Tag Archives: Invest in Ed Ballot Initiative

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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Citizen Initiatives filed – now comes the challenges to keep them off the ballot

Thursday was the filing deadline for citizens initiatives. Several hot-button initiatives were filed. If they survive signature verification and the inevitable lawsuits from well-funded special interest opponents, this year’s fall campaign will be dominated by a flood of “dark money” negative advertisements from corporate special interests and the Chambers of Commerce. Their privileged plutocrat attitude is that “We own this state! Who are the unwashed masses to tell us what we can do? You will obey!

The AP reports, Arizona ballot initiatives focus on energy, school funding:

Thursday was the deadline for proposed ballot initiatives to file the hundreds of thousands signatures necessary to put a question on the ballot. Three groups of organizers trucked boxes full of petitions to the state Capitol.

The signatures still have to processed and verified. The Arizona Secretary of State’s office has 20 days to complete petition processing. Then counties have 15 days to verify signatures, followed by another three days for the Secretary of State to determine if the initiative qualifies.

Followed by the inevitable lawsuits from well-funded special interest opponents.

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Jennifer Samuels looks to Ride the Red For Ed Wave to a State House Seat in LD 15

LD 15 Democratic State House Candidate Jennifer Samuels

After sorting out which Starbucks to meet at on Tatum Road in Northern Phoenix, Jennifer Samuels enthusiastically relayed why she wants to become one of the Democratic nominees for one of the LD 15 State House Seats in August and ride the Red for Ed Wave to victory in November where she can promote a forward-looking agenda.

LD 15 includes parts or all of Peoria, Phoenix, Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, and Deer Valley. A Democrat has not recently won in this district and Mrs. Samuels is hoping, with her ideas and supporters, to change that and win this November after winning a slot in the Democratic primary this August.

If she wins in the August primary, her two likely Republican opponents will be conservative advocates State Senator Nancy Barto and House Majority Leader John Allen, two reactionaries who, according to Mrs. Samuels, have lost touch with the people in their district, and who feel it is appropriate to sell firearms without background checks, to intrude on a woman’s privacy if she is exercising her right to choose, and to hinder the democratic process by making it harder to put ballot initiatives up for a vote.

Mrs. Samuels feels she can be a better advocate for the people in LD 15 and is running on a pragmatic problem-solving agenda that emphasizes education, school safety, and the economy.

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Democratic Candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction Blast Ducey, Douglas

Kathy Hoffman is An advocate for special needs children, mainstreaming ELL students in order to achieve immersion, and protecting the safety and rights of students in the LGBTQ community.

Kathy Hoffman, Democratic Candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction

United on the issues, Democratic candidates for Superintendent of Public Education Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira relayed why they would be the best nominee to face four Republican challengers, including current Superintendent Diane Douglas.

Meeting at a special Clean Elections-sponsored edition of the PBS news show Horizon, both Hoffman and Schapira blasted Governor Ducey, Superintendent Douglas, and the Republican-led state legislature for failing Arizona’s children and schools. Hoffman also added the elevation of Betsy Devos to Secretary of Education as a cause for concern for Arizona’s educational community. Both candidates want to make sure every child in the state receives a “first-rate education.”

The future starts in school

David Schapira, Progressive Candidate For Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

David Schapira, Democratic Candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction

Saying, “Arizona’s future starts in our schools,” Hoffman relayed that she is running primarily to ensure that all children, including English-language learners (ELL) and special education students, are well educated. The woman’s movement following the election of President Trump and DeVos in the Education Department also motivated her run.

Schapira, a fourth generation Arizonan, commented that, of the two candidates, he is the most experienced having been a teacher, school administrator, school board member, and legislator to become the “first educator in 24 years” to become Superintendent.

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Pawlik and Weichert Offer a Progressive Problem Solving Vision for LD 17

AZ LD 17 State House Candidate Jennifer Pawlik

Over iced tea and ice water at the Starbucks in Chandler, LD 17 Democratic House Candidate Jennifer Pawlik and LD 17 Democratic Senate Candidate Steve Weichert enthusiastically discussed their united vision for taking care of children in poverty, who have been largely forgotten by the current Republican LD state representatives and senator.

The LD 17 District in Arizona contains parts of Gilbert, Chandler, and Sun Lakes. No Democrat has ever claimed victory in this district. Two Republicans in the State House currently represent it. This includes the current House Speaker J.D. Mesnard who has decided to run against Weichert for the State Senate Seat being vacated by State Senate President Steven Yarbrough. Pawlik is the only Democrat running for a seat in the State House.

Arizona Legislative District 17

Arizona Legislative District 17

Pawlik and Weichert are not newcomers to the political arena in Legislative District 17. They ran for the same state legislative seats in 2016 that they are running for today. While the results did not turn out as they hoped in 2016, they feel that three trends will propel them to victory in 2018:

  • The marked increase in voter enthusiasm, ignited by the election of Donald Trump.
  • The insensitivity of the Ducey Governorship and his allies in the state legislature.
  • The spark of the Red for Ed Movement.

Like neighboring LD 18, the Democratic candidates and District Chair Jacob Schmitt see their electoral prospects improving with an increasingly bluer (or purple) population receptive to the centrist problem solving progressive ideas and vision that they offer. Both Pawlik and Weichert have united as a team, tailoring their message to all the people in LD 17, especially those ignored and forgotten by the current Republican leadership in the district who has fallen under the influence of anti-democratic, tax cutting, special and Dark Money interests.

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Moving Forward: What is next for Red For Ed?

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting.

Fresh off the week-long statewide teacher walkout, Red for Ed co-leader Noah Karvelis answered questions on what his organization accomplished and where its members will channel their energies in the coming months. Karvelis expressed happiness with the movement they were able to energize, the “empowerment” Arizona teachers harnessed in the walkout, and the down payment in increasing funds towards our state schools. This was more impressive given that the Red for Ed Movement did not negotiate directly with Governor Ducey or any of his allies.

He acknowledged the contributions of other leading Red for Ed Team Members like Derek Harris, Rebecca Garelli, Dylan Wegela, Vanessa Arredondo, Heather Nieto, Brittani Karbginsky, Kelley Fisher, Kellee Wolfe, and Cat Barrett,

Moving forward,  Karvelis (who is also the campaign manager for Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidate Kathy Hoffman), said that the goals for Red for Ed are to bring education funding to the level where it was in 2008. What passed the State Legislature last week was still $700 million short of restoring parity to our education funding needs. To that end, the movement will champion and campaign for the Invest in Ed Ballot Initiative.

Saying the wealthy should pay their “fair share,” Karvelis expressed reservations about a sales tax to fully fund education, calling it “regressive.” He favors Invest in Education coupled with other measures that would bring in funds from a “devoted revenue source” such as income tax increases with a trigger to adjust funds for inflation.

On other education-related issues, Karvelis conveyed that support staff should perhaps be salaried instead of hourly wage employees. Furthermore, he indicated that a $100,000 grant to the Koch sponsored-centers at Arizona State University and University of Arizona was “highly problematic” and indicative of an organization using public funds to “proliferate their agenda.”  Finally, on Proposition 305, Mr. Karvelis wrote that school vouchers with public funds were a “direct attack on public schools and public education.” He also stated that “public dollars should be spent on public schools, not on vouchers for private and charter schools.”

Mr. Karvelis and his team should be congratulated for the positive change they have helped usher in for Arizona’s public schools. Congratulations and thanks should also be extended to everyone that was willing to fight for better conditions for Arizona children’s schooling. As Karvelis and the other members of Red for Ed would point out, there is a long road moving forward. There are pro-education candidates to support in the November elections.

Voters need to read where each candidate, from both parties, stand on the issues of moving children’s education forward to help make an informed decision. There are ballot initiatives to fight for and against. Finally, there are dark money and open reactionary interests to ward off. If the people make fully informed decisions and objectively evaluate where the candidates stand on the issues, the sun should rise on a bright day on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.