The Road to a Democratic State Legislature Runs through Maricopa County  

Democrats can win by focusing on 3 issues: public education, health care, and job creation, according to Maricopa County Democratic Party Chairman Steven Slugocki

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.

Moving Forward

 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.


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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.


  1. Dems must fight against the growing Arizona “prison/police” state! If not who will? The mass incarceration of Arizona’s people and those they deem disposable is a crisis! …”How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about” – The Washington Post

    “Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation and getting friendly candidates into office: Big Oil, Big Pharma and the gun lobby among them. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEOand Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute. Private companies house nearly half of the nation’s immigrant detainees, compared to about 25 percent a decade ago, a Huffington Post report found. In total, there are now about 130 private prisons in the country with about 157,000 beds.

    Marco Rubio is one of the best examples of the private prison industry’s growing political influence, a connection that deserves far more attention now that he’s officially launched a presidential bid. The U.S. senator has a history of close ties to the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison company, GEO Group, stretching back to his days as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.” …

  2. Maricopa County AZ: Meet the DA Who Has Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct That Affected a Murder Trial – The Appeal

    “Even now, in an era that demands both increased accountability for sexual harassment and increased prosecutorial accountability more broadly, almost no one County seems willing to hold Martinez responsible—not his boss, Attorney Bill Montgomery, not the courts, and not the state bar. “

  3. Why is the broken and failed criminal justice system/prisons/prosecutors missing from your list? Arizona as a “prison state” is shameful! What does the state value — education or incarceration? Where’s the leadership in the Democratic party?

    The most powerful position in the state/counties flying under the radar? Why? The prosecutor determines who goes to prison and for how long. The prosecutor determines who shall live and who shall die. If YOUR life was in the prosecutor’s hands, who would YOU elect?

    The prosecutors are responsible for the prison population growth. Read “LOCKED IN” by John Pfaff. An empirical study that ALL should read.

  4. Missing from the list is tackling Arizona’s injustice system, ranked at the bottom in the nation in a recent Harvard report. The legislators should be ashamed of the mass incarceration of Arizona’s people; draconian mandatory minimum sentencing and allowing the state prosecutors “live full time” at the legislature on the taxpayers’ dime! — Judiciary, MAPS, Appropriations, etc. — at taxpayers expense. The public is allowed to speak for 2 minutes, while the prosecutors scattered around the room give “closing” arguments with no stop watch! Unacceptable. —-

    “Prison reform in Arizona scuttled at Legislature by prosecutors” by Megan Cassidy | Arizona Republic

    “Reform advocates say Bill Montgomery and other prosecutors have the Legislature’s ear and push harsher sentences.”

  5. The next CBS “Survivor” Show this Novembor will show that the Republicans in Congress and State Capitols will be “Voted” Off The “Island”.

    Take that John K. !!

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