Strong Start Tucson speakers at DGT

    April 10, 2017 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
    Dragon's View restaurant
    400 N Bonita Ave
    Tucson, AZ 85745

    Penelope Jacks and Kelly Griffith will be speaking on Strong Start Tucson, whose mission is:

    “Attendance in high-quality early education is a strong predictor of future academic achievement and lifelong productivity. Strong Start Tucson believes that by increasing the city sales tax by half a cent, we can create a meaningful funding source to allow up to 8,500 Tucson children to attend a high-quality preschool program.”

    Penelope Jacks

    Penelope chairs the Strong Start Tucson Campaign Committee. She consults on local, statewide, and national child advocacy issues, teaches at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona and is a volunteer docent at Kitt Peak National Observatory. She retired in 2013 from Children Action Alliance where she was the Director of the Southern Arizona office and Director of Early Childhood Policy for 22 years. As a lawyer, she worked for Legal Aid in Georgia and Illinois and lobbied for the poor, elderly, children and the incarcerated. She holds a BA from Grinnell College, and a J.D. from the University of Illinois School of Law.

    Kelly Griffith

    Kelly Griffith is the Campaign Manager for Strong Start Tucson, local ballot initiative. In addition to her duties as campaign manager, she is the Executive Director at the Center for Economic Integrity. The Center for Economic Integrity is a small nonprofit that works to build economically strong communities for all and opposes unfair corporate practices. From 2002-2010 she provided leadership and coordination for a broad based coalition that successfully put an end to predatory payday lending in Arizona. Kelly has co-authored several publications and presents at national conferences on a wide range of topics including rural economic development, public policy, grassroots mobilization and advocacy. She has a degree in Education from Goddard College, VT.


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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).

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