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Trump’s Vanity Wall Violates Tribal Rights, Federal Law

The following statement may be attributed to Alison Jones, Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party

It comes as no surprise that a lawless president would ignore a longstanding agreement to consult with the Tohono O’odham Nation before blasting lands held sacred for 10,000 years.

Nor should anyone be surprised that contractors are bulldozing cacti in Organ Pipe National Park, felling cottonwood trees on the San Pedro River or that the rush to build Trump’s monument to himself is threatening groundwater and disrupting migration patterns.  The Sierra Club counts 38 federal environmental protection laws suspended to build the wall.

No one was shocked when the president plundered funds from the military budget to build his wall – five times more than Congress authorized.

And it’s business-as-usual when Trump pressures the Army Corps of Engineers to award Fisher Sand and Gravel Company a $400 million contract after the North Dakota company lobbied for the job on Fox News. The contract for the steel was won by Zekelman Industries, which donated $1.7 million to a pro-Trump super PAC, the Star reported.  

Trump’s monument to fear is an example of the chaos and corruption that infests this administration. Instead of the comprehensive and humane immigration policy this nation so sorely needs, this “businessman” opts for a multi-billion-dollar wall that anyone with a homemade ladder can scale. This is one of many reasons why Arizonans are changing their party affiliation to Democrat and will turn Arizona blue in November.

PCDP Adopts First Platform

PCDP Adopts First Platform

By Richard Wiebe

“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.

Mission Accomplished at PCDP’s County Meeting

Mission Accomplished at PCDP’s County Meeting

By Richard Wiebe

A full agenda greeted the 224 elected PCs who attended the County Committee Meeting on December 7 in a comfortable lecture hall on the University of Arizona campus.

After a moment of silence to remember those killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor 78 years before, Carlos Martinez, president of UA’s Young Democrats, welcomed PCs and observers, and encouraged PCDP to reach out to younger members. 

PCDP Chair Alison Jones introduced the elected officials and PCDP officers in the room, and recognized the many volunteers committed to turning Arizona blue. She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Cat Ripley, PCDP’s Executive Director, for her tireless work and incredible contributions to PCDP.

“Cat is the most capable person I know,” she said, to resounding applause.  

Alison also thanked HQ Operations Manager Bill Laray, volunteer coordinators Leftie Vaughn and Barbro Huth, and all others who, she said, have helped turn HQ into a lively and welcoming hub for the party and our Democratic candidates. Thirty volunteers now staff HQ, up from a small handful one year ago.

 ”Something magical is happening at HQ,” Alison said.

By any measure, 2019 was a banner year for PCDP. Tucson elected Regina Romero as its first Latina mayor with the highest voter turnout since 2003 (39%–which gives us a LOT of room for improvement). PCDP hosted the primary mayoral candidate debate, managed finances, and contacted voters through phone banks and canvassing. PCDP also hosted the primary and general-election night parties, and the Inaugural Luncheon – Adelante Tucson! – which attracted many from the business community.

Catalina Democrats, PCDP’s most generous individual contributors, helped PCDP exceed its fundraising goals in 2019. There were only six Catalina Dems one year ago; now there are 60, Alison announced. The Udall Dinner raised a record amount in 2019. The ongoing Platform Film Series explores important social issues, brings previously unengaged community members to PCDP, and brings in revenue. It’s not unusual to have 80 new faces in HQ at these events. Alison thanked Cat and others on the fundraising team for their success.

Treasurer Maggie Winchell reported on the financial condition of PCDP. Successful fundraising in 2019 has put PCDP in a strong cash  position going into 2020.  PCDP is compliant with reporting requirements. A 2020 budget will be presented to the Executive Committee in February, as the bylaws require.    

Training and education programs strengthen and grow PCDP. PCDP held workshops this year to train PCs, convention delegates, treasurers, and the voting public.  “Civics 2.0: What They Didn’t Teach You in Middle School,” is a monthly speakers series that covers issues, legislative news, and the workings of government.

PCDP’s social media reach continues to see “huge’’ gains in Facebook and Instagram visits, and a 90-percent growth in Twitter followers, Alison said. “While we don’t have the number of followers of the state or Maricopa County parties, visitors engage with PCDP sites at a much higher rate,’’ she added.

Recruiting new PCs and turning out Democratic votes are high priorities. ADP is working on the details of a coordinated campaign for 2020, but it really doesn’t change what our PCs need to do. The mission of PCs is to get out of our echo chambers and engage with those who have not felt a part of the process. “Talk to everyone you know,” she said. “Have uncomfortable conversations. Tell people why they must vote Democrat. You know what you have to do.”

Labor is fertile ground for PC recruitment. “I’ll go to any meeting Labor will let me in,” Alison said. 

PCDP faces an ongoing challenge to more closely resemble Pima County’s diversity.

“By far, the biggest shortfall is Latinx representation,” Alison said. “The Latinx community apparently does not see value in engaging with our party. That’s on us. It is our responsibility to fix this.”

After two officers elected in 2018 resigned, Alison appointed an acting treasurer and recording secretary. During the meeting, the body elected by acclimation Maggie Winchell and Zoey Fife, who served well in their acting capacities.  

After Michael Dues, a platform committee member from LD9, explained the committee’s year-long process, the full body voted to adopt the proposed platform. Representing a cross-section of PCDP constituencies, the platform committee met at least twice monthly for a year. They consulted local experts and held focus groups of Pima County PCs and others who provided feedback. The committee will recommend updates to the platform as circumstances evolve.

“The platform describes the world in which we want to live. It is aspirational.” Michael said.

The platform can be found HERE

Bylaws updates can be found HERE

They will remain linked in the main menu on our website under “About” so you can find them later.

LD 4 Updates Here

LD 4 Updates Here

Pima County Democratic Party would love to share LD 4 updates in this space!