5 of 7 Democratic TUSD board candidates to speak at DGT


Democrats of Greater Tucson – DGT (www.tucsondemocrats.org) is hosting a forum for Democrats running for the TUSD Governing Board in the General Election of Nov. 2014.  9 candidates are seeking two seats on the board, currently held by incumbents President Adelita Grijalva and Michael Hicks.

Speaking on Monday September 15, at 12 noon at Dragon’s View restaurant, 400 N. Bonita Ave. are registered Democrats:   Rene Bernal, Don Cotton, Jen Darland, Adelita Grijalva, and Betts Putnam-Hidalgo.  Also invited but not attending: Miguel Cuevas (former TUSD school board member) and Francis Saitta.

Although this is a non-partisan race, the 9 candidates’ political party registration is known in the community.  Candidates Michael Hicks and Debe Campos-Fleenor have been speaking at the Pima County Republican Club, and are listed on the candidate page of the Pima County Republican Party, www.pimagop.org.

Bd. member and President Adelita Grijalva has been endorsed by the Tucson Education Assn. and the Tucson Metro Chamber.  Political newcomer  Jen Darland was also endorsed by the latter group. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) is also supporting Grijalva and Darland.

Current TUSD Board member Mark Stegeman (now registered as an Independent, formerly a Democrat) is supporting fellow board member Michael Hicks and candidate Debe Campos-Fleenor, an insurance agent.

Democratic Board member Kristel Foster is supporting fellow board member Adelita Grijalva and parent activist Jen Darland.  Her fellow Democratic board member Cam Juarez is also supporting incumbent Grijalva, who is not endorsing anyone else in this race.  Adelita Grijalva is the one of the daughters of CD 3  Congressman Raul Grijalva.

Republican incumbent board member Michael Hicks is campaigning for re-election and also endorsing fellow Republican Campos-Fleenor.

More on these candidates (with campaign websites) at my earlier post:


A TUSD Governing Board forum  will be held on September 29, 6:30 p.m. at Palo Verde High School.  Go to our Blog for AZ Calendar for more information.  8 of the 9 candidates will be attending, with Francis Saitta declining.

Vote wisely on or before November 4, 2014.




  1. Per TUSD governing board member Kristel Foster (via email on 9/17/14) , both Grijalva & Darland also endorsed by:

    PALF (Pima Area Labor Federation)
    CWA (Communication Workers of America)
    Planned Parenthood
    Arizona List (Democrat Women)

  2. Carolyn makes an important point:

    candidates’ political party registration is known in the community

    Whenever a supposedly non-partisan race becomes de-facto partisan, bad things happen. We have two Republicans running for two seats, plus seven Democrats running for the same two seats. If several of the D candidates are approxmately equally strong, they all lose, because the D vote gets divided several ways while the R vote gets divided only two ways.

    The way things stand, there is serious risk that the November election will produce a perverse result: Candidates who do not enjoy wide support are likely to get elected.

    It could be argued that talking about this problem only makes it worse, but I reckon the cat got out of the bag a long time ago.

    In general, whenever a race is de-facto partisan, good governance demands that something to be done to prevent fratricide. The classic solution is to have a partisan primary. However, in many cases Instant Runoff Voting such as Ranked Preference Voting works even better (and would allow the race to remain at least nominally non-partisan).

    Importune your state legislators at every opportunity: We would be better off with Ranked Preference / Instant Runoff Voting for all races, and double-especially for races that don’t have primaries.

    • Look at the 2010 TUSD race when the candidates’ general election results were:

      Michael Hicks (R) 58,142
      Adelita Grijalva (D) 55,512 (incumbent)
      Miguel Ortega (D) 39,001
      Armand Salese (D) 34, 691

      Many people have indicated to me that the Democrat vote split on the 2nd vote between Miguel and Armand, so both lost to newcomer Michael Hicks.

  3. Four prepared questions to the 5 Dem candidates attending: Rene Bernal, Don Cotton, Jen Darland, Adelita Grijalva and Betts Putnam-Hidalgo were:

    1.Describe a time when you discussed & made decisions on a multi-million dollar budget of either private or public funds. 2. Describe a specific time when you managed to work cooperatively for a common goal with a person who was not an ally for most of your goals. What did you do? 3. What is the benefit or cost of traditional public education compared to charter schools or private schools? 4. Describe a time when you initiated a change which made an organization more effective. No audience questions were allowed.

    Not present: candidate Miguel Cuevas, who sent in a statement saying he had a “prior family commitment”, and candidate Francis Saitta who stated that he would not be on a panel with any of the incumbents in a non-partisan race.

    Also attending today: State Senator Andrea Dalessandro, TUSD board member Cam Juarez, former State Senator Paula Aboud, and former Councilwoman Molly McKasson.

  4. Candidate Betts Putnam-Hidalgo is endorsed by Molly McKasson (past city council member) and Steve Kozachik (current city council member), Steve Gall (public school volunteer and advocate) and many many parents with whom she has worked over the years. She ran two years ago and garnered 25,000 votes.

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