By Bonnie Heidler
We are now in the home stretch—the 2022 General Election is just a week away. All the LDs are busy contacting voters to get out and vote. Voter turnout in this midterm election is essential for Democrats to win up and down the ballot.
But the Republicans don’t want you to vote. Voter intimidation is up.
- All the County Democratic Chairs received a threatening letter from a group called “Ben Sent U.S.” saying “We will be watching” along with calling us traitors and you know what they do with traitors.
- Mark Finchem, who wants to have control over the election process, as Secretary of State, posted on Facebook on October 14 “My message for Pima County @justfollowthelaw. We will be watching.” Notice the exact wording from the threatening letter was repeated.
- In Mesa, masked men dressed in tactical gear, carrying guns were patrolling near a drop box.
- Several lawsuits were filed against the organizations that are doing this voter intimidation. Predictably, a federal judge appointed by Trump ruled that the actions did not reach the level of voter intimidation…they were just “exercising their First Amendment rights.” By law, voter intimidation is whatever a voter says it is. If you feel threatened by gun wielding men near a drop box, that is the VERY definition of voter intimidation. The ruling is being appealed.
We must keep focused on the mission to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. We must continue to point out what President Biden has done in almost two years, against great odds and without Republicans who refuse to support any of President Biden’s agenda. The Republicans have been VERY clear as to what they plan to do if they are in charge again.
- They promise to remove what they consider “entitlements” and stop the Debt Ceiling from passing in order to do it. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are NOT entitlements. Anyone who is employed and having taxes taken out of their paycheck pays contributions into these funds. We earned that money.
- They plan to remove most recently enacted acts like the Inflation Reduction Act which lowers prescription drug costs for seniors, if Republicans take the House and/or Senate.
- And, instead of governing, they want to vindictively impeach President Biden and start investigations that will cost taxpayers a lot of money for NO GOOD REASON.
If they get into power, democracy is gone. We CANNOT let that happen. We need to have faith that voters won’t elect these extremists.
November will be reorganization month for all the Legislative Districts, when new party leaders are elected at the LD level. On Saturday, December 10, PCDP will also be electing a new Executive Committee. Only elected PCs are allowed to vote in reorganization meetings.
As we enter into the Holiday season, I’m thankful for all of the work you all are doing to educate your friends, fund campaigns and get out the vote!
Bonnie Heidler, a tech-industry veteran and Pima County Democratic Party Legislative District 10 chair, is the county party’s new chair, succeeding Alison Jones, a Tucson hydrogeologist, who declined to seek reelection.
In a Zoom election during PCDP’s December 19 reorganization meeting, more than 400 precinct committeepeople (PCs) chose Heidler by a wide margin.
“I am honored to have been elected chair of the Pima County Democratic Party,’’ said Heidler, 67. “I want to thank outgoing Chair Alison Jones. Alison transformed PCDP during her two-year term, making PCDP financially solvent and left a legacy of inclusion for years to come. We have a big task in front of us for 2022: reelecting Senator Mark Kelly, taking back the governor’s mansion, flipping the state legislature, and preparing for 2024.’’
“Redistricting will be our biggest challenge for 2021,’’ Heidler said. “It impacts political control of Arizona for the next decade. A decade of Republican control in Phoenix has hurt so many Arizonans in so many ways. We’re committed to government that works for the people, not for special interests.’’
During Jones’s tenure, PCDP raised record amounts of money, enabling Democrats to take five of six countywide offices and four of five supervisor seats – and play a crucial role in clinching Arizona for the Biden-Harris ticket.
Jones endorsed both Heidler and her slate of officers, all of whom won: teacher and union member Nathan Davis, First Vice Chair; retired scientist Kalyanraman Bharathan, Second Vice Chair; retired University of Arizona administrator Caroline Garcia, Treasurer; accounting-firm executive assistant Morgan Graham, Recording Secretary, and environmental lawyer Priya Sundareshan, Corresponding Secretary.
LD10, with 49 precincts, covers Midtown and East Tucson, north of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Heidler ran on LD10’s accomplishments during her tenure as chair, which included flipping a Republican Arizona House seat for the Democrats, raising a $10,000 election war chest, and increasing the LD’s volunteer base to 800, which enabled extensive voter outreach. She also headed the committee of PCDP LD chairs.
Heidler became politically active after the 2016 election, joining Indivisible, a national grassroots movement to resist the Trump agenda. She then became a PCDP PC, and was elected LD10 chair in 2018.
A Los Angeles native, Heidler holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Northridge, and a master’s in public administration from Pepperdine University. She retired from Hewlett-Packard as a project manager in 2014, and for eight years owned a beading store in Colorado Springs.
She and Michael Heidler, her husband of 43 years, moved from Colorado to Arizona in 2006. She has a stepson and a step-grandson. The Heidlers and their golden retriever live in east Pima County, near the Tanque Verde Loop.
Joe Biden’s election as the 46th U.S. president – and the election of Sen. Kamala Harris, a woman of color, as our first female vice president – shows that despite the country’s deep political divisions, democracy is the true winner.
With all of its complications, the process worked, and now the admittedly difficult task of uniting the country begins. PCDP is ready to do its part with energy and enthusiasm. The Biden-Harris administration has PCDP’s full support.