Maricopa County in Arizona is the fourth largest populated county in the United States. The fifth largest city in the country, Phoenix is within its boundaries as are 20 of the 30 state legislative districts.
It is also the county that Maricopa County Democratic Party Chairman Steven Slugocki believes has the best chance of shifting the balance of power in the Arizona State Legislature from red to blue.
Slugocki, the county chairperson of the Democratic Party since December 2015, relayed that grassroots enthusiasm for the Democratic Party, fueled by frustrations with both the Governorship of Doug Ducey (and state legislature) and the Presidency of Donald Trump (and Republican Congress), has reached once unimaginable heights. Committing to an all-out voter outreach effort, Slugocki emphasized that the county will prioritize local races from the Governor’s race at the top of the ballot to the local school board elections. The County Democratic organization pledges to “contest and fight for every seat in every area of the county.”
What the 2018 Election is All About?
According to Slugocki, the race to shift the State Legislature from red to blue goes through Maricopa County. To carry out this goal, he contends that the candidates in Maricopa County should focus on “better education opportunities and equality in our justice, economic, and education systems” by concentrating on the priorities of improving public education, health care, and job creation. In emphasizing these issues, the Chairman believes the Democrats will recapture its championship of the Middle Class and convince voters that they will fight to combat income inequality and restore the idea that each generation will live better than the one that preceded it. This would, according to Slugocki, offer the perfect contrast with the Republicans’ focus on the wealthiest two percent.
The County Position on the Issues
During our conversation, Slugocki relayed the Maricopa County positions on the major issues that voters will evaluate the candidates and parties on this November. A link to the County Democratic Platform is below. The County perspectives on the issues are as follows:
Education: The County Democratic Party supports full funding of public education including paying all teachers and staff what they deserve. They support the Invest in Ed Ballot Initiative and are against a private school expansion in Proposition 305. They feel that a university education should be as free as possible and that community college should be free. Dreamers should be allowed to pay in-state tuition rates.
Dark Money: The County is for public disclosure of all campaign contributions and supports the Outlaw Dirty Money Ballot Initiative.
The Economy and Jobs: Slugocki said that the Democratic Party, unlike the Republicans, will emphasize creating good-paying and quality jobs in the county and state and not outsourcing jobs to other states or out of the country.
Renewable Energy: The county supports all efforts to shift our fossil-based polluting economy to a green clean one.
Living Wage: The Chairman expressed the county position that anyone who works full-time should have a “meaningful and honorable life and not have to struggle to feed their family.” This can only happen if they are making a living wage.
Infrastructure: There is full support for modernizing our transportation systems and expanding light rail throughout the County and to Tucson and later Flagstaff and Las Vegas.
Health Care: Everyone should have access to quality and affordable health care whether it is to a shored up Obamacare system or a Medicare/Medicaid for all programs. The Chairman stated, “no one should have to decide whether to go to the doctor or pay other bills.”
The Poor and Homeless: This could be addressed a variety of ways ranging from raising the minimum wage to a living one, creating greater job opportunities, and greater access to mental and physical health care.
Gun Safety: There should be a ban on assault weapons and background checks so dangerous or mentally disturbed people cannot obtain any firearms.
Equal Rights Amendment: The County supports its ratification.
Dreamers: They and their parents should be allowed to stay. The Chairman expanded on this by also stating the “MCDP knows the importance of our country’s history as a nation of immigrants. We treat people who come to the United States with dignity and respect, and we always seek to embrace — not to attack — immigrants.”
LGBTQ Community: Fully support equal rights for all in this community.
A Woman’s Right to Choose: Fully support.
As mentioned earlier, Slugocki reported that voter enthusiasm for the Democratic Party has reached new heights since the 2016 election. According to him, “people have been coming to meetings that have never been involved before.” Activists are volunteering or even running at record rates in this election cycle.
The Chairman indicated that the party is ahead of schedule in fundraising, voter outreach and the ground game, candidate recruitment for all local office positions, and opening LD (Legislative District) and County offices. County offices have already opened in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and Ahwatukee and two more will open soon in Chandler and Mesa.
Not taking any voters for granted, the County Party organization plans to launch grassroots outreach efforts in communities that the Democrats have not usually visited. They also plan to intensify their social media campaigns and host media events with the candidates.
With regards to candidates that the Chairman feels will be instrumental in bringing the party to victory in November, he believes that all the candidates in the county are strong and advised to pay attention to how rising star Dr. Hiral Tipirneni performs in the rematch against Debbie Lesko in Congressional District Eight and how the District 17, 18, and 28 Democrats perform. If they perform as expected, the Democratic Party should control the State House and State Senate in the Arizona State Legislature in January 2019.