In November, voters in Arizona and across the nation will go to the polls to elect new members to the House of Representatives and a third of the United States Senate. In this first election after the contest that thrust popular vote loser Donald Trump into the White House, Democrats will seek to build on the Congressional gains they achieved in 2016 and reach out to a surging group of enthusiastic voters who want a new direction for the country.
Needing 25 Representative seats, Democrats see this election as a major opportunity, with clear majorities rejecting the Republican program and Trump in particular, to gain control of the House for the first time since 2010. One of the seats Democrats hope to “flip” is the one occupied by Arizona Congressional Six Incumbent David Schweikert. Congressional District Six in Arizona includes all or parts of Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Carefree Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Glendale, and Phoenix. Currently embattled in a political scandal that has seen the departure of his chief of staff, three Democrats are vying this year to be the candidate to defeat him this November. They are Anita Malik, Heather Ross, and Garrick McFadden.
Over beverages and to die for Volcano Brownies at the Coffee Bean on Miller and Indian School in Scottsdale, Anita Malik, a wife and mother of two sons and two canines, conveyed why she is the best candidate to take on Schweikert and defeat him in November. Below are the questions and answers to a series of questions to the interview Ms. Malik took part in.
1) Please tell the readers about your background and preparation for the office you are seeking?
“I started my career in the tech industry and also have a masters in Journalism from USC (she also graduated from Chaparral High School in the district). I have paired the two over the years to work at the forefront of digital media and content tech. It all started at the beginning of tech in Arizona, some 20 plus years ago, when I was a business analyst for MicroAge. From there I worked across industries bringing tech and process efficiencies to manufacturing, healthcare, government agencies and more. I would later go on to work at The Arizona Republic and was Deputy Director of ASU’s Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. More recently, I was the COO of ClearVoice.”
“My background and accomplishments in the tech industry will play a vital role in Congress, especially in the areas of consumer protection, privacy, and blockchain technology. Additionally, my experiences in entrepreneurship will bring a fresh perspective to a dysfunctional Washington.”
“My entrepreneurial projects have often struck a chord nationally. In 2004, I founded East West Magazine, a national publication celebrating the pan Asian-American life. I was also featured on FOLIO’s “40 Under 40” list for my ability to eloquently promote and support a multicultural America.”
2) What are at least three local issues the people in this district view as needing to be addressed?
The top three issues the people have told Ms. Malik they want to be addressed are “healthcare, education, and gun safety.”
3) Please describe two ways you can address these issues better than your opponent?
Health Care: “He (Schweikert) wants to dismantle the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and I want universal coverage and get there incrementally. We need to protect what they want to take away (protecting preëxisting conditions) and start universal health care by building on C.H.I.P. (Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program and Medicare.”
Gun safety: Ms. Malik is not “bought by the N.R.A. (National Rifle Association)” She feels that campaign finance is a top issue. She pledges not to take corporate tax money and work for and pass common-sense gun legislation.
Education: She is a proponent of early childhood education whereas Schweikert has no view. According to her, in order “to have a prosperous economy we need a vibrant public education system.”
4) How would you rate yourself as a potential legislator and how would you rate your opponents’ current performance as a legislator and please give at least two reasons for both parts.
“Schweikert’s vote has been bought, and it shows. Zero percent for example from League of Conservation Voters. Furthermore, he has a three percent 2016 rating from the Alliance for Retired Americans and zero percent from the Pro Retiree score.”
5) What are at least two personal qualities you offer that your opponent does not?
Ms. Malik believes that a successful office holder needs to be a “Compassionate (listener).” From her experience in the business world and technology, she believes you need to be there to listen and make employees part of the team. In her view, Schweikert does “not listen to the voters.”
She also feels she would bring honesty and transparency if elected. She criticizes Schweikert for taking Dark Money campaign donations and chastises him for falsely “saying that Democrats are being violent and aggressive in their activism.” She believes that office holders, like her Republican opponent “should not do things that incite fear or are untruthful.”
6) Would you put this district in the Liberal Progressive or Pragmatic Progressive Camp or Centrist?
“I would say that the Democratic voters of CD6 are definitely of the pragmatic progressive type. They are hungry for change. For example, a key part of my campaign platform is that, while universal health care coverage needs to be the end-goal, it might not be immediately attained. That is why I’m fighting for an iterative process.”
The “iterative process means to keep widening the system, covering more people while building out to a true American universal health care plan that works for everyone.”
“Some steps to illustrate: which would include combining the strengths of our current health care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and VA and moving forward with a public option for a segment of our population until we’re ready to take the step toward universal health care.”
7) What are two reasons your message is better than the Republican one of your opponent for this district?
“Well for one, I don’t believe that we should put kids who seek refuge in cages. Second, I don’t pretend to be fiscally responsible as I give trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.”
8) What is your view and proposals on the following issues?
Ms. Malik, a mother of two sons, is a big proponent for Head Start and other Pre K programs which needs to be universal and accessible for all Americans. She is a strong supporter of public schools and does not believe they should be dismantled in favor of charter and vouchers.
With regards to student loans and Pell Grants, she stated, “I believe that every student must have access to an affordable college education. In order to pay for this, I would establish a tax on Wall-Street speculation/change in the way we tax capital gains that could be invested into the FAFSA program and then work with states to develop strong merit-based community college programs and vocational training options.”
In reference to Dreamers, she feels that “all Dreamers must have access to a quality education. To ensure such quality education, Dreamers must feel as if they are in a safe and accepting environment where their immigration status does not serve as a discriminating factor. Not only that, but there must be resources to guide Dreamers with the college education process and financial aid so that they may succeed and contribute to our economy.
The Tax Cut Passed last year.
Ms. Malik believes that the “pass-through breaks for the middle class were a good idea” but “should be tiered on a progressive basis.” The “tax cuts for corporations need to be accounted for according to a healthy worker-healthy economy. Are you (corporations) going to invest in your workers or stock buybacks?”
How to improve the state and national economic infrastructure.
- Broadband Infrastructure: “This is critical to our economy. This is especially important in low income and rural areas. This and net neutrality are important issues that are the foundation of opportunity.”
- Roads, Bridges, and Railway Infrastructure: “The physical infrastructure in the United States is in terrible condition. According to a report by the Society of Civil Engineers, Arizona received a C- grade in infrastructure quality, while the United States as a whole received a D+ grade. Specifically, Arizona scores very poorly in the categories of Roads and the physical quality of our schools. We need to appropriate new funding for infrastructure in order to improve it to a level of quality that is becoming of a first world-nation.”
- Natural Resource Infrastructure: “The Trump administration has launched an assault on America’s national parks. It has opened up a significant portion of national park land for drilling and deforestation. Our national parks are valuable because they provide a way for all Americans to see the pristine beauty of our nation, and they provide a means for recreation and family bonding. If we lose even a portion of our national parks, a part of its beauty will potentially be lost forever. Maintaining our national parks needs to be a significant priority.”
- Cultural like theaters and symphonies: “In its annual budgets, the Trump administration has repeatedly cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities. I believe that having access to the arts enriches all of our lives and that all Americans should have access to the arts. I would completely restore the funding that has been lost to the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.”
- Oceanographic and Space Exploration: “Continue to expand and research” these areas. “Schweikert called climate science arrogant.” We “need opportunities for innovation including investing in innovation, cyber defense, and protecting the planet as well as exploring the Moon and Mars.
Providing Good Paying Jobs:
She believes in “pairing private and public resources (community colleges, for example) to create job growth around innovation and commercialization of emerging technologies. Well paying jobs are critical.”
- Obamacare: The goal should be eventually “Medicare for all.” “I support a single-payer model but we need to talk to people about their fears. What do we do if we cannot get single payer? How do we repair the ACA? What incremental steps are needed while working towards the ultimate goal?”
- Trump plans to dismantle Obamacare: “Bad Idea.”
- Should the government negotiate for cheaper drug prices? “Yes.”
Trade: Please explain your views. Do you favor free trade or protectionism; N.A.F.T.A. and W.T.O.?
“It is universally agreed on by both liberal and conservative economists that free trade policies are beneficial to the United States. Any form of tariff will hinder economic growth. Even if the economy is booming, having tariffs in place means that economic growth is not living up to its full potential. We also need to also protect small businesses and avoid trade wars.”
Reducing Poverty and Homelessness like affordable housing, food stamps, work requirements, and raising the minimum wage and earned income tax credit.
Ms. Malik believes in pursuing the following ideas to make people more successful and reduce poverty and homelessness rates:
- A Livable Wage tied to inflation.
- Wage insurance for the gaps (independent contractor world)
- Debt free loans in economically disadvantaged areas should be encouraged.
- She does not believe in work requirements for food stamps.
Private Prisons vs. Public Prisons:
She does not favor privatizing prisons.
Sentencing for Criminal Reform: should people get harsh sentences for non-violent crimes.
“The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. A key reason for this is mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent crimes such as narcotics possession. This sentencing often disproportionately applies to African-Americans, even though they use marijuana at a rate roughly equivalent to Caucasians. Even so, it is a gross injustice that people should spend decades in prison for a nonviolent offense, and in addition, it costs taxpayers $80 billion per year.”
“I believe gun safety is one of the most vital issues of our time. School shootings such as Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas have left children in fear of going to school. Today’s youth are banding together against gun violence, and we must listen to our future’s voices. How many more children need to die before we change the law? The Second Amendment, while essential, is not absolute. We need to remove AR-15s, bump stocks, and military grade weapons from the street. These are not a necessity of the Second Amendment. We need to implement greater background checks, prevent people from severe mental illnesses from obtaining firearms, and prevent those on Terror Watch Lists such as the No Fly List from obtaining firearms.”
There is a “green card backlog. We should be the foundation of family and not keep them in limbo. These are people paying taxes and are law abiding. Their kids are going to school. The government needs to reform and needs to provide emotional security for those that are here. Merit-Based only immigration is not the solution. We must retain diversity based policies as well.”
“ I support strong borders. What has happened with family separation is targeted racism. What about our other borders (Canada and our coastlines.)? We need a clean Dream Act and Comprehensive Immigration Reform. That is why this House seat matters so we can get Comprehensive Immigration Reform so we can vote based on these values.”
Do you support a wall? No.
“The United States spends more on its military than the next seven closest nations combined. We will easily be able to keep the United States secure while spending far less money. The money that we would be spending on the military could be diverted elsewhere, such as renewed funding for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.” Investments in the military should include greater funding for Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity.
Foreign Relations with N.A.T.O allies
“I believe that we need to continue to play a vital role in NATO. Our NATO allies have played a significant role in bringing stability to the world, and we must continue to be a part of that effort going forward. NATO’s political and military role is instrumental in combating terrorism and piracy, deterring aggressive state actors, and serving as an intelligence and cipher security firewall for the free world. We need to increase our cooperation to ensure that these fundamentals remain protected.”
Foreign Relations with Russia
“I believe in cautious engagement with the Russian Federation. Russia’s recent aggressions throughout the world are deeply disturbing, this includes the ongoing violations of Ukrainian and Georgian sovereignty, the reinforcement of dictatorial regimes in Damascus, Tehran, and Pyongyang, and its continuous attempts to rig elections throughout the world. I believe that we need to combat these threats through greater cooperation with our allies, particularly our NATO partners. This means greater cooperation in cybersecurity, defense, and soft power initiatives to check Russia’s irresponsible behavior. We must also take greater initiative in the Arctic to secure our national security interest moving forward. At the same time, I believe that we must continue to cooperate with Russia on the New START Treaty to continue to reduce our nuclear warheads on mutual grounds. This initiative may be the only remaining path towards resolving some of these growing tensions through strong diplomatic measures, and we need to ensure it remains as long as both sides meet its conditions.”
Foreign Relations with China
“I believe that we need to take additional steps towards addressing our shared interests such as combating climate change, ensuring greater environmental protections, and playing a mutual role in addressing sustainability issues on a global scale. China is our largest trade partner and a rising economic and political force in the world; therefore, we need to take steps to improve our relationship without compromising our position on the international stage, the welfare of the American people, or our commitments to human rights. I don’t believe that the tariffs currently supported by the Trump administration are beneficial to the middle class and working class Americans despite their intent. Instead, I support taking initiatives that directly invest in our nation’s families through investments in education, healthcare, and infrastructure so that we can modernize our nation’s economy and continue to compete on the world stage. At the same time, I believe in cooperating with our allies in the South China Sea to check China’s growing interference in neighboring sovereignties.”
Foreign Relations with Mexico and South American Allies
“We should take steps to have a better relationship Mexico and our South American allies. Mexico continues to be a strong and integral part of our economy and national security interests; they are our third largest trading partner and an ally in combating transnational crimes. At the same time, I believe that we need greater cooperation across the Americas on combating climate change and transnational organized crime, securing sustainable energy supplies, and making greater trade and infrastructure investments that are mutually beneficial.”
Our membership in the United Nations
“I believe that the U.S. should play a proactive in the United Nations, and to do otherwise would be counterproductive to the international order we have built since its foundation. We are one of its founding members, one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and its major contributor and hosting nation. We should be proud of the fact that we played such an instrumental role in building this intergovernmental organization, an organization that allows for dialogue and order to be the common guiding principles throughout the world.”
Deals that President Trump pulled the United States out of.
She is receptive to the trade based TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), the Paris Climate Treaty and Iran Nuclear Deal.
The President’s apparent shift to Authoritarianism:
She is against that.
Dark Money and Campaign Finance Reform
She believes that this is one of the key issues of the campaign. She feels that we need a publicly funded system and need to vote in more people that support that.
These are bad and should be reformed.
E.P.A. and Green Energy
“We need to have checks and balances and we need renewable energies and stop deregulations on clean water and automobiles.”
The Supreme Court
Ms. Malik does not want the hopes of new activists crushed with this new court nomination saying “there is still work we can do.”
A Woman’s Right to Choose and Protecting Women.
She believes in a woman’s right to choose. Furthermore, she supports the Me Too Movement and wants greater protections and total equality for women at the workplace and home.
“LGBTQ+ people should be entitled to all Constitutional Rights. Sexual orientation and gender identity should not be a discriminating factor in the workplace, the school environment, in the government, or in the military. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be amended to prevent discrimination not only based on race and gender but also to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well.”
9) How would you rate enthusiasm and community engagement compared to 2016 or before?
“Activity has been nonstop since all three candidates announced. Enthusiasm has been great. The key (to winning) is Independents and Moderate Republicans as well as Democrats.
10) Please describe some marketing methods you are employing to convince voters you are better in the position you are running for than your opponent.
She believes her “name id against Schweikert; using digital and building traction from for my advantage.” She also sports a traditional ground game with about 200 volunteers. According to her, “money matters to get the job done but we have to win this on the ground with conversations on the ground with the people.”
Mr. Schweikert represents a party whose ideas no longer resonate with the people. It is also a party that is becoming increasingly close-minded, nativist, reactionary, oligarchic, and backward.
Ms. Malik represents a party that champions forward-looking ideas (supported by her) to help the community that is embraced by the majority of the people. This party is more open to the wishes of the people and has a big tent where all are invited to participate in.
Depending on the August Primary Results, voters may have to choose between these two candidates. Will they pick the one that looks back towards yesterday or the one that wants to help steer the course of the country towards tomorrow?
Please access the below links for more information on Ms. Malik, Mr. Schweikert’s voting record and recent difficulties, and the composition of Congressional District Six.