Category Archives: Poverty

Democratic Senate Candidate Elizabeth Brown Will Fully Fund Education

Democratic LD 12 Senate Candidate Elizabeth Brown

Over beverages at the IHOP at Sossaman and Baseline in Gilbert, Clean Elections Legislative District 12 Senate Candidate Elizabeth Brown conveyed the reasons she is making a second run for the State Senate after losing to Warren Pedersen in 2016. Ms. Brown is an experienced public servant whose campaign message centers on four themes. These are:

  • Promoting public education.
  • Protecting our environment.
  • Modernizing and expanding our local and state Infrastructure.
  • Guaranteeing ethics and equality for all.

Arizona LD 12 (see map) includes parts or all of Gilbert, Queen Creek, and San Tan Valley. This has normally been a reliable Republican district that has attracted minimal Democratic opposition in the past. In 2012, Republican Andy Biggs ran unopposed for this Senate seat. Ms. Brown did lose to Mr. Pedersen in 2016. However, Democratic enthusiasm has surged since 2016. There are three able and energized Democrats vying for the two State House seats and Ms. Brown seeks to ride that momentum to a Senate victory this November. A progressive, she feels that “if people would just take the “D” and “R” away and people see what I stand for, the people would see a lot of common ground with my positions.”

Who is Elizabeth Brown?

A former drama teacher, Ms. Brown, a wife, and mother of two daughters is an experienced public servant whose experiences start in 2004 when she volunteered for the Kerry and Edwards campaign. From 2004 to 2008 she worked for the Maricopa County Democratic Party as an office manager and executive assistant whose main responsibility was to recruit volunteers and assist legislative district chairs. She worked in Governor Napolitano’s and Governor Brewer’s office in the Constituent Services Department, observing how policies were formulated. Afterward, she was an assistant to former State Senator Barb McGuire and saw how bills were written. She also saw Republican heavy-handedness in burying Democratic bills and, later, constitutional amendments like the Equal Rights Amendment.

She believes that a lot of our legislators are in office for “personal gain” and “are out of touch with reality with what is happening with people. They are living in a bubble and do not treat people with dignity and compassion.” This is especially problematic because it is in the local sphere of the city, school and utility boards, and state level where most decisions affecting lives are made.

She believes that for too long, only men have represented the Legislative District and she feels that it is “time for more diverse representation.” She is running for the State Senate because she “believes our state is at a crucial crossroads and we can choose to continue the status quo of corporate handouts or we can reclaim our state government for all Arizona’s.” She pledges to be a “true public servant who will not look the other way when I see corruption or anything that seems unethical.” She wants to be the voice of the people and their concerns as their advocate at the capital, relying on “community engagement while seeking real and practical solutions for all Arizonans that create the policy that will ensure the wellbeing for all.”

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In 2019, #AZLeg Should Review Corporate Tax Giveaways (video)

Fair tax forum in Tucson

A standing room only crowd filled the IBEW Hall for the Stop Thief! Let’s Restore Fair Taxes Forum, hosted by PALF and PDA Tucson, with support from other unions and community groups.

#RedForEd lifted the veil from our eyes and put the issue of corporate tax giveaways front and center in the fight to restore public education funding in Arizona.

As many of you are aware, the Arizona Legislature is giving away more than $13 billion in taxes every year and using only $10 billion to run the state. It is not sound fiscal policy to use accounting gimmicks and 50 fund transfers to “balance” the budget. It is no surprise that the state owes K-12 education around $1 billion. Thanks to scheduled corporate tax cuts passed by the Tea Party*, beginning in 2011, Arizona’s corporations got to keep an extra $1 billion in 2017. These corporate tax cuts continue through 2019, even though we can’t afford them.

As a result of the anger and frustration that many Tucsonans feel about the Arizona Legislature’s performance, the Stop Thief! Let’s Restore Fair Taxes Community Forum drew a standing room only crowd of diverse participants.

The event opened with heart-felt testimonies from current high school students, who explained how school budget cuts have impacted their lives and their schools.

LD9 Rep. Randy Friese gave a detailed presentation on tax revenue and how it has been siphoned off by special interest groups and corporate tax cuts for decades. (Video here.)

LD9 Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley’s talk focused specific tax giveaway bills and the drama that swirled around the bills that passed and the ones that failed. (Video here.) Excluding any votes related to budget appropriations, all of the tax giveaway votes in the 53rd Legislature were bipartisan— with Democrats and Republicans on both sides.

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Democratic Candidate Profiles to consider when voting this month

Dear reader,

Below are the links to the profiles of Democratic Candidates interviewed up until July 30, 2018. Future profiles will be added for study. Please use this valuable resource to help make the best-informed choice when you vote in August either via a mail-in ballot or in person on August 28, 2018. Above all, please do not forget to vote. There are many exceptional Democratic candidates to consider so please take the time to vote for the ones that you feel will best move your local community and the state forward.

Federal elections

Statewide elections

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Julie Gunnigle pledges to fight corruption as a State Representative for LD 15

LD 15 Democratic State House Candidate Julie Gunnigle

In what has become the designated meeting place for Legislative District 15 Democratic Candidates, the Starbucks at Tatum and Paradise Parkway, Julie Gunnigle ardently relayed why she would be the best candidate to work for the district’s constituents as one of the two State House Representatives after the November elections.

Ms. Gunnigle is one of three Democrats running for two State House seats in LD 15. The others are Jennifer Samuels and Tonya MacBeth. In what is a likely result of the prevailing political winds (The Trump Administration, the reactionary state Republican Legislature, and Governor beholden to Dark Money-Koch Interests), this is the first time in recent memory more than one Democrat is running to secure at least one of the State House seats.

Who is Julie Gunnigle?

 A native of LD 15, Ms. Gunnigle graduated with a Law Degree from Notre Dame University and served as a Cook County Prosecutor in Illinois (where she participated in the indictment of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Cook County) before moving back with her family in 2011 to practice education (special needs including gifted), midwifery, veteran’s affairs, and reproductive rights law. Some of her work (veteran’s law for example) is performed on a pro bono basis. She also taught at Summit Law School and has been a member of the Arizona Association Advocating for the Gifted and Talented, advocating for special needs children and restoration of funding for them in front of the Arizona State Legislature for three years. She is also a wife and mother.

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Overcoming adversity, LD 24 Candidate Jennifer Longdon has devoted herself to a life of public service based on compassion and human interests.

LD 24 Democratic State House Candidate Jennifer Longdon

Jennifer Longdon symbolizes what a person can do when he or she overcomes great adversity. A native of Chicago (she favors Deep Dish Pizza to New York Style), Ms. Longdon has lived in Arizona since 1999. A successful businesswoman and mother, she was the victim of a random shooting in 2004 that permanently paralyzed her from the waist down. The shooting financially ruined her with her health insurance dropping her coverage while she was in a medically induced coma. After recovering, Ms. Longdon dedicated her life to championing for the most neglected, “disenfranchised,” and persecuted minority group in the country, the disabled. In the course of becoming a public advocate for the disabled, Ms. Longdon became a champion for other social justice and progressive causes, including education, LGBTQ rights, reducing gun violence, and health care. Believing that she is the best candidate because of her life experience on health care and gun violence and her activism in those areas, she believes “legislating is an extension of the work I have been doing for a long time.”

LD 24 encompasses all or part of Phoenix and Scottsdale. A reliably Democratic District, Republicans have not seen a victory here in several election cycles. There are seven Democrats, including an incumbent (Ken Clark) vying for the two state house seats in the primary election. Based on recent history, the results of the primary will undoubtedly determine which two candidates are seated in the legislature in January.

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#ICYMI: Watch the LD9 Clean Elections Debate (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

LD9 House incumbent Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) organizes and hosts debates for all elections in which at least one Clean Elections candidate is running. In Legislative District 9, three of the five people running for office are Clean candidates: Jim Love, Victoria Steele and me. The other two people who are running for house– Rep. Randy Friese and J.P. Martin– are running traditional.

Since early ballots for the August 28 primary election will be mailed on August 1, the CCEC has been hosting many debates in the past month. On July 19, the LD9 candidates had their debate.  (The LD9 video link is here and the embedded video is below. To watch other CCEC debates go here.)

CCEC debates include some questions that are asked of all candidates and other questions that are asked of specific people. I have annotated the debate with time stamps– in case you want to focus on particular topics. Since there were several audience questions about guns in schools, the environment and prison reform, I have grouped those questions and answers.

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