiesta campaign kickoff on February 15 (scroll down to bottom for flyer).

One-term Democrat LD 2 House Rep. Daniel Hernandez Jr, seeking re-election to his House seat. He defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Chris Ackerley 32,651 to 28,506 in Nov. 2016. (The other House Rep. Democrat incumbent Rosanna Gabaldon got 32,495 votes.) Daniel has also served on the Sunnyside School District Governing Board as President, and was the Congressional intern who assisted then CD-8 Congresswoman Gabby Giffords after she was shot in the head, at the Tucson mass shooting on 1/8/11.

His youngest sister Alma is now running for LD 3 House, where there will be 2 open seats, as LD 3 House Rep. Macario Saladate is retiring, and Rep. Sally Gonzales is running for state senate in that same district. Also running for the House in LD 3 now is current LD 3 Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, and political newcomer (but involved in Dem politics for years) Andres Cano, a Special Staff Assistant to Pima County District 5 Supervisor Richard Elias.

Alma recently got her M.P.H. from the U of Arizona, and has been active in Democratic politics for years. Recently she led Arizonans United for Healthcare working to defeat the repeal of the ACA (Affordable Care Act).

Their middle sister Consuelo is running for Sunnyside School District Governing Board, where her brother currently sits. She is a case worker for the International Rescue Committee in Tucson.  Daniel is not running for re-election on the SUSD board (after 2 terms), so Consuelo is running for one of 2 seats. The other SUSD board member  up for re-election is Eva Carrillo Dong.

All 3 of these siblings went to the Democratic National Convention in July, 2016 as delegates.

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The AZ GOP ‘targets’ Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick with bullet hole-ridden poster

Here we go again, Republicans “targeting” Democrats with violent imagery. First it was the halfling governor of Alaska, the Quitta from Wasilla Sarah Palin, putting crosshairs on Rep. Gabby Giffords, among others, and now it is the Arizona Republican Party putting a bullet hole in Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s chest. Nothing suggestive there, oh no. What could possibly go wrong?

The Arizona Republic reports, Ann Kirkpatrick’s Senate campaign decries Arizona GOP ‘Wanted’ poster:

U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s Senate campaign is objecting to an Arizona Republican Party “Wanted” poster that features her photo with mock bullet holes.

WantedKirkpatrick

(Photo: Arizona Republican Party)

Kirkpatrick’s campaign issued a statement calling it a “gross political attack” that recalls the Jan. 8, 2011, assassination attempt on then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who suffered a near-fatal gunshot wound to the head in a mass shooting near Tucson.

“Arizonans have witnessed, firsthand, how inciteful rhetoric and imagery can influence acts of aggression and violence towards elected officials,” Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Tameron added in a written statement. “Today’s political stunt by the Arizona Republican Party illustrates not only a lack of judgment, but a complete disregard of the tragedy that traumatized so many Arizonans on January 8, 2011.”

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Gabby & Mark Want You to Vote (video)

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband and former astronaut Mark Kelly want you to vote for strong Democrats and responsible solutions to gun violence.

The AZ Republic believes that Gabby Giffords is rude for, and also isn’t capable of, talking about gun violence.

Crossposted at DemocraticDiva.com

pearl clutch

We don’t get the physical AZ Republic anymore so I missed yesterday’s editorial wherein the ed board wheezed itself into a paroxysm of umbrage over an ad that Gabby Giffords’ and Mark Kelly’s Responsible Solutions PAC are running in opposition to Tucson Congressional candidate Martha McSally (R). The ad depicts a mother who lost her husband and daughter to the daughter’s deranged ex-boyfriend who was easily able to get a gun thanks to decades of politicians caving in to the gun lobby in every way possible.

Actually the Republic op-ed came to my attention through this Politico piece in which Alex Isenstadt said the dumbest thing ever uttered on Politico. Continue reading

Tucson City Council advances gun background check resolution: Voice your opinion at Feb 5 meeting (video)

Gun-buttonby Pamela Powers Hannley

During today's study session, Tucson's City Council voted unanimously to advance a resolution which would require background checks on every gun purchase that occurs on city-owned or city-managed property. The resolution further states that there will be "no permits for gun shows on City owned or managed property until the provisions of the above are enacted." 

City attornies said that since this is a resolution and not an ordinance it does not conflict with state law.

Today's vote paves the way for a council vote on the resolution on February 20, but citizens can use the February 5 (tonight) City Council meeting call to the audience to voice their opinions on this matter. Here is the link to the proposal brought forward by Council members Steve Kozachik and Karin Uhlich. More background and a video of local leaders talking about gun control after the jump.

Since the Sandy Hook massacre, Kozachik has been a vocal proponent for gun reform. He suffered immense criticism from fellow Republicans for talking about the need for sensible gun control reforms and for spearheading a gun buy-back program earlier this month. In fact, the Republicans' over-the-top negative response to his actions were a factor in Kozachik's high-profile defection from the Republican Party a few weeks ago. Some background from Kozachik's CNN Op-Ed…

In defiance of Newton's law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, any discussion of legitimate controls on the use, handling and sale of firearms routinely yields an explosive overreaction of opposition. I learned that firsthand when I organized a voluntary gun buyback program for January 8 in Tucson, Arizona.

It was the tipping point for me to change my party affiliation from Republican to Democratic.

On January 8 in 2011, a seriously deranged young man murdered six people, including a 9-year-old girl, and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabby Giffords, during a 45-second shooting rampage in Tucson. He was finally subdued when he stopped to change clips in his semiautomatic weapon, after firing 31 rounds.

In the immediate aftermath, our community came together as one in our grieving over the deaths and in our resolve to do what we could to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

But the irrational fears of the gun lobby succeeded in shouting down the debate, and in the intervening two years not a single piece of meaningful legislation has been adopted that would even begin to solve the problem.

I was the target of some of that violent overreaction in the two weeks leading up to the buyback. Thinly veiled threats were leveled at me. I was referred to as "Hitler." The response made it clear the event I was planning hit a nerve among a group who evidently believe the proper disposal of a firearm is tantamount to the desecration of a holy icon.

Guns are not fetish objects. The buyback was simply an offer to people who were uncomfortable with having a weapon in their homes to trade those weapons into the Tucson Police Department in exchange for a $50 grocery gift card. More than $10,000 in gift cards were distributed during the event.

The money I used to buy those cards was donated in just under two weeks by Tucson residents, who still cling to the hope we will re-engage on the topic of rational gun control. They showed that the loud voices are not going to shout down the discussion this time around.

But on the periphery of my buyback, and on the periphery of rational discourse, was a group of gun and NRA enthusiasts holding a "cash for guns" firearms flea market. They held it on the boundary of the police department parking lot in which my buyback was taking place.

In Arizona, it is legal for a person to walk up to another on a street corner, hand him cash for a firearm and simply walk off with it, with no need for a background check into his psychological or criminal history. That was exactly what happened with those who came to my buyback to "score some deals" on weapons by outbidding the gift cards I was offering.

I was a Republican at the time, but less than one week after the buyback, I chose to switch parties. I believe there is a centrist element among the rank and file in the GOP, but the leadership is led by the far right and openly beholden to the NRA and the gun lobby. It is that rigid ideology that is driving the party into irrelevancy. The overreaction to the gun buyback made it clear that, in Tucson at least, the Republican Party is out of touch with the values of the community. [Emphasis added. Go here for the rest of the story.]

Related Stories:

Tucson Cracks Down On Gun Shows, Requires Background Checks

How many gun shows is too many?

Tucson Ward 6 Political Forum & Roast: Gun Violence

Gun Appreciation Day: Did it backfire? (video)