By Alison Jones
Now that we are in the general election cycle, PCDP is in high gear. The pandemic has changed the way we do things, but it hasn’t slowed us down.
This is a time for bold messaging. And here is my message to all of you: Pima County will deliver the margin that will give Arizona’s 11 electoral votes to Biden/Harris. Bold, yes. Possible, yes. Likely? That’s really up to all of us in the next few weeks.
Even though the national elections tend to consume all of the oxygen in the room, the down-ballot races most influence your day-to-day life. We have a shot at evening up or gaining a majority in the state legislature. If we succeed, life in Arizona will change dramatically. Imagine living in a state where public education is appropriately funded and teachers are paid what they are worth. Or where we don’t give away tax revenue to attract business – because we don’t have to. They will come here for well-educated workers! Imagine living in a state where lawmakers consider science when making health policy. We will have all of these things – and more – with the right state legislature.
Our Pima County Board of Supervisors also makes a huge difference in our daily lives. I am so excited that Democrat Steve Diamond is running in District 4. We have not had a Democrat run for that seat in over 20 years. He has been working hard, and the vote count in the primary shows it. Watch out, Steve Christy!
Rex Scott, a retired and well-known school administrator in District 1, has a vision, and a great shot at taking the seat that a GOP supervisor who I will nicely describe as “quirky,” is vacating.
Matt Heinz (District 2), incumbent Sharon Bronson (District 3), and Adelita Grijalva (District 5), are well positioned to keep those seats in Democratic hands, but we aren’t taking anything for granted.
School board races are non-partisan, so those races might require a bit more homework. The TUSD race has three openings, and six good Democrats are running: Ravi Grivois-Shah, Adam Ragan, Natalie Luna Rose, Sadie Shaw, Cindy Winston, and write-in candidate Cristina Mennella. Nathan Davis is a great candidate running in Amphi School District.
I want to give a shout-out to Catherine Ripley, who is running for Pima Community College Board of Governors in District 1. Cat was PCDP’s Executive Director. She is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, served as a diplomat, worked in anti-terrorism, and teaches political science at Pima Community College. A vote for Cat, if you live in Pima District 1, is a smart vote.
So much is going on that it’s a little hard to keep track. Here are some things you need to know:
- As the president and his cronies work to compromise the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver ballots in a timely manner, we are following the situation closely. As I write, Nancy Pelosi is bringing members back to D.C. to address this situation. Nevertheless, WE KNOW what we need to do here in Pima. The Pima Recorder will mail out ballots on October 7. If you vote by mail, return your ballot within a few days of receiving it. If you can’t do that, drop it off at any one of 13 early voting sites in Pima County. We’ll be posting these sites’ locations on our website (pimadems.org). And if you are a procrastinator, go to the polls on Election Day. You can drop off a mail-in ballot at ANY Pima polling location on Election Day. We will be working hard to get this message out, and to help our LDs get the word out, too. Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez tells me she is working on getting additional drop-off locations.
- Every one of you is a center of influence. Reach out to your friends and tell them how you are voting and why it is important. I figure I influenced at least 50 ballots in the primary by simply writing emails to friends in Pima County. We should all be doing this.
- Vote all the way down ballot. If you have questions about your ballot, call our headquarters and we can put you in touch with one of your precinct committeepersons. PCDP’s phone number is 520-326-3716. Leave a message. Our volunteers generally respond within an hour.
- Attend the virtual Udall dinner on October 3. Noam Chomsky is our keynote speaker, and we will be giving the Spirit of Arizona Award to former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. It is a big fundraiser for us. All funds are being routed to the Legislative districts for get-out-the-vote. Sign up at pimadems.org/udall-event-2020
- We just learned that the Invest In Ed Initiative WILL be on the ballot after all. Pima County Democratic Party supports this initiative. Every wealthy state knows that investing in education pays high dividends in the form of a quality workforce that attracts good jobs. If passed, there will be a tax increase for the top 4%. Our message must be this: The return on investment for this initiative is high. But if we fail to invest, we assure higher poverty rates and economic mediocrity.
Finally, I want to thank all of the candidates who ran as Democrats in the primaries. Running for office is an all-consuming, exhausting experience. There is no down time. It is a sacrifice many of us cannot understand. Congratulations to those who prevailed. Some of the results were expected; others were surprising. The record turnout was gratifying, indeed. It showed us that social distancing and a killer virus don’t stand a chance against great candidates, motivated volunteers, and effective uses of social media and alternate campaign strategies.
Thank you for all you do. It is an honor to be your County Chair.