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With summer heat around the corner, it’s the perfect time for PCDP to host a world-class climatologist for our first major fundraising event of 2021. “We CAN (Climate Action Now) Fundraiser” will feature Dr. Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State and director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center. His latest book, The New Climate War, details the fossil fuel industry’s long campaign to evade responsibility for climate change and delay action on remediating it, and offers a battle plan for saving the planet. Commissioner Sandra Kennedy will also speak, so save the date: July 17, 5 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. Details to follow.

April had me focused on fundraising, with an invaluable assist from Director Miranda Lopez, who crafted our fundraising strategy and keeps me focused on what I need do – starting with introducing myself to donors. 

The best thing that happened in April is that we got to see President Joe Biden address Congress, an uplifting experience that reminded us what “presidential’’ looks like. Haven’t we all missed seeing compassion and passion, in a positive and hopeful address? 

In his first 100 days, President Biden has accomplished an astonishing amount on behalf of the American people: shots in arms, stimulus checks, childcare assistance and more, as part of the American Rescue Plan. But Democrats realize that so much more needs to be done. We need to implement the American Jobs Plan and The American Family Plan. President Biden calls them once-in-a-generation investments in our nation’s future that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, spur innovation, ramp up domestic manufacturing, lift families out of poverty, and secure the Middle Class by helping families cover the basic expenses. This is a truly exciting time.

Of course, Republicans having nothing good to say about any of this, and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to obstruct as much of President Biden’s plans as possible. After the president’s April 29 speech to a joint session of Congress, Republicans put their lone Black senator, Tim Scott, on television to deny that systemic racism exists in America. It was a weak rebuttal, considering many Congressional Republicans are touting the American Rescue Plan’s benefits – even though none of them voted for it.  

Closer to home, Republicans in the state legislature has been cranking out a flurry of appalling bills, the worst increasing voter suppression, and making it all but impossible for women to exercise reproductive choice. Before HB1485, which sought to remove people from PEVL failed, KVOA asked me for comment.  Hopefully, it will not be brought back to the floor this session.

We’ve started to bring volunteers back to HQ a few hours a day, and we’ve just welcomed five Interns – a good thing, since May is going to be another busy month. Why? Because election season has begun.  This isn’t an “off’’ year, but a party-building year, when we plan for the next election cycle. Candidates are starting their 2022 campaigns, and 2022 is the year we MUST turn Arizona blue! We must start reaching out to voters now, educating them on the importance of voting in a mid-term…especially this mid-term.  

In Arizona, we’ll elect the whole gamut, from governor to dog catcher. We all see what the current Republican-controlled legislature is doing and has done to the people of Arizona, especially women, so we must flip the legislature in 2022. 

There is no rest for the weary, and the fight for democracy continues. We at HQ can’t wait for the day when we can throw the doors open wide and welcome everyone back. Until then, please keep wearing your mask indoors and in crowds, and stay well.

-Bonnie Heidler