Saturday, 30 June 2012 13:38

A Guest Post From Arizona Progressive State Senator David Schapira

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Endorsements are a funny thing. Most of them aren't worth anything at all. I have two friends running in the Democratic primary in Arizona's brand new 9th CD, Kyrsten Sinema and Andrei Cherny. Kyrsten is a progressive and Andrei is somewhere in his own world ideologically. But the third guy... well, he's the one who's been endorsed by Raúl-- and by PDA. Whomever wins the August 28th primary is, likelier than not, headed to Congress. That third guy is David Schapira, the Senate Democratic Leader.

Endorsements are a funny thing. Most of them aren't worth anything at all. People and groups endorse candidates for all kinds of reasons. When a candidate comes to me and says they're being backed by the DCCC, all it tells me is that I have dig extra hard to find out what's wrong with the candidate, since the DCCC is notorious for endorsing conservatives with a distinct lack of ethics. Labor unions? The Building Trades unions of the AFL-CIO have given most of their money this year to Republicans and of their 5 top recipients, 3 are Republicans. A whole slew of professional Beltway liberal fundraising groups are endorsing Patrick Murphy, a lifelong Republican running as a New Dem against an especially heinous teabagger, Allen West. On the other had, when I see PDA or Raúl Grijalva, let alone both, have endorsed a candidate... that's golden. I have two friends running in the Democratic primary in Arizona's brand new 9th CD, Kyrsten Sinema and Andrei Cherny. Kyrsten is a progressive and Andrei is somewhere in his own world ideologically. But the third guy... well, he's the one who's been endorsed by Raúl-- and by PDA.

This is important. The 9th is in Arizona, McCain's home state, but if the district would have existed in 2008, Obama, who did't even campaign there, would have beaten the home state senator 51-47%. The district is even more Democratic-leaning now. Whomever wins the August 28th primary is, likelier than not, headed to Congress. That third guy is David Schapira, the Senate Democratic Leader. He's written that he opposes "continuing or starting wars of choice when so many Americans are struggling at home. I support the advancement of alliances that will promote prosperity around the globe and believe that America must work to create new partners in the international community, not new enemies. In Congress, I will work tirelessly to advance the cause of education that will develop green energy technologies in order to reduce our reliance on foreign energy sources and create a sustainable economy." That sounds about right... and I asked him to introduce himself to DWT readers. Fortunately for us, he agreed.

An Opportunity To Elect A Progressive Champion In Arizona

-by David Schapira

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a win for millions of Americans for whom healthcare would not otherwise be accessible. Healthcare is a very personal issue for me. As a childhood survivor of cancer, I would be uninsurable in the open market without the requirement of insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions. The belief that everyone has a right to healthcare should not be a partisan issue. We are morally obligated to find ways to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to all Americans. This is why we need a public option.

There were many courageous Democrats in Congress who voted for the Affordable Care Act, knowing that it could cost them their jobs. Many Democrats across the country advocated for the legislation to include a public option, however, they supported the legislation because it was a step in the right direction. Sadly, there were also some Democrats, including my opponent, who ran away from Obamacare in the months after the vote. Today, we need leaders who are willing to communicate our progressive values, not only to the voters, but also as members of Congress. Now, more than ever, we need Congress to focus on the next important step in healthcare reform: a public option.

That is why I am running for Congress in Arizona’s new Ninth Congressional District. I believe that my community, state and nation deserve a Congressman who will stand up for working-class Americans. I need your help in this endeavor.

First, let me tell you a little about myself. I am the Senate Democratic Leader in Arizona. I am a former high school math teacher, and I decided to get involved in politics because I became very frustrated that the kids that I taught did not have the same opportunities I had in growing up. At the age of 26, I disregarded the advice of nearly everyone around me and challenged a ten-year incumbent Republican in a district with a Republican registration advantage in a race for the State House of Representatives. In the end, I won by over 3,000 votes because the voters shared my vision of a strong public-education system and appreciated that I was willing to discuss that vision with them at their doorsteps.

In the Arizona Legislature, I have been on the front lines of fighting against the extreme agenda of Arizona’s Tea-Party Republicans. When leading Democrats in our state distanced themselves from the recall of former Senate President and SB1070 author Russell Pearce, I publicly supported and even hosted a fundraiser for the recall effort. While some backed off holding both Republicans and Democrats accountable for various ethics scandals, I proposed the most extensive ethics reform legislation in Arizona history. I also sponsored comprehensive anti-bullying legislation and took on a right-wing advocacy group, who opposed the bill because of their homophobic agenda.

When Governor Brewer tried her hand at union busting, we stood tall and led the fight (watch my interview on The Ed Show here) against these anti-worker bills dubbed “Wisconsin-on-Steroids.” I’m proud to say the public response was so overwhelming that the bills were killed before they could reach the Governor’s desk.

I have been a staunch supporter of giving power back to the people in my state. Arizona’s Clean Elections system allows candidates to run for office using a public finance system, getting some of the undue influence out of politics. Republicans have consistently attacked the system, along with the help of some Democrats. I am the only candidate in my race to consistently participate in and publicly support Clean Elections. In Congress, I will fight for the federal Fair Elections Act, bringing public financing to all federal campaigns.

I am proud to have earned the support of Congressman Raúl Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the Progressive Democrats of America in my campaign for Congress. They know they can trust me to make education a national priority, defend Social Security and Medicare, fight for a public option for healthcare and advocate for the Fair Elections Act. We need leaders who will stand up to the Tea Party in Washington. I have a proven record of being a consistent and effective voice for progressive values.

For me, this race isn’t about advancing my career or climbing the political ladder - it is about the people of my community and our country. I need your help to spread our message. Together we can make the case that the economy and education are inextricably linked. If we are ever going to truly recover and be competitive in the global economy, we need to make education a national priority.

Arizona’s Congressional District 9 is one of the districts that Democrats need to win back the House majority in November. Help me bring our shared values to Washington, and I will achieve real results for middle-class families. Your donation by the end of this financial quarter on June 30th will make all the difference to help me fight back against the special interests that are sure to play a role in this race.

Remember, when Democrats hide from their convictions, they lose. I’ve won as a progressive in Arizona before, and with your help, I’m going to do it again.

Thank you for standing with me!

David Schapira

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