Director’s Cut | February 2022

Director’s Cut | February 2022

We’ve finally arrived in 2022! Although the weather is staying nice, the heat is turning up for Democrats in Pima County!

Our new legislative district maps are still going through an approval process by the Pima County Board of Supervisors. Once that is done, the final boundaries must go through another process of approvals. Eventually we will have a new map, but exactly when that will happen is still unknown.

  • In the meantime, PCDP would like to request that all PCs, regardless of their new LD, continue to work with their old LD until we’ve gotten the final-final map approval.

With the beginning of the new session, Arizona GOP legislators have ramped up their efforts to limit voting rights with a series of new bills that aim to ban mail-in ballot elections. There are many different resources out there that you can use to stay up to date with what’s going on every day at the legislature.

  • I highly recommend that you sign up for the Civic Engagement Beyond Voting weekly overview; it can be tricky to follow bills sometimes because they are so quick to either die or become part of another bill.
  • You should also tune in to AZ List’s weekly legislative updates on Facebook Live, where you can hear from legislators about what is happening on the floor.

The leader of the Arizona GOP, Governor Doug Ducey, recently gave his final “State of the State” address in which he not only took the credit for $4 billion in federal funds that was given to Arizona as a part of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, but he also failed to mention how Arizona reached a new milestone in January of 25,000 COVID-19 deaths, the third highest death rate per 100,000 in the country.

  • To put it a different way, that means 1 out of every 291 Arizonans have died because of COVID-19.

With a year left in his term, the governor’s executive orders against mask mandates and approval of state laws that gut school budgets will ensure no end in sight to this pandemic for Arizona teachers and parents.

Another issue that has arisen from Arizona’s Republican leadership is the protection of voting rights. The Arizona Republicans fell into line with almost every other Republican lawmaker in the country when former President Trump declared the 2020 presidential election a fraud and that the voting process in the United States must have been rigged.

Republicans refuse to allow their worries about the integrity of voting to be assuaged by two truths: that widespread voter fraud does not happen and has never happened in this country, and that restricting the right to vote (for those who are legally qualified) means that voting for minority groups becomes more difficult. For people of color, young people, people who live in rural areas or on reservations, families with a single parent, or someone who has a physical disability and is unable to leave their home it may not be feasible to cast a ballot at all.

After 160 million ballots were cast in 2020, there were 16 total suspected cases of voter fraud. That means the chances of a fraudulent ballot being cast in the United States in 2020 were approximately 0.00001%. In other words, Americans in 2020 were more likely to be hit and killed by lightning than to commit voter fraud.

Rather than creating new restrictions, lawmakers should encourage more people to engage in the voting process, and trust county recorders and secretaries of state to do their jobs of safeguarding our democracy.

As we enter this new year, I want to take a chance to re-introduce you to our partners with PCDP. These groups are their own organizations. Any questions you have should be directed to the contacts below:

  • Project 15/30 is the Arizona Democratic State Party’s new year-round field program whose mission is to help build party infrastructure in all 15 counties in order to elect Democrats into the majority of 30 legislative districts. Their Deputy Director is Lauren Burson, who has lived all over the state but finally decided to make Arizona her home. You can contact her at lburson@azdem.org
  • Mission for Arizona is the Arizona Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign working to elect Democrats in statewide and federal offices. A coordinated campaign is basically a group of candidates who decide to combine their resources into one campaign focused on electing all of its candidates who decide to contribute. Right now Mark Kelly for Senate is Mission’s flagship, but there will be more candidates after the August primary. Mission’s Southern Deputy Field Director is Isaac Bardin. You can contact him at ibardin@missionforarizona.com
  • Arizona List is a Political Action Committee dedicated to electing female leaders up and down the ballot here in Arizona. Their Political Director is Claire Knipe, a Tucson local. You can contact her at claire@arizonalist.org for more information.
  • Stop Dark Money is a campaign created by the Arizona Political Action Committee Voters’ Right to Know to circulate a statewide initiative that will bar anonymous sources from political spending on election advertising. Their petition is available to sign at the PCDP office and their point of contact for Southern Arizona is Chris Hawkins. You can contact her at chrisazorganizer@gmail.com for more information.

I look forward to seeing you all soon. Thank you to all of our volunteers, especially Margaret Lacey and Patti Bersbach, for helping us continue to answer the phones and check messages from home. You all are the greatest, and the reason why we’re going to win in 2022!

Miranda Lopez
Pima County Democratic Party Director

Notes From The Chair | December 2021

Notes From The Chair | December 2021

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!

Bonnie Heidler
Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party

Notes From The Chair | Oct 2021

Fall is finally here and the temperature outside is getting cooler. I wish the political temperature would cool down, too, but that is just not the case.

At the beginning of August, we had the city Ward primary election. The candidates are Kevin Dahl, Ward 3, and Steve Kozachik, Ward 6. Richard Fimbres, Ward 5, did not have a challenger. I met with all the candidates, plus Fight for 15, to determine how we were going to get the vote out for the all-city mail-in election, and we came up with a plan. PCDP, in coordination with the 15/30 Project Field Organizers and Mission for Arizona, will be coordinating canvasses starting on October 9, and every Saturday until October 30, out of PCDP Headquarters. October 9 is also the kickoff for Mission for Arizona’s canvassing efforts to get Mark Kelly on the 2022 ballot. Canvassers will be carrying a flyer created by Linda Ekstrom in LD9 – thank you Linda!

HQ was full of activity in August and September, as we received a steady flow of people coming in to sign petitions. Arizona Deserves Better also held two petition signature events at HQ in September. Although the Arizona Deserves Better referendums didn’t make the ballot, there were two Invest in Arizona petitions, 1783 and 1828, that will be on the ballot in 2022. We did our best. Unfortunately, two of the voter suppression laws will go into effect. One that was challenged in court will not go into effect at this time due to a judge’s ruling.

The first set of redistricting hearings were held in August. There were two in-person hearings with the Commissioners in Tucson. The Republicans showed up in droves, dwarfing us…and not wearing masks. Their focus seemed to be creating a white, Christian district. They all said the same thing over and over again for two days. On the first day, we didn’t have many people or speakers. The second day was better, with more people showing up to speak.

The grid maps were released in early September and our mapping team that Susan Bickel put together began drawing maps. Susan put together a great plan to get more people and speakers at the September 29 in-person hearing. Unfortunately, the Commissioners were not physically present this time,  and once again, the Republicans were there in droves with their red shirts and MAGA hats, complaining that they refuse to wear masks, even after being told they must. However, the great news is that we had more speakers than they did this time! THANK YOU, Susan!

In September we also had the State Committee Meeting. The State Committee Representatives voted on a resolution to send a letter of no confidence to Senator Kyrsten Sinema if she continues to not support voting rights, organizing rights, and president Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. It appears she is pandering to her donors, betraying her constituents in Arizona in the process.

October is shaping up to be another busy month. We will be having a fundraising event, Arizona Women in Leadership on October 22 featuring Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, County Recorder Gabriella Cazares-Kelly, and Mayor Regina Romero. It will be held in person at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Check the PCDP website for more details!

Enjoy our lovely Arizona Autumn weather, and keep an eye out for updates on the election and other exciting events!

Bonnie Heidler
Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party

Notes From The Chair | Sept 2021

The PCDP newsletter is back! We took a short break over the summer, but we didn’t stop our work at Headquarters. Quite the opposite!

We started June with two virtual Ward Forums, one for Ward 3 and one for Ward 6. Both were a success as people got a chance to hear the Democratic candidates for the City primary election, which was held on August 3rd.  

Our final, Democratic candidates for the City election are:  

  • Ward 3 – Kevin Dahl
  • Ward 5 – Richard Fimbres
  • Ward 6 – Steve Kozachik  

Wards 3 and 6 have Republican and Independent challengers for the General Election; Ward 5 does not. The General Election on November 2nd is a city wide, mail-in election. Because of these challengers, we can’t take any victory for granted! It is as important as ever that we Get Out the Vote!

July was our busiest month so far this year. We started July with an HQ opening event; up until that point, HQ was open by appointment only. Unfortunately, just as we reopened, the Delta variant raised its ugly head. We are still open, but masks are required inside. It’s an important reminder that the pandemic is still a very real threat, and it’s critical that we continue to treat it seriously and not slack off when it comes to being safe.

Our next event in July was the “We CAN (Climate Action Now) Fundraiser” featuring Dr. Michael Mann.  Arizona Corporate Commissioner Sandra Kennedy also spoke about what is happening in Arizona regarding climate change. This was a virtual fundraiser, with an in-person VIP event for our sponsors and Catalina Democrats at HQ.

The latest events concern the referendum petitions. PCDP is a depot for the Arizona Deserves Better (ADB) and Invest in Arizona (IIA) referendum petitions. ADB and IIA are both campaigns spearheading referendum drives to challenge some bad bills passed by the AZ Senate. The Arizona Deserves Better petitions address voter suppression laws, while Invest in Arizona petitions address state tax laws that defund public education. There are six total petitions, with a deadline of September 15th to get all signatures in. Check our website, pimadems.org/petitions, for more information about the petitions. You can also use https://linktr.ee/TAGGAZ to find signing events at PCDP and elsewhere.

Our ADP Project 15/30 Field Organizers, Lauren Burson and Vivian Morrison, started in July. ADP believes field organizing is a year-round activity, which I couldn’t agree with more. Their main goals are voter registration, party building, and helping with redistricting, and they have already started working with the LDs on these critical projects.

August 21st was PCDP’s annual Committee meeting. There were three matters we needed to vote on, with the most important being the election of new Officers. We also passed changes to the PCDP Platform and By-Laws. ADP Chairwoman Raquel Terán spoke to us about ADP’s strategy going into the 2022 election cycle and stressed the importance of registering voters to close the vote gap.

I’ve been telling our LD Chairs over and over again, there is no “off” year. This year we have a city election, which is key for our 2022 election strategy to Get Out the Vote. In addition, we need to get the required signatures for the referendum petitions in order to put a stop to these horrible bills that were passed in this year’s legislative session. Only with your support can we achieve these goals and ensure we get Democrats elected up and down the ballot, and keep up the fight to better the lives of the people of Pima County. 

Bonnie Heidler
Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party

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