With a 9-point Democratic voter edge in the newly redrawn District 1, an extraordinary alliance of resurgent Arizona Democratic Party leaders and rural, Latino, Native American and environmental groups has placed Navajo attorney Wenona Benally Baldenegro's historic Congressional campaign into the national spotlight as a bellwether in the state's new politics.
Since incumbent U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-AZ) decision to run in neighboring District 4 last month, bipartisan support for the Harvard-trained public interest advocate's bid to become the first Native American woman in Congress has surged across the vast rural district, which includes Flagstaff and 10 Native American tribes, historic labor towns and an estimated 40 percent Native/Latino electorate. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has placed District 1 in its Red-to-Blue program. In a line: Galvanized by Benally Baldenegro's bold campaign to reinvigorate the Democratic base among her rural and main street towns, Arizona Democrats and Independents are jumping ship from one-time conservative Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick's largely out-of-state-supported attempt to revive her disastrous 2010 campaign, which turned away record numbers of voters. As a defiant supporter of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, environmental rollbacks, and her lagging support for workplace safety and Latino and Native American concerns, Kirkpatrick lost 44 percent of her one-time supporters in 2010.
"Ann lost me and lost her base when she consistently obstructed or went AWOL on core Democratic party positions," said Flagstaff attorney Mik Jordahl. "It doesn't help to have a "D" after your name if you consistently vote against core Democratic Party positions. It's so exciting to finally have a candidate in Wenona who stands up for core Democratic valves and doesn't cave into the Republican Lite wing of the Democratic party."
As the Tea Party-led state legislature in Arizona unveils their Wisconsin-copycat assault on public unionsthis session, Benally Baldenegro's defense of labor rights and workplace safety has also won the surprise endorsement of the United Steelworkers of America, the largest union in District 1, as well as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees #449 in the district's southern ranks in Pima County. The United Steelworkers singled out Benally Baldenegro, who was raised in the mining town of Kayenta, on the Navajo Nation and has worked in the public policy sector for sustainable job creation and small business development in rural areas, for her "commitment to fight for working families."
While Kirkpatrick's early candidacy and prior Capitol Hill connections picked up support from some major funders last summer, including Emily's List, growing numbers of Democratic party leaders and women advocates are calling on Beltway organizations to reconsider their premature endorsements and donations, and recognize Benally Baldenegro's more representative base of supporters and commitment to Democratic values.
"I'm supporting Wenona because she's a smart and dynamic woman and will serve the district well," said Arizona state Rep. Sally Gonzales, one of numerous state legislators backing Benally Baldenegro. "I think as a young woman she can motivate the masses of young people and can make a difference in the upcoming election. As the first Native American woman to serve in the state legislature I strongly support the need for more people of color in all areas of government representation."
Along with the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and the prized support of Arizona's U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, and the local, state and national Progressive Democrats of America, Benally Baldenegro has won the support of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Tohono O'odham Nation, Tulalip Tribes of Washington, San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, and Johnny Naize, Navajo Nation Speaker of the Council and Ben Nuvamsa, the former Hopi Tribe Chairman.
"I voted for Ann Kirkpatrick in 2008 and 2010," said Cheryl Bader, a Democratic Party activist in Flagstaff. "While many of Ann's votes while she was in Congress reflect the values of the Democratic voters in this district, some did not and they are troubling. Kirkpatrick was one of a few Democrats who joined Republicans early on to ask Nancy Pelosi to extend the Bush tax cuts for the very rich. Had she supported the majority of Democrats and Nancy Pelosi who were calling for a fair tax structure, we might have seen a different result in that fight. We have an alternative here in Arizona's CD1 and that's Wenona Benally Baldenegro. She will fight for us without compromise. Wenona will excite the voters who stayed home in 2010. She gets my vote!"
The original article may be found on Huffington Post
Let’s say that at the end of the day, liberals face a choice: Which is worse, extended sequestration or a Grand Bargain that cuts Social Security and Medicare in exchange for new revenues, as Obama’s forthcoming budget seems designed to secure?
The massive federal budget cuts that will start Friday as part of the "sequester" will damage our economic recovery and mean fewer services here in Southern Arizona. Strip away the conservative economic theories and party-line rhetoric and that's the reality we're facing.
Comprehensive immigration reform could go down as one of the most overlooked, overdue priorities Washington has ever let slide.
Washington, D.C. – This morning 107 House Democrats – a majority of the House Democratic Caucus – wrote President Obama urging him to reject any proposals to cut the Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits millions of American families depend upon.
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today highlighted the introduction by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, a bill to reinstate the law that protected women from domestic violence until the House Republican majority allowed it to lapse in 2011.
A coalition of more than 200 environmental and progressive groups is urging President Obama to nominate Rep. Raul Grijalva, an outspoken liberal, to be the next Interior Secretary.
Liberal House Democrats on Thursday warned Republicans and President Barack Obama that including a change to how the government calculates cost-of-living adjustments could serve as a poison pill for any fiscal deal.
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today released the following statement on the potential inclusion of a so-called chained Consumer Price Index feature in the latest floated version of a financial agreement: “Federal law has always prohibited Social Security from contributing to the deficit. Any talk of shrinking the program to ‘save money’ is flawed from the start because Social Security is not part of the national budget...."
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today released the following statement on the recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
“When a man kills twenty children and seven others for no reason other than his own demons, the immediate human response is the same anywhere: deep pain, grief, anger and frustration. In the United States, unfortunately, such a tragedy carries an added weight because it is not unique.
Washington, D.C. – A report released this morning by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), originally requested by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), highlights billions of dollars in lost public royalty revenue from oil and gas extraction on federal lands and describes glaring shortfalls in the data publicly available on hardrock mineral extraction on those lands.
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) today led 39 CPC members in introducing the Deal for All. The Deal for All presents the Caucus’ basic principles for resolving tax and budget issues Congress will need to address after the November election, and will serve as a framework for progressives during the negotiations.
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act:
Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the seventy-six-member Congressional Progressive Caucus and one of the most powerful liberals in America, is no poster boy for Washington protocol. When he and his wife, Mona, arrived for his swearing-in ceremony in 2003, a man in military uniform met them at the airport and addressed him as “Congressman.” Grijalva, elected to represent Arizona’s Seventh District, promptly got the giggles.
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva will host a press conference on Tuesday, March 27, to unveil a “friend of the court” brief in the Supreme Court’s Arizona v. United States case, which will decide the constitutionality of Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 law. The amicus curiae brief, co-signed by 67 of Rep. Grijalva’s House colleagues, argues that the law is unconstitutional because, as courts have held consistently, federal immigration law pre-empts any state-level standards.
The 2012 elections are an opportunity to turn things around here in Arizona.
The state's working people are sick and tired of the right-wing extremists who misgovern Arizona. Gov. Jan Brewer and the overwhelmingly Republican Legislature are at war against the people of Arizona.
When the president addresses the economy in the State of the Union, he needs to offer more than optimism, and I think he will. The conservative House majority is going to reject anything he offers sight unseen – that’s no secret – but that’s no reason for the president not to make a strong case to the country that he understands the problem and has a solution mapped out.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) and Democracy for America, a progressive PAC, have endorsed Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Donna Edwards (D-Md.) in their 2012 reelection races.
Our guest on Newsmakers was Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He gives the House Progressives’ perspective on what’s next for deficit reduction, federal spending and legislative priorities overall, after the deficit "Super Committee" failed to come to an agreement. The Progressive Caucus said this week it will present its own plan for deficit reduction and jobs.
The Native American community has a long, troubled history with mining interests, and today that history is catching up with us in Arizona. From a new push for uranium mining at the Grand Canyon to the ongoing battle over Resolution Copper, it’s not too much to say my home state tribes are under siege.
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison today released the following statement on President Obama’s job creation and deficit reduction plan:
On Friday, September 12th more than 150 activists will go to DC and Demand that their Senators and Representatives support removing the ratification deadline from the ERA (SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 113)