PDA Tucson’s Phil Lopes runs for Dem Party Vice Chair


by Pamela Powers Hannley

On Saturday, January 26, 2013, the Arizona Democratic Party will hold its reorganization meeting in Phoenix. New state party officers will be elected by elected precinct committee (PC) people. If you are a progressive and an elected, please consider voting for Phil Lopes. If you are a PC and can't make the meeting, contact your legislative district chair and give someone your proxy vote. Here is the proxy form. 

Below is Lopes' candidate statement…

Phil Lopes for Vice Chair

Dear AZ State Democratic Committee member,
This letter is to ask for your vote for the position of Vice-Chair of the AZ Democratic Party. I would be honored to have your support and vote. I am running for Vice-Chair to:
  • strengthen the party, especially in public policy advocacy, and,
  • to improve the public’s perception of the Party

Although the Party raises money during campaign season, it does not advocate with candidates, elected officials or the public at large for policy positions that reflect the values of Democrats. This is one reason why the public perceives Democrats and Republicans as not very different. For example, during the recent campaign, I heard no mention of developing a fairer tax system. This is inconceivable given that our State tax structure is way too sales tax reliant and the sales tax hits the poor the hardest. Likewise, most Democrats feel that there is too much money spent on campaigns but too many of our candidates chose not to run using Clean Elections.

In my view, the Party has rarely advocated for policy positions. It may be that it is uncomfortable in doing so or that effective policy advocacy is difficult, which it is. But that does not mean that we should not try to distinguish ourselves from Republicans, to “walk the talk” for our values. One theme that I have consistently heard in my 30+ years in the AZ Party is that the resolutions we pass are not adequately implemented, pushed, both within and outside the Party. For example, I was involved in getting a resolution passed supporting single payer health care in the mid-80s, but to my knowledge nothing was ever done with it until I introduced a single payer bill, twice, in the Legislature.
In addition to the direction I want to move the Party, I think my experience speaks strongly to my ability to be an effective Vice-Chair. I served eight years in the AZ House, for four of those years as House Democratic Leader. During my time as Leader I instituted the practice of regular reports to the State Committee. Also during my time as Leader I was deeply involved in Legislative campaigns, which in 2006 resulted in the House Democratic Caucus growing to 27 members, the most we have ever had. I was Chair of my Legislative District in the 80s, and have served on both the Pima County Executive Committee and on the State Committee. I was a surrogate for Terry Goddard when he ran for Governor and for Andre Cherny when he ran for Treasurer.
If you have any questions regarding this statement or my candidacy in general, please contact me at lopesphil@gmail.com or 520-861-7654. I look forward to your support.
Phil Lopes