I can hardly believe it’s been almost a full year since I was elected to serve as your Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party. And what a year it has been!
In our first week back from the winter break, the US Capitol insurrection happened on January 6th. We all watched in horror as treasonous rioters, at the urging of then-President Trump, tore our Capitol apart, leaving five dead and 140 Capitol police injured. Their motivation was fueled by the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Democracy hung in the balance that afternoon, but when the final votes were counted and approved, Joe Biden overwhelmingly won as President of the United States… There were no substantial claims of voter fraud found anywhere in the country.
I started working on fundraising almost immediately. We needed a strategy for fundraising in a Zoom world. COVID was still raging, vaccines were just getting distributed, and President Biden had not even been sworn in yet.
Our first Zoom fundraiser, held in July, was the Climate Action Now (CAN) Fundraiser with renowned climatologist Dr. Michael Mann as our guest lecturer. This is where we learned how difficult it would be to fundraise for a Zoom event.
In February, we had a staff change. Miranda Lopez joined the PCDP team as our Operations Coordinator. Miranda dove right in and started getting headquarters organized and reaching out to volunteers to keep them interested in helping at HQ. We still were only open to the public by appointment. Shortly after Miranda started, we had another staff change and needed to find a Director. After an extensive search, in April we decided to promote Miranda. Later that month Alexus Dudoit started as Operations Coordinator.
We also had a city election this year. In June, PCDP hosted candidate forums for Wards 3 and 6…Ward 5 did not have a challenger. In November, we elected all three Democrats to the city council and passed a $15 minimum wage for the City of Tucson.
A proposal to put the HQ building up for sale was discussed at the August Executive Committee meeting, as HQ does not meet the American Disability Act requirements, one of the tenets of PCDP’s platform. The proposal passed, and in November we officially signed the listing paperwork. It will take a while for the building to sell. In the meantime, discussions will continue as to whether we should purchase a new building or lease space.
In October, the Arizona Women in Leadership fundraiser was held in-person, outdoors at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Mayor Regina Romero, and County Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly were our featured speakers. A good time was had by all.
The major activity we have all been working on this year is redistricting. I appointed Susan Bickel to manage this activity. Susan put a team together of liaisons, mappers, and people who could create talking points. We had three in-person hearings, which were painful. The Republicans came with no masks, canned talking points, and red shirts and hats. This is a non-partisan activity, but as we soon learned the Independent Chair was NOT Independent.
I want to thank Susan and everyone on the redistricting team for all the time and effort they have been putting in to make sure that we have fair and competitive maps. Unfortunately, across the nation maps are being drawn by legislatures that are Republican-led, causing gerrymandering in several states. Our only hope is that they will all be challenged in court, as has happened in the past. We hope we don’t have to go to court, but we are not going to accept a gerrymandered map, especially in Pima County.
I also want to give a shout-out to our Communications and Media Team. Jenni Pagano, our web designer, has done an incredible job this year in revamping our website. It is so much easier to navigate! Shelly Burgoyne has kept PCDP in front of people via social media, connecting us with people in Pima County.
This year we received a grant from the Arizona Democratic Party to hire two interns in the fall semester. Aiselyn Anaya-Hall was our fundraising intern and helped us immensely in raising the funds to keep our lights on and our doors open. Maria Parsons was our communications and media intern, putting together our newsletters and working with the Communications and Media Team. I want to thank them both for all they have done to help PCDP grow.
Here are all the other things that happened this past year:
- ADP funded the 15/30 Project, which does full-time field organizing year round. Two Field Organizers, Lauren Burson and Vivian Morrison, were hired for PCDP at our suggestion, and started in July. Their main goals are to register new voters, increase Party participation, and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) activities. In January 2022, we expect to welcome a third Field Organizer.
- In November, the PCDP Finance Committee was started. In 2022, they will be raising money for operations, political activities like GOTV, and starting a Capital Building Fund.
- Mission for Arizona has started the Coordinated Campaign earlier in the election cycle than in any previous election cycles. As in the past, they will be working with the LDs.
And, if it wasn’t for our HQ volunteers, headquarters would not run as well as it does. These volunteers assist Miranda and Alexus in making sure that anyone who calls or drops by HQ gets their question answered. I want to thank all of them for making phone calls, keeping HQ organized, and ensuring visitors feel at home.
It has been a very busy first year. Next year is not going to be any easier, as we have an election where we have to elect a new Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, plus flip the legislature. We will be doing all of this as new LDs are organizing. Big challenges for next year.
Thanks to all of you for the hard work you have been doing this past year, as well as your support of PCDP. Together, we can turn AZ blue in ’22.
Happy holidays to you and your family. See you next year!
Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party