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.
There's the all out attack against public education by slashing school funding, charter schools, vouchers to shift funding to private schools, legislation to intimidate school boards, and endless attacks on teachers and students. Thousands of poor Arizonans are losing health care benefits, city streets our full of growing pot holes, Public Universities are defunded, and tuition will soon be out of reach for most families.
The attack against labor unions is now in full swing. There's an unending barrage of racial assaults on immigrant workers and their families, which also target anybody who might look like an immigrant. And to top it all Arizona has some of the worst voter suppression laws requiring submission of proof of citizenship when registering to vote and showing a picture ID at the polls, all of which is exasperated by massive unemployment and poverty, which prevents many youth from acquiring licenses.
But the attacks have generated a fightback, which has already resulted in the historic recall of Senate majority leader Russell Pearce last Spring. The organizers of that recall are now targeting racist notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio who is up for election this year in Maricopa County, where 70 percent of Arizonans reside.
The Obama Campaign, which bypassed Arizona in 2008, feels that Arizona is in play and can be won in 2012. This should help invigorate Democratic Party campaigns.
While some local Democratic Party leaders are advising Democratic candidates to move to the right, few seem to be listening. Working class voters are demanding candidates that will represent the 99 percent. One of the most exciting candidates to emerge is Wenona Bennali Baldenegro, who stands a chance to become the first Native American Indian Woman in Congress. Baldanegro, who must first defeat conservative former congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, is building a strong grassroots organization across a large district that includes reservations, mining towns, the city of Flagstaff, and even some suburban areas of Tucson.
Progressive State Senator Kyrsten Sinema resigned from the legislature to run for Congress in Phoenix' CD-9, Arizona's new district. She will be opposed in the Democratic primary by Senate Minority Leader Schapira, another liberal, and by conservative Democratic Party leader Andrei Cherny. Sinema was chosen as best state legislator in the country in 2010 by the Nation magazine.
Congressman Raul Grijalva, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is facing challengers in both the primary and general elections. Grijalva had a bit of a scare in the 2010 election when he was suddenly targeted by the Right Wing. He still managed to win by a six percent margin, and is building a formidable campaign with hundreds of volunteers that should also help turn out votes for other progressive candidates as well as the Presidential and Senate races.
Progressive Mexican American Congressman Ed Pastor is expected to keep his Phoenix seat. Grijalva and Pastor are the only Chicanos ever elected to Congress from Arizona.And in Southeastern Arizona, including parts of Tucson, the race to succeed Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is already in full swing. Four Republicans are facing off to see who will face Giffords' aide Ron Barber to finish the last few months of her term.
Several democratic state legislators are waiting in the wings to step in if Barber decides not to run for a full term in November. None of these Democrats are expected to run a particularly progressive campaign in this district, where Republicans outnumber them.
In the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl, former Democratic Party chairman Don Bivens, a centrist, will face Richard Carmona in the Democratic primary. Carmona, who served as US Surgeon General under George Bush, is surprising many with a reasonably progressive campaign. According to his web site he is supporting the DREAM Act, and is promising to strongly defend Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and reproductive rights for women.
The winner of the Democratic primary will likely face Republican right-wing Congressman Jeff Flake.
The races for the Legislature are not as clear yet. The Democrats took a beating in the 2010 elections, followed by redistricting that strongly favors the Republicans. There's also a massive game of musical chairs taking place with numerous legislators quitting to run for Congress, or being redistricted out of their current districts. Working class Arizonans are hoping that this huge shift can result in some big changes.
As usual, Arizonans will be under attack from a whole slew of propositions placed on the ballot by the ultra-right legislature.
One proposition is aimed at doing away with Arizona's public financing of candidates' campaigns for state offices.
And in Tucson, there will be a race for school board where three incumbents are accused of caving in to the racist attack on their Mexican American Studies program.
Much of the struggle will take place in Phoenix, where huge demographic changes have taken place over the last two decades. Most of the thousands of high and middle school students who walked out of schools in 2006 to protest racist immigration policies are now old enough to vote, and they are citizens, even if their parents may not be. The movements of immigrants and Chicano people against racist oppression has brought forward a new generation of activists who have already swept Russell Pearce out of office and stand a good chance to repeat it with Sheriff Arpaio.
These struggles have brought forth some new progressive, grassroots Chicano candidates running for local offices all across the Valley. This can only result in progress.Link to original article on People's World
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.
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: