“Progress Now Arizona” has arrived



Last night a house party was held in Tucson to listen to recently hired Executive Director Robbie Sherwood of Progress Now Arizona speak on a number of issues relevant to progressive thinkers.  Progress Now is a national group and helped turn Colorado from a red state to a blue state in 2010 (Progress Now has been in Colorado for 10 years). Their Arizona office opened in Phoenix on December 1, 2013 and their mission is:

 ProgressNow Arizona is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots communication and advocacy organization. We work year-round to promote progressive issues and public policy solutions, to correct right-wing misinformation and to hold elected officials accountable.

ProgressNow Arizona is a member of the national ProgressNow network.

We work directly with the public and the media, using dynamic and creative tactics to bring attention to progressive issues and solutions. We also provide assistance to progressive groups with issue and opinion research, message development and technical assistance.

Robbie has an impressive resume, having been a reporter for the Arizona Republic and District Director for U.S. Congressman Harry Mitchell:

Executive Director Robbie Sherwood is an Arizona native who has served Arizona’s progressive community with extensive knowledge of the state well-honed strategy, media relations, writing and public policy skills.

Robbie is a former political reporter for The Arizona Republic as well as a former senior advisor to U.S. Rep. Harry E. Mitchell. He also ran his own successful consulting firm as well as the Arizona office of the national strategic positioning firm Strategies 360. His campaign experience includes serving as press secretary for Democrat Greg Stanton’s winning campaign for Mayor of Phoenix in 2011 and as an adviser to Democrat Mark Mitchell during his successful 2012 election as Mayor of Tempe.

As a journalist, Robbie produced award-winning stories on Arizona’s school funding inequities, tribal gaming, high school football, public safety and political analysis. He was a regular pundit on the long-running PBS public affairs show “Horizon,” and still makes periodic appearances on KPNX-Channel 12’s “Sunday Square Off” and KTVK Channel 3’s “Politics Unplugged.” He also co-taught a special reporting project at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications that explored the impact of U.S. immigration policy on families and children. The widely published multi-media project, “Divided Families,” won the international Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for 2009.

Robbie grew up in a rural Eastern Arizona ranching family, and now lives in Mesa with his wife & their two sons. Robbie earned a journalism degree from Arizona State University and a Master of Liberal Studies degree from ASU in creative non-fiction writing.

He spoke about the strategic work he has done with labor groups, voting rights, media responses, legislation, and political campaigns in Arizona.  For more information –to donate to Progress Now Arizona or to add yourself to their mailing list for updates:


Progress Now Arizona’s board Chair Deb Anderson Matwijkow was also present at this meeting, and she does political consulting as well.

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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 Tucsoncitizen.com 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, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).