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By Richard Weibe

“The county party needs a platform,” Tucson attorney Bill Reisner told his friend, Phil Lopes.  “Let’s make it happen.”

The challenge was a perfect fit for Phil, a, longtime party activist and four-term state representative.  From joining the first Peace Corps class in 1961 to joining Pima Community College’s first faculty in 1969, Phil knows how to create something from nothing.

PCDP Chair Alison Jones said, “I first heard of the plans to propose building a platform at the LD3 monthly meeting in November 2018. Bill said we need to stand for more than just electing Democrats. It was time to articulate our values to energize Democrats, and let voters know where we stand.”

A few weeks later, Bill made a motion at the PCDP Reorganization Meeting that PCDP form a platform committee to do just that. The County Committee passed the motion, and Alison appointed Phil and Paul Taylor as co-chairs. 

By March, the two had recruited 15 volunteers who met at least bimonthly for eight months.  Experts in the community contributed valuable information on issues like education and housing. Focus groups provided additional insights from typical voters.

“We started with a blank slate,” Phil said. The platform committee represents the diverse constituencies that make up PCDP. It was a lot of work, but the committee produced a platform PCDP will be proud of.”

PCs unanimously approved the platform on December 7 at the County Committee Meeting.  It covers 16 subject areas:

  • Access to and Participation in Our Democracy
  • Anti-Racism
  • Criminal Justice
  • Economic Justice
  • Education
  • Energy and Environment
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Human Rights
  • Immigration and our Borderland Community
  • Native American Rights and Tribal Sovereignty
  • Peace
  • Public Health
  • Security and Safety
  • Taxes, Revenue and Spending
  • Technology

Positions on specific proposals, or “planks,” are listed for each subject.

To improve access to democracy, for example, PCDP supports strengthening Arizona’s Clean Elections system, the Outlaw Dark and Dirty Money ballot initiative, and reversing the Citizens United decision.

PCDP also supports increasing teachers’ salaries, expanding the low-income housing credit, overhauling immigration and customs enforcement, and removing English-only standards.

“I hope PCs will see the platform as a way of identifying ourselves,” Phil said. “The platform is intended to be a living document that will evolve as circumstances and viewpoints evolve.”

The platform can be found HERE.