Democrats have four impressive candidates for the Arizona House in Legislative District 10 in eastern Tucson, united in their effort to oust Republican incumbent, Todd “Confederate” Clodfelter.
- UofA Law Professor Kirsten H. Engel is running for a second term in the AZ House, after serving on the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and Judiciary and Public Safety committee.
- Newcomer Domingo DeGrazia, son of famous Tucson artist Ted DeGrazia, is a licensed pilot and a trial attorney in juvenile court. “I have a constant drive to better myself, creativity and tenacity to see a fight through to the end,” he says.
- Catherine Ripley is a retired 26-year Navy officer and current political science teacher at Pima College (and earlier at Harvard, Boston University, and M.I.T.). In her first run for office, she says, “I’m a former diplomat, Mom, and business executive. I’ve seen famine and war. I’m here to bring my skills and experiences, and have the tools to hand Todd Clodfelter a defeat he’ll never forget.”
- Running as a Clean Elections Candidate, newcomer Nikki Lee has a young campaign team of Millennials, including herself at age 36. “We have so much excitement on our campaign, doing innovating things, understanding the life of young people.” She has launched the “A to Z podcast” for young people.
LD10 has two AZ House members and one Senator, David Bradley, who was on hand and running without opposition. Clodfelter is notorious for his Confederate Flag screen saver, which he claimed wasn’t racist. His signature legislation throws a meager $150 tax credit at teachers to cover school supplies rather than help them in any meaningful way.
If you could pass one bill…
Asked if they could pass only one bill in the Republican-majority House, the candidates said it would be to:
Engel: End the hundreds of corporate sales tax loopholes and use the money to fund public schools.
DeGrazia: Stop gun violence.
Lee: Help veterans recover from PTSD and brain injuries.
Ripley: Enact common-sense gun policy, including a ban on bump stocks.
If you could reverse one law…
Asked what law or bill they would want to stop, the candidates said:
Engel: Stop the noxious bill, SB1394, that would require women to explain why they want an abortion. “These types of bills are especially harmful. It’s not something we ask anyone else to tell when they’re having a medical procedure,” she says.
Lee: End school vouchers in Arizona.
Ripley: Stop SB1392, which gives a sale tax exemption to digital services, like content streaming and Web-based software. It siphons money away from public schools.
Raising funds for public education
All the candidates supported fully funding public education. Arizona’s teacher pay is the worst in the nation, and funding per pupil is less than it was 10 years ago.
Engel: Extend Prop 301 (a .6-cent sales tax for schools), ratchet down tax credits for private schools, revoke corporate sales tax exemptions, particularly a 15% tax exemption for using coal.
Lee: Promote clean renewable energy sources, and tax the energy as it leaves Arizona.
Ripley: Eliminate corporate sales tax loopholes and put the money back into the school systems.
DeGrazia: elect people who prioritize education.
Stemming the plague of gun violence
Engel: Focus on gun violence in schools. She took the lead writing the Governor along with 49 other legislators to create a bipartisan Task Force to prevent gun violence and close the gun show loophole.
Lee: Examine easy access to guns, promote mental health services, and improve the background check database.
Ripley: Develop a holistic approach, developed by both parties, rather than just talking about arming teachers and promoting mental health services.
DeGrazia: Require background checks, improve mental health services, microstamp bullets so that they can be tracked, and geofence weapons so they “don’t work where we don’t want them to work.”
Ending the opiate epidemic
Engel: Support the Democratic “Good Samaritan” provision which exempts a person from prosecution who calls 911 for help about an overdose, expand the focus to include fentanyl and heroin, and treat addiction as a health issue.
Lee: Improve communications with pharmacies so people can’t acquire an astronomical amount of prescription drugs.
Ripley: Limit how much opioids a doctor can prescribe. “I had a root canal that went bad and the doctor gave me 50 Oxycodone pills,” she says.
DeGrazia: Focus on prevention and get help to addicts through early intervention.
Clodfelter’s desktop grenade
Rep. Clodfelter is a gun fanatic with a grenade sitting on his desk, a few small missiles and a desk pad with an AR-15 assault rifle, the mass murder’s gun of choice, symbolizing his approach to being a state Representative. Asked what symbol they would put on their desks, the Democrats said:
Engel: The Equal Rights Amendment sash.
DeGrazia: Books and an internet connection.
Lee: A picture of her kids “who have been my motivation for everything I’ve done since the first was born 12 years ago.”
Ripley: An “Om” symbol — — which she has tattooed on her ankle. “It represents connectivity,” she says.
Recreational, decriminalized Marijuana
All the Democrats supported repealing the prohibition on marijuana.
Changing the term of elected state officials from 2 to 4 years
Lee supported keeping 2-year terms, while Engel and Ripley favored 4-year terms and DeGrazia had no opinion.
Democrats need to win 6 years in the Arizona House and only 3 in the state Senate to achieve a majority.