By Michael Bryan
I voted in the Ward 3 Tucson City Counsel Primary today. I voted for Felicia Chew. BlogForArizona doesn’t endorse candidates, but each author is free to talk about why they support a particular candidate. Here’s why I decided to vote for Felicia Chew.
1) She is endorsed by Karen Uhlich.
First, but by no means primarily, she is endorsed by the incumbent. I have been a supporter of Karen Uhlich during her time in office and believe that she has done a commendable job of representing the Ward and helping to lead Tucson forward. I think she is in a good position to recognize in others the same qualities of leadership she brought to the job, and her choice is Ms. Chew. I respect that, and her recommendation figured strongly in my choice.
2) She is the only woman in the race.
I don’t advocate automatically supporting a female candidate over a male candidate, but the underrepresentation of women in our politics is real, it’s a problem, and it can only be remedied by voting for qualified female candidates when possible.
3) Her life history demonstrates a deep care for others and her community.
Ms. Chew’s history and life experience demonstrates to me her deep commitment to caring for others, and her community. I’m confident that her competition are also public spirited people who would make fine counsel-persons, but Felicia stands out. Her chosen career of public education is itself a life-long commitment to the future of our society. That she chose to serve some of the poorest and most-disadvantaged populations by teaching Native American children on New Mexico’s reservations demonstrates a genuine concern for those who need the most help in our communities. With Arizona’s cities having among the highest poverty rates in America, that is a vital character trait for a leader in Tucson.
4) Her personal experience has prepared her for leadership in advocating for victims of domestic abuse.
Ms. Chew does not hide the fact that she was a victim of domestic abuse, and is willing to talk about the matter publicly. To me, this is a vital fact. The victims of domestic abuse must have role-models in positions of authority and power to advocate for them, and to demonstrate that being a victim is not shameful for the victim, only the perpetrator. Having been a city prosecutor, I know that for many suffering domestic abuse, municipal courts are where the rubber hits the road. We need a strong advocates in our city governments for prosecutorial and police resources to combat domestic violence and to provide victim services and support.
5) She has done her homework and has demonstrated a willingness and ability to learn the issues.
Ms. Chew has repeatedly demonstrated that she understands the issues facing Tucson, and that she appreciates the scope of the city government’s work as well, if not better, than her competitors. I think that she will learn swiftly what she does not know and quickly become an effective advocate and leader for our city. Most importantly, she knows that she does not know everything or have all the answers; she is open to advice and the views of others.
6) She was unfairly attacked for voting her conscience.
Though it was not a formal part of my decision to support Ms. Chew, it certainly rubbed me the wrong way when Paul Durham sent out an attack mailer targeting Ms. Chew for voting for the Green Party candidate in the 2016 Presidential election. I find the tribalism of the GOP appalling, and I do not support importing such attitudes into the Democratic Party. Far be it from me to condemn anyone for choosing what they perceive to be a more progressive or liberal candidate. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 over Al Gore. Does that make me an apostate to my party, too? Does that mean that I failed to support Al Gore against George W. Bush? Paul’s mailer would certainly suggest so, and to me, it was a divisive, ugly, and unworthy attack.
Those are the reasons I chose Ms. Chew, and I invite you to do the same.
I have donated to Ms. Chew and hope that she wins the Ward 3 primary as well, although perhaps for a slightly different reason. I’ve never seen Mr. Tronsdale before at various events, but my limited interactions with Mr. Durham suggest that I don’t believe he will have the interests of ordinary Tucsonans front-and-center. Much of what I have heard from him suggests that he is thinly-veiling an elitist background. I don’t like when he said a few months back at an event that people should vote for him because he is the ‘only candidate who would commit to being a full-time councilman’. On the surface, that sounds great. But being able to do so comes from a position of great privilege – City Councilors only make $24,000 per year – and that sets a really bad precedent. I don’t believe that prerequisites for being a councilmember should include 4+ years of living an ascetic lifestyle or having a source of outside passive income.
And from what I’ve heard on the grapevine, Mr. Durham’s profession is in corporate law, and did a lot of union-busting activity as part of his professional work. That’s not, ipso facto, a disqualifier for office, but it does paint a picture that Durham is going to put business and ‘development’ interests ahead of the people when it comes to brass tacks, something I feel is already enough of a problem in this city. To whatever extent it matters to readers and writers here, many of whom may already consider me a troll and a nuisance, I offer a formal endorsement of Felicia Chew for Ward 3 based on my numerous interactions with her along the campaign trail.
I join Michael Bryan is supporting Chew in the Democratic Primary. I was leaning toward Paul Durham. Then he unleashed an expensive hit piece mailer taking on Ms. Chew. Illogically, Chew was blamed for Trump’s victory? I thought it was the Russians that swung the election, not a single mom, teacher in Tucson! If she has that kind of clout, she should run for a statewide office. Why was she singled her out among his other opponents? Was it because she is the only woman candidate? Or was this horse-pucky an attempt to capitalize on Tucson voter’s fear and anti-Trump feelings.. Please focus on our local Ward and City needs.