December 18, 202
As someone suggested, TJ Shope (R-LD8) should take a minimum wage job at his daddy’s grocery store for the next 20 years - hopefully he’d learn some humility and understanding of what AZ’s struggling families are going through. Senator Shope and the GOP rail against anything that doesn’t include “stop the steal” lies, limits on voting or restrictions of women’s reproductive rights.
The Build Back Better Act will provide families with an extension of the Child Tax Credit that has reduced child poverty rates by some 40%; it will reduce the cost of child care for most working and middle-class families. BBB will cut the price of prescription drugs — a huge benefit for seniors. Its investment in clean and renewable energies comes as we suffer ever more deadly wildfires and storms on our coasts and heartland. We’ll see increased abatement of a worsening water crisis. Public education gets an expansion of access and opportunity for those who need it most.
America is in serious need of significant investment. The longer our nation puts off vitally needed investment in our infrastructure and workers, the more expensive it becomes. While tax cuts sound appetizing, their impact can make the overall result more costly. The AZ GOP is offering a new “flat-tax plan” that gives working families pennies while pouring thousands more into the pockets of our very wealthiest; over time it puts all programs at risk — the timing and net outcome of this plan couldn’t be worse.
More than 1 in 6 Arizona working families earn too little to make ends meet. That means kids going to bed hungry and parents burdened with stress beyond comprehension. T.J. Shope and his GOP colleagues don’t seem to understand or care. Thankfully, Democrats are continuing to work on behalf of an America built back better for every family!
November 11, 2021
Arizona has nine U.S. congressional representatives. This past week, each of them had an opportunity to vote on a bill that would make a direct, quick and positive impact on our state’s economy and quality of life. Thankfully, the bill passed. The four Republicans all voted against while the five Democrats voted in favor. I believe the GOP members were wrong and deliberately ignored the needs of Arizona!
Here’s what the new infrastructure bill invests in: repair and replacement of roads and bridges; improvements to the electrical grid; railway repairs; improved and expanded broadband, especially in rural areas; climate resiliency; modernization of airports; technology for electric vehicles and charging.
Why would anyone not support these overdue investments in America? Why would any Arizona representatives say no to our state’s families, communities and businesses on matters so critically in need? The answer is simple — Arizona's GOP has become nothing but a cult of obstruction and power. They’ve stopped working for their constituents and become solely committed to partisan glut! They have, in fact, begun to punish members of their own party who voted to enact this legislation that benefits Americans of every walk of life.
I want to take this opportunity to personally thank every U.S. House and Senate member who supported the infrastructure bill. Included are every Arizona Democratic member: Tom O’Halleran, Ann Kirkpatrick, Greg Stanton, Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly. It’s time we choose the party willing to work for us!
October 1, 2021
In his editorial “Our View” (Dispatch, Sept. 28), the Dispatch editor makes an important point. He says, “More Republicans need to join their colleagues who have already moved on" from the denial of the results of the 2020 election. At last count, two-thirds of Republicans have not moved on.
The editor says, “Our system is based on holding fair elections and accepting the results.” He says that while Trump still claims fraud in spite of the results of the “audit,” that showed the system worked. The editor knows that the system worked well for decades and decades without private “audits” or recent Republican voter suppression laws brought about only by Trump’s loss and his “Big Lie.” He knows that Democrats are now trying to reverse those laws at the federal level, but says they are making “major changes in the way elections are run,” implying sinister intent.
While stating there is no excuse for failure to accept the results of an election, the editor attempts to excuse Trump’s actions by noting he was treated badly in the campaign and in office. The editor can’t have it both ways. No presidents are treated well by their campaign opponents, government officials or the media — just look at Biden. But no other president in the history of our country has ever endangered the proper working of the system by refusing to accept a peaceful transfer of power or plotting to hold onto presidential power after losing the election. Trump’s actions show that he will never accept closure nor encourage his followers to do so.
I call on the editor to “move on” by publicly condemning this former president’s actions, without equivocation, and strongly encouraging his followers to accept the results of the 2020 election.
August 21, 2021
Our lame duck governor and virtually every GOP state legislator propose using federal grant money to bribe Arizona school districts to ignore CDC COVID-19 health guidelines. That’s right — as the delta variant rages across our state and nation, these politicians plan to misuse federal funds to put their ideology ahead of scientists and health professionals. As more children/students become infected and hospitalized, the GOP wants to put them at even greater risk.
House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding referred to this plan as a “Hunger Games situation” — pitting districts and students against each other. Congressman Greg Stanton warns that these funds are intended for all schools and “not to be used for policies that undercut scientific research to pursue purely partisan ideological priorities."
Is this the Arizona you want for the next four years? The leading GOP candidate for governor, Kari Lake, is already committed to even more radicalized governance. She’s put her allegiance to Trump on full display and now she’s cozying up to one of the most extreme politicians of them all — Paul Gosar.
Arizona needs steady, experienced and pragmatic leadership. Gamesmanship and divisiveness have no place in governing during tough times. Political extremism is counterproductive and hurts our businesses and families.
I’m supporting the one candidate for governor who will always work on behalf of Arizonans’ best interests. Katie Hobbs has the experience and temperament to be the governor we need. Katie proved her commitment to Arizona’s families when she worked to usher in expanded health care coverage for our most vulnerable. She continues to fight to protect our access to the ballot box.
Arizona voters have a chance to un-radicalize our state in 2022. We must elect Katie Hobbs as our next governor!
July 9, 2021
I’m guessing that many of you feel that Arizona has seen way more than its fair share of wild and crazy politics over the past dozen years. We’ve led the nation in headlines that cause more embarrassment than pride, more head scratching than applause. I’m hoping you agree that it’s time for Arizona to change course.
The good news is that we can take one simple but profound step away from ideological radicalism. In one fell swoop, our state can go from conspiracy lunacy to moderate and effective governance. By electing Katie Hobbs as our next governor, Arizona can take a giant step in a positive direction.
You won’t find another candidate that matches Ms. Hobbs in credentials and experience. As a state legislator, having built a reputation for pragmatic leadership, Katie was respected across the political spectrum. As Arizona’s secretary of state, only the extreme “Big Lie” conspiracists failed to praise her effective and efficient work. Both our GOP governor and attorney general, along with every single Arizona county recorder, reported that Katie Hobbs ran a safe and secure 2020 election, despite unprecedented obstacles and record voter turnout.
Every Arizona citizen and voter should be fairly represented at the state level. The best way to ensure that result is to elect a governor committed to helping working families thrive. We need a governor ready to get to work on day one. We need to elect Katie Hobbs in 2022!
June 2, 2021
Only those totally ignoring any news reports or those who completely buy into the “Big Lie” aren’t aghast by the actions being taken nationwide by the GOP. Not since immediately after the Civil War has there been such a comprehensive attack on democracy and voting rights in our country. Then as now, the strategy was to curtail voting access to people of color.
In Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arizona and at least 20 other states, Republican legislatures are decimating accessibility to voting as well as providing a quick and easy method to disavow and disenfranchise the will of voters expressed via the ballot box. State constitutions are being changed to undermine the ability of election officials to defend safe and secure elections whenever the majority party is unhappy with election results.
This is not about conservative policies. This is not about fiscal or taxation differences. This is not about anything but naked and grotesque power control. The Republican Party has 100% abdicated its desire to legislate on any issue except how to guarantee their victory in the 2022 election and beyond.
Local editorial silence on this issue is deafening and disappointing. The clarion sirens of impending disaster must begin blaring. The federal government must be unencumbered by the outdated filibuster and take action to protect democracy. Make no mistake, if we remain silent and aloof, if we fail to engage and demand action, our grandchildren will learn of a time in the not too distant past when democracy became extinct in America.
Democracy dies from the rot within — the GOP is the rot that is killing American democracy today! If we don’t stop it in its tracks.
When politicians and voters waved flags, wearing red hats and T-shirts saying Make America Great Again, did they have a vision in mind? Was putting “America First” merely a slogan or was there a plan for regaining some greatness that was lost?
The good news is that the Biden administration has a specific and comprehensive plan to achieve real MAGA goals. The 2021 American Jobs Plan is 100% about restoring American greatness and position of global leadership! The vision is a system of railways, roads and bridges set up for a century of heavy traffic with clean energy sources ready for expansion and growth. It’s a plan for nationwide broadband access as well as greater opportunities for higher quality education across the socioeconomic spectrum. This legislation is meant to eliminate the hazards of leaded water pipes and other potential environmental disasters. It beefs up national security around power grids, water supplies and hospitals. It’s a means of job creation at the level of clock-punching, lunch-bucket-toting, blue-collar workers — as such, it’s the best way to put America and its workers first!
The Build Back Better plan is much more than fixing what’s broken now — it’s a blueprint to rebuild our states and cities from crumbling decline to a modern model for the world to envy and emulate. The argument that it’s too expensive is ridiculous. We cannot afford to leave rebuilding America to future generations. Don’t fret about those corporations and millionaires, they’ll benefit most from a modernized America — modest tax increases will pay huge dividends in the long term. Keep in mind, demand is the true driver of economic growth — good-paying jobs lead to more buying power and increased business profits.
So, tell all your MAGA friends that the 2021 American Jobs Plan is the best way to put America first and make it great again!
In 2009 the GOP would not support legislation intended to save America from economic collapse. Their strategy was that by opposing the newly elected Democratic president they’d ensure his reelection defeat — they didn’t care about Americans.
In 2017 the GOP fully supported a $2 trillion tax cut of which over 80% benefited the top 1%. At the time, the economy was growing and unemployment had reached historic lows. There were no impending economic or health emergencies that called for immediate action. They chose to take care of their wealthy donors.
Now, in 2021, with the nation fighting to regain its health and economic footing, the GOP has again chosen partisan obstruction over what Americans need. With people in food lines, families facing eviction and small businesses still shuttering, the GOP tells Americans their priority is defeating a Democratic president’s agenda. Even as the popularity of the American Rescue Act reached 70% approval ratings, the GOP said, “No”!
Democrats will continue to do what’s needed. They’ll support programs that help keep cops, firefighters, nurses, teachers and all workers safely employed. They’ll not stop helping working and low-income families put food on their tables and roofs over their heads. This isn’t about any naked political agenda, this is about being an America that takes care of Americans in need.
Last week Carole Clark wrote that we’re at a political crossroads. The choice is clear: an agenda of voter suppression and disdain for the will of the people or a return to a nation of empathy, compassion and progress.
Mark Finchem was there!
When Trump called on the most extreme and dangerous of his supporters to be in D.C. for a Jan. 6 rally, LD11’s Mark Finchem answered the call and came. This date will be remembered as more damaging to America than either Dec. 7 or Sept. 11 — this is the day a U.S. president incited a violent takedown of American democracy! Not foreigners but American citizens took part in the insurrection.
Mark Finchem was there, along with the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other far right extremist fringe groups. They took part in an attack on America’s sacred citadel of democracy. Trump called his minions to action and Mark Finchem responded.
During the onslaught that brought tears, fear and shame to most of us watching from the safety of our homes, Mark Finchem tweeted an horrific photo with the caption: "What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud. #stopthesteal” In other words, Finchem fully endorses a violent response to the election loss of his candidate.
He later tweeted a blast at the D.C. mayor for taking action to quell the rebellion and make the streets safe — he called her a “commie." Mark Finchem applauded the violence but condemned the action to abate it and save lives.
I have no doubt that Mark Finchem is a clear and present danger. He should be considered one of the domestic terrorists who is ready and capable of bringing violence to our State Capitol in Phoenix if he doesn’t get his way. He must either resign immediately or the voters of LD11 must recall him from his elected position. We cannot afford to wait for more death and revolution brought to us by Mark Finchem or Trump!
Are you, like I am, so very, very tired of hearing and reading a nonstop continuation of total nonsense? Of course, every person is entitled to form and hold their own opinions, but when those opinions are based on lies and then spread to the public, real damage is done.
Kevin Holten (“Special Cowboy”) wrote a column Dec. 15 with statistics taken completely out of any sensible context. His intent is to minimize the horrible impact COVID-19 infections have had on the lives of people around the world. We are seeing nearly 3,000 of our fellow Americans die every single day — it’s now a death rate that exceeds all other causes. Don’t believe the Holtens of the world.
Why do we continue to hear from people like Robert Zamzow (Dec. 17 letter) telling us that Democrats are socialists? These false prophets want you to believe that wanting a better life for your family is somehow un-American. Fair wages, taxes, health care and education are not wildly leftist ideas — they’re the foundation of what used to be the “American Dream.” Don’t believe the Zamzows of the world.
Despite losing in county courts, state courts, federal courts and twice at the U.S. Supreme Court, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar and LD11 state Rep. Mark Finchem continue to promote wild election conspiracy theories. It’s now very obvious that no audits or recounts will satisfy them. They’ve never been concerned with process — their motivation rests in subservience to a cult of personality and power. They’re willing to undermine our democracy in the process. Don’t believe the Gosars and Finchems of the world.
I’m hoping that 2021 will see a restoration of health, economy and honesty in America. My optimism is based on getting the naysayers to “Please stop already”!
I cannot support Vince Leach for reelection to the Arizona Senate. His decision not to attend any debate with the Democratic candidate seeking the LD11 Senate seat was cowardly and a dereliction of his duty to his constituents.
I cannot support for public office any candidate who posted political cartoons that employed racist and QAnon images as Sen. Leach has done. This shows a lack of empathy and sensitivity for many of his constituents and a lack of commonsense and sound judgment expected of anyone who is charged with making our laws.
I cannot support Leach’s opposition to “KidsCare,” his opposition to the minimum wage, his support of “dark money” or his support of laws to weaken our ability to exercise our constitutional right to legislate through initiatives and referendums. Nor can I support his votes to fund religious schools with public school money.
I cannot support Leach’s active state preemption of local control through his vigorous enforcement of SB1487. Sen. Leach has threatened more cities and citizens with loss of state shared revenues than any other Arizona senator. (Online see AZAG’s report on SB 1487 “complaints.") His last threat was to the people of several Arizona cities when their mayors acted early and appropriately in response to the current pandemic, an official act with which Leach disagreed. Leach also opposed federal COVID-19 funds for states and cities.
It is time for a new senator in LD11. It’s time to elect JoAnna Mendoza. She’s a Marine combat veteran and mother who will fight for Arizona’s working families, improving public education and scientifically based decision making when it comes to infectious diseases and environmental protections. JoAnna’s all about getting problems solved and not divisive political ideology. Please vote for a new senator, please vote for JoAnna Mendoza!
Imagine FDR addressing the nation on Monday, Dec. 8, 1941: “My fellow Americans, I just wanted to let you know that yesterday, Japan sent a few planes to buzz our fleet in Pearl Harbor. No need to panic though, not much damage done, they’ll just disappear and be gone without us needing to do anything. It’ll be like a miracle. And don’t pay much attention to what those so-called expert generals and admirals tell you — I know best.”
President Trump's entire approach to policy regarding immigration and racial tension has been an overt attempt to panic white Americans, especially “suburban housewives." He told us about caravans of rapists and drug dealers raiding our border — the emergency so urgent, he stole money from the military to build a wall and put children in cages. He screams on a daily basis that BLM is about to destroy American suburban life, antifa is ready to take your guns and burn down your home. This is pure and unmitigated panic spreading.
Trump is not someone who ever seeks to quell panic or chaos that he sees as being to his benefit. He fans the flames of panic, divisiveness and extremism that promote his twisted agenda.
How can anyone believe Trump when he claims his intentional lies to America regarding the seriousness of COVID-19 were based on anything but his own interests. He put his political future ahead of warning the nation of the deadly threat to their lives and livelihood. He failed to take action to mitigate the spread and impact of a pandemic the likes of which the world has not seen in over 100 years. He has cost thousands and thousands of American lives.
Trump knew what was coming. Trump did not protect American lives. Trump lied to America.
Americans can handle tough truth without panic — Americans cannot tolerate a president who lies about dangers real or imagined.
Those who voted for Trump in 2016 did so based on their hopes. Those who vote for Trump in 2020 must do so based on his record.
Like a second grader excited about getting a star on an art project, he brags about remembering five words. He’s the first president to personally profit by traveling to his own properties over 300 times since the inauguration. He pressured the UK to move the British Open to a Trump golf course. He’s gassed peaceful protesters to get a photo op holding a Bible upside down.
He wishes accused sexual predator Ghislaine Maxwell well but demeans women of color who were duly elected to the U.S. Congress. He humiliates members of the press who dare to ask uncomfortable questions. He allows no one to disagree with him under penalty of degradation and revenge.
He abandoned our military allies in Syria and still fails to respond to Russian bounties on our own brave troops. He has undermined our NATO alliance to the benefit of Russian expansionism. He failed to hold Russia to task for election interference or continued occupation of Crimea. In fact, he seeks to reward Russia with inclusion back into the G-7.
He responds to racial injustice and calls to reform police brutality with increased police brutality. He abandoned a federal COVID response to the states but sends an unrequested occupying army on to American streets. Let’s be clear, these actions seek to exacerbate rather than decrease violence. They are intended as a means to frighten and sow racial divisiveness among what’s left of his white supporters.
It’s not hyperbole to believe another Trump term would bring unrepairable damage to America. Another four years might change “president” to “dictator." If you vote to re-elect Trump in 2020, there will be no excuses.
The United States of America took a giant step today toward becoming an autocracy. Irrespective of how you feel regarding the guilt or innocence of Gen. Michael Flynn, you should be aware that the American judicial system was prostituted in order to get him off the hook.
This case was not ultimately decided by trial. This case was not appealed to a higher court by the defendant based on evidence or some legal error. This case was dismissed because the president of the United States ruled it so. Take a moment to understand the ramifications of this — justice in our country is now in the hands of a sovereign rather than the Constitution. Guilt or innocence now depends on the level of friendship one has with the occupant of the White House. Justice now takes a back seat to political loyalty.
In truth, the Trump administration has been actively destroying the independence of the Department of Justice and the Judiciary Branch of government for quite a while. In the Roger Stone case as well, the work of federal prosecutors has been undermined to aid a friend of the sovereign. The U.S. attorneys of the Washington, D.C., and Southern District of New York offices have been removed from duty in order to protect Trump friends, family or Trump himself from investigation. Thanks to Attorney General William Barr, America now has a justice system that resembles those in Russia, China and other non-democratic countries. Democracy lost might never be restored.
Where our nation goes from here is in serious doubt. Believing things couldn’t get any worse is becoming nothing more than wishful thinking. As the Legislative and Judicial branches of government become irrelevant, presidential inaugurations will quickly be replaced by sovereign coronations!
I’m a concerned parent and grandparent. Are we putting the cart before the horse in our impatient rush to reopen our schools?
Due to years of underfunding, Arizona’s public schools were already plagued by shortages of teachers, custodial staff, counselors and nurses. Now, as we consider bringing students back, those crucial professional shortages will be even more problematic. Before making a bad situation worse, I believe we should take some time to focus on being better prepared.
Our children deserve to walk into an educational environment that is clean and safe. Each and every school should have classrooms that are sanitized and staffed by a qualified educator. In the event of illness, every school should have a registered nurse in house. After months of COVID lockdown syndrome (and being exposed to extended close contact with their parents), students should be able to speak with a certified counselor who can provide emotional support.
I’d like to see every school reopening process invite input from parent and teacher organizations. Additionally, we need to ensure strict compliance with CDC guidelines. We should not leave these crucial and potentially fraught actions to politicians and bureaucrats alone.
Arizona needs to get back to educating and nourishing our most important resource for future success — our children. Arizona needs to proceed with a careful and comprehensive plan to ensure our children and everyone working in public education are kept safe. Let’s not put the cart before the horse on this one — too much is riding on us getting it right.
The COVID-19 crisis has brought quite a few issues into sharp focus. While we all continue to do all that we can to keep ourselves, our families and the general public safe and healthy, this might be a good time to look beyond the immediate and urgent — do we need a government larger than one that can be drowned in a bathtub?
Our American health care system, already known for being the most expensive and least efficient among industrialized nations, is also collapsing under pressure. How do patients afford testing and treatment without extreme intervention by the government? As more Americans lose their jobs, a system built on employment-provided health care coverage can no longer cope.
There’s no question that our income/wealth top-heavy economy has been toppled quickly and easily. America’s working and low-income families make up nearly 90% of the population but only 10% of the wealth/income. Picture an inverted pyramid, it wouldn’t take much of a push to topple it. Families who’ve struggled to keep up with bills during normal times cannot last more than one or two lost paychecks without catastrophic results. We now need emergency funding in the trillions of dollars to barely stay afloat while exploding the national debt.
Pandemic and other catastrophic event preparedness has taken a backseat to many other governmental budgetary priorities. Over decades, we’ve ignored the impending danger at our own peril. We’ve built aircraft carriers, tanks and walls but we’re brought to our knees for want of masks, gowns and ventilators.
Today’s crisis should give us pause to reconsider our nation’s path forward. The immediate and urgent will give way to a future that will depend on long-term policy choices. Will we learn from our past or continue to set ourselves up for more disasters to come? The choice is ours!