Over 150 people attended the May 5, 2019 kickoff of the Eric Kurland campaign for one of the State House Seats in Legislative District 23. Among the guests at the event, hosted by Kurland supporter Pinny Sheoran, were Maricopa County Democratic Chair Steven Slugocki, newly elected Legislative District 17 State Representative Jennifer Pawlik, 2018 State Treasurer Candidate Mark Manoil, Congressional District Six Candidates Anita Malik and Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, Maricopa County Superintendent of Education Candidates Jeanne Casteen and Jennifer Samuels, Maricopa County Attorney Candidate Julie Gunnigle, and the guest speakers (like Former LD 28 State Representative Dr. Eric Meyer and former Arizona Education Association President Andrew Morrill) who captivated the audience and introduced Mr. Kurland, saying “It is time for a teacher.”
Mr. Kurland, an educator for 23 years, ran for one of the LD 23 House Seats in 2018 and defied most expectations by coming within three percentage points of capturing one of the two slots in the still primarily Republican district. In declaring his candidacy to run for a second time, he, after recounting his experiences being inspired by a teacher while a child, again will base his campaign on shaping the future of the district and state by putting an emphasis on:
• Investing in Children
• Combatting child poverty and giving all children equal opportunities.
• Fully funding public schools (including reducing class sizes and helping solve the teacher and counselor shortages).
• Pursuing charter school reform, stating that “If you take public dollars and call yourself a public school, you shall follow the same laws. No more legislative thumbs on the scale.”
• Halting Reactionary Republican attempts to stifle citizen’s initiatives, expand private prisons, reduce the minimum wage for people under 22, and curtail dark money and lobbyist reform.
Calling the current Republican-led State Legislature “tyranny of the few,” he accused current Republican officeholders (like current LD 23 State Representatives John Kavanagh and Jay Lawrence) of not representing the people that elected them. He promises that if elected, “I’m more about we, not me” and pledges to be a true advocate for the people, saying, “being a representative is the description of your job and not just a title. It is a promise.”
Commenting that “we shook some people up last year,” Kurland finished by declaring he would run as a traditional candidate and called out to the audience to volunteer and help contribute to his campaign.
Considering recent sentiments expressed by Senate Republican budget priorities and the apparent belief of some reactionaries that the message of the 2018 elections was to make voter turnout in future elections an obstacle rather than making it easier, Democrats need to maintain the momentum that helped propel many Democrats to victory in 2018 and carry more to a majority party in 2020 including candidates like Mr. Kurland who will emphasize the needs of children rather than corporate interests and the most vulnerable rather than the most affluent.