With a lot of attention focused on the upcoming 2020 Presidential election and Senate race between likely candidates Martha McSally and Mark Kelly, people need to keep their eye on the races to control the Arizona State Legislature from 2021 to 2023.
The State Legislature, along with the Governor, is the political bodies that largely determine funding for:
- Public Schools.
- Community colleges and State Universities (A.S.U., U of A, and N.A.U.)
- Medicaid and KidsCare (Children’s Health Insurance Program.)
- Local infrastructure projects.
- Anti Child Poverty Programs.
People will have an opportunity to elect legislators to all the State Senate and House Seats in 2020.
Democrats gained strength in the 2018 elections coming within two seats of securing the State House Majority. The Senate remained on a 17 to 13 Republican advantage.
One of the new Democrats elected in 2018 was Legislative District 18 (LD 18) State Representative Jennifer Jermaine.
Along with the reelections of State Representative Mitzi Epstein and State Senator Sean Bowie, LD 18 completed a two election cycle transformation from totally Red to totally blue.
All three Democratic State Legislators kicked off their campaigns for reelection at an event attended by many involved in local politics and races (including Casey Clowes, Janie Hydrick, Paige Reesor, Mark Mitchell, Corey Woods, Aaron Lieberman, Jevin Hodge, Dan Toporek, and Kevin Walsh) on November 2, 2019.
The three will be running on their accomplishments and positions which include:
- Establishing “family caregiver grants,” championing advances in mental health, and suicide prevention, and helping create a sustainability workshop to help clean air and water (Epstein).
- Being a leader in launching a statewide task force “to investigate missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and supporting the “expansions in protective orders and services for victims of sexual assault” (Jermaine).
- Helping secure suicide prevention training for educators, improving communication accessibility for the “disability community,” and leading on legislation “expanding non-discrimination protections for our LGBTQ community and banning conversion therapy” (Bowie).
As noted at the end of the 2019 State Legislative Session, all three of the district legislators sponsored or co-sponsored many bills designed to help people get a better education, cleaner air and water, health care, social services, housing, safety, and secure democratic rights.
Furthermore, Senator Bowie and Representative Jermaine represented 25 percent of the Democratic Arizona State Legislators who had bills they sponsored signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey.
Running as a team in 2020 committed to championing public education and local control, the trio will campaign on:
- Fully funding public education.
- Affordable and accessible health care solutions.
- “Fair and affordable housing for seniors and working families.”
- Improving infrastructure and cleaning water.
- Creating a diversified economy that harnesses innovation, creates high paying jobs, and moves the state forward.
Speaking at the event, all three candidates, after thanking everyone for coming to the event, spoke about the need to achieve a Democratic Majority to promote an inclusive, diverse, and forward-looking Arizona that will:
- Fund Schools.
- Promote Sustainability
- Clean water and air.
- Attack extreme heat.
- Make life better for children in poverty by expanding Kids Care and nutritional/anti-poverty aid.
- Protect civil and voter rights.
- Fight discrimination.
- Pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
- Provide more opportunities to succeed.
- Stop reactionary measures from passing like voucher expansion or attempts to suppress voter rights (like in the last session).
Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil famously remarked: “All Politics is Local.”
That is so true in Arizona local politics where the children and most vulnerable of the state’s citizens are dependent on what state legislators decide to support.
At the end of his remarks, Senator Bowie warned against people “being complacent.”
He is right.
Voters need to pay attention to all the races in 2020, not just the Presidential, Senatorial, or Congressional Representative.
Local Representatives, like Mitzi Epstein, Jennifer Jermaine, and State Senator Sean Bowie have more direct influence over resident’s everyday lives than any of the other candidates running for higher offices.
Voters need to remember that.
Democrats came close to achieving a majority in the State House in 2018.
With strong Democratic contenders vying for other legislative district seats currently controlled by Republicans, it is important for the people that the party stabilizes its gains from 2018.
People should consider this trio and the pragmatic progressive vision they offer when deciding who to support in 2018.
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Note: This writer is a PC for LD 18.