Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Progressive Candidates in Arizona

Here are some candidates endorsed by major progressive organizations like the Indigenous Democratic Network, Progressive Majority and Democracy for America.

First, here is a particularly great candidate, a brilliant astrophysicist. I find the result is often excellent when a scientist enters politics:

Angela Cotera
Candidate for State House - District 12 (Challenger)
Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Luke AFB, Youngtown and parts of Phoenix, Glendale & Surprise

Angela Cotera, an astrophysicist, garnered 47.5% of the vote in the 2008 elections. This district is in the fast growing far western portion of Maricopa County and is part of our strategic plan. She holds a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University and is a research astrophysicist for the Carl Sagan Center, SETI Institute. She has volunteered in schools for years to bring her passion for astronomy to students. She and her husband have lived in Avondale since 1991. During the 2006 elections, her frustration with elected political leaders at the local, state and national levels compelled her to do whatever she could to help change the political landscape of Arizona. She is a graduate of Emerge program and has participated in the Center for Policy Alternatives training, attended the Take Back America Confernece and gotten messaging help from us.

Click here to support and learn more about Angela.

Next I would like to highlight some candidates endorsed by Democracy for America:

Raul Grijalva for Congress (AZ-07)

Raul Grijalva is a progressive champion. As Chairman of the Progressive Caucus he's fought for us time and again -- And his work has made him the number one target of Wall Street interests and Republicans across the country.

Join the campaign today to help a progressive champion fight back.

Here is Raul Grijalva's statement to DFA:

I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. My father emigrated from Mexico in 1945 as a bracero, a laborer brought in by the U.S. government to help offset the loss of skilled American ranch hands serving in World War II. My parents stressed the importance of education to their three children. It was that encouragement that led me to my career in public service. My wife, Ramona, and I have been married for almost 40 years. We have three daughters, Adelita, Raquel and Marisa, as well as two grandchildren, Adelina and Raúlito.

From 1974 to 1986, I served on the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, serving as chairman during my last three years on the board. During my tenure at TUSD, I worked with the courts, Superintendent, and educators on a desegregation plan and was the lead Board member in implementing the integration plan. Upon my retirement, an elementary school was named after me in order to honor his service and contributions to education in TUSD.

I served on the Pima County Board of Supervisors from 1989 to 2002. My leadership led to the creation of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, an innovative approach to species and habitat protection in concert with land-use planning in the community. As a Supervisor, I led a successful campaign for a $10 million bond package to reinvest in older, poorer neighborhoods and to fund a county housing trust.

I was elected to Congress in 2002. It was a true grassroots campaign – I was outspent 3:1, but defeated my opponents by staying true to progressive values and standing up for what’s right. Currently, I am member of the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee, where I serve as Chairman for the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. I am an active member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

This year, I was proud to introduce many bills, including HR 5355, the “no cap” bill, which would eliminate the cap on economic damages for companies drilling offshore. Well before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, I was actively pushing for oil rig safety and oversight. I called out government agencies’ pathological coziness with the oil industry and prioritized transparency and accountability. Recently, I led the markup of H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act, which will break up the outdated Minerals Management Service, require full environmental reviews of drilling proposals, and make it possible for the public to recoup more royalties from companies working on public land.

I also introduced HR 5028, the Right to Rent Act of 2010, which would stem the nation’s tide of foreclosures by allowing families to stay in the houses that are their homes at a fair market rent, while also lowering the family’s monthly housing costs, and allowing the mortgage holder to receive a fair-market return on their property.


I believe that public service can and should be an honorable career that makes life better for the greatest possible number of people. This value has been my guiding star since I first decided to run for public office. We are living in a defining period for our great nation. The history books will praise or condemn us based on how we invest in people, reestablish our moral standing in the world, and create a better direction for America. I am running for re-election to Congress because what the government does now can permanently improve the well-being of our people.


Education—As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, I will continue to prioritize significant reforms of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act re-authorization to improve education for Arizona children, provide the resources that were originally promised by No Child Left Behind, and advocate for smaller classes, greater teacher support and increased involvement of parents in their children’s education. I will closely monitor implementation the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, passed this session as part of health care reform, especially in terms of how it lowers costs at colleges and universities and increases access to student loans for higher education.

Immigration/Border security—Comprehensive immigration and border security reform continues to be exploited as a wedge issue instead of being seen as a major national and international question sorely in need of an answer. A lack of administration prioritizing and of Congressional political courage has led to the divisive, mean-spirited and unconstitutional approaches of local and state governments: deriding and targeting all undocumented people, and those who may appear to be undocumented, as a threat to our security and the survival of our nation. The debate has become about how much unaccountable, symbolic enforcement we can carry out: bigger border walls, more armed troops, spending sprees on failed technology. Elected officials continue to avoid tackling the tough issues they were sent to Washington to address. I remain committed to supporting comprehensive immigration and border security reform as the top priority in the next session of Congress, if not sooner.

Environment—My top priorities for Arizona are protecting our public lands and national treasures from assault by foreign mining companies around the Grand Canyon and ensuring that land swaps do not benefit private industry at public expense. As chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee’s National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands subcommittee, I will remain focused on reforming federal agencies that oversee resource extraction on public lands and coastal waterways. I will also continue working to end the cozy relationship between federal oil drilling regulators and the industry they are paid to oversee.

Some of what Raul Grijalva has been doing recently:

Raúl Leads House Effort to Vote on Middle Class Tax Cuts

Raúl Joins EnergizeUS Coalition To Call For Green Jobs, Better Infrastructure for American Workers

Raúl Wins “Best of Congress” Award From Corporate Voices for Working Families

University of Arizona Veterans Rehabilitation Program Started With Grijalva’s Help Receives $500,000 Funding Stream

Find out more from Raul's website.

Penny Kotterman (AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction)

As a parent, a teacher, and a teacher mentor, Penny Kotterman has spent more than thirty years devoted to fulfilling the promise of a quality public education for every child.

Penny understand that the success of our students today will determine our quality of life tomorrow. Arizona must do better -- from critical early learning for young children, to the higher education necessary to prepare the next generation of state leaders. That's why Penny earned the support of DFA members across the state and DFA's Arizona All-Star endorsement.

Here is Penny Kotterman's statement to DFA:

My name is Penny Kotterman. I am seeking the office Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2010 because I can make a real difference for our schools and for public education in the state of Arizona. There is no greater foundation for our children and young adults than an excellent education that prepares them to be successful and thrive and gives them the opportunity to make choices about their future. As Superintendent of Public Instruction, I can help create those opportunities for the next generation of Arizona students.

A lifelong educator with over 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher, mentor, and district program facilitator, I currently work providing policy and program support in the areas of teacher quality and professional development for K-12 educators. In addition to nearly 20 years of practical classroom experience, I have a decade’s worth of experience in education advocacy and policy development here in Arizona.

As president of the Arizona Education Association for 6 years, I helped build many of the policies central to education in Arizona today, including work on student standards and assessments, Proposition 301, and teacher certification. I have provided policy advice and support Governor Napolitano’s committee on Teacher Quality, the Arizona P-20 Council, and the State Board of Education, among others.

If we believe in high standards and high expectations for our children, our teachers and our schools, we must invest our efforts and resources in their success. I encourage you to go to our website to find out more about our campaign.


I believe it is time to change the conversation about public education. The superintendent of public instruction needs to be an educational leader, armed with a depth of knowledge gained over a lifetime of experience in education, not a politician with an ideological formula gained over a lifetime of running for office. We do not need anymore attorneys, politicians, bureaucrats or consultants, we need a committed teacher and educator leading the public education effort in our state. We need to move from polarizing political stances to conversations and solutions about what Arizona students need to be successful in the world they will face. High standards and high expectations for our schools, our teachers and our students are essential to our success. In order to be sure we are not just engaging in rhetoric, we also need to talk about the importance of investing in our schools for the future and providing the resources our children need to be competitive and successful. I believe I have the experience, dedication, passion, skill and knowledge to serve this state as a true educational leader and superintendent of public instruction.
There is a great deal to be considered in the public education arena in Arizona. Arizona is 49th in per pupil funding and as a state we have one of the largest per-capita budget deficits in the nation. Public education has been underfunded and over-regulated for much of the last two decades. At the same time we have allowed a largely unregulated system of Tuition Tax Credits and Charter Schools to expand. Student achievement has improved in some areas, but as a whole is virtually flat, and the achievement and resource gap between our poorest schools and the wealthiest continues to grow. Teacher quality has been eroded by an "anyone can teach" mentality. Given this set of circumstances, my first major goal is to change the conversation about public education in Arizona and advocate for our public schools as the foundation for a strong democracy, opportunity, and economic development. The Superintendent of Public Instruction must be the voice of advocacy for our schools, our educators and our students. It is the responsibility of the Superintendent to seek efficient and effective program and financial policies, and this is more important than ever in tough economic times. My second goal is to improve the relationship of the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and the 225+ school districts in Arizona. The establishment of reasonable policies that are informed by local needs, listening and collaborating with local district and county entities, and reinforcing a public service ethic and purpose in the ADE can return the ADE to a place of providing service and technical support to districts and schools. The third broad goal I have is to systematically improve student success in schools across Arizona. This will require attention to the use of data, assessments, teacher effectiveness and school improvement support in a very connected and systematic manner, constantly developing and managing systems of continuous improvement and adjusting to meet the needs of our most struggling schools and student populations. I believe the answers and expertise to do this lie within the vast experiences our best educators. We must work to replicate programs that work and support the elimination of those that do not.


Our campaign is focused on the issues of High Standards and High Expectations for students, teachers and schools. This translates into issues of educational opportunity for ALL of our students, improved (not MORE) student assessments and their uses, and effective, research-based programs and policies for supporting student and school improvement. For teachers this means a concerted effort to recruit and retain our best teachers through aggressive recruitment of individuals who are committed to the profession of teaching, the development of programs like quality mentoring for new teachers, professional development for existing teachers, and performance evaluation systems that lead to reflective practice and on-going and continuous improvement.

Find out more from Penny's website.

And here are some other Progressive Majority endorsed candidates in Arizona:

Andrei Cherny
Candidate for State Treasurer (Open Seat)

Andrei Cherny most recently was an Arizona Assistant Attorney General before becoming a full time candidate. He worked as a White House aide for President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, and served as the youngest Presidential speechwriter in history. He is also the author of two top selling books, The Next Deal: The Future of Public Life in the Information Age, and most recently, The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America's Finest Hour. He is an officer in the Naval Reserve and is a member of SEIU. Andrei is already garnering national support for his election, including having Clinton host a fundraiser, and Gore writing a solicitation for his campaign.

Click here to support and learn more about Andrei.

Rae Waters
Candidate for State House - District 20 (Incumbent)
Maricopa County

Rae Waters picked up a traditionally Republican-held state House seat in District 20. Rae was a late entrant into this race because the Democratic Party's previous candidate, Corey Harris, was recalled to active duty in Iraq and cannot stand for election. District 20 is a traditionally Republican district that, due to changing registration numbers, is trending Democratic, however, Rae is the only Democrat elected in the district and is one the Republicans top targets. In 2008, Rae only won by 700 votes. Rae is running on her record fiscal responsibility, and strengthening health care and education. Professionally, most recently she served as a community columnist for the Arizona Republic. For the last 12 years, Rae has also served as an elected m ember of the Kyrene School District governing board, where she held a variety of leadership positions, including chairing the state association. She is running as a clean election candidate.

Rae Waters has also been endorsed by:

Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona

"The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona are proud to endorse Rae Waters for the House in Arizona, legislative District 20. Rae Waters understands the need for core government services like public safety, education, and health care. She has demonstrated her ability to deal with difficult problems and arrive at the best solution possible. We need more people like Rae Waters in the Arizona State Legislature."

Arizona Education Association

"The Arizona Education Association is proud to endorse Representative Rae Waters for the House of Representatives in Legislative District 20. Rae has been a strong advocate for students, schools, and teachers. Arizona's students and families need more legislators like Rae who care about quality public education."

AZ Correctional Peace Officers Association

"Rae Waters has shown clear and consistent support for law enforcement. Her dedication to keeping our neighborhoods safe and her commitment to staying tough on crime are traits that are desperately needed in the Arizona legislature."

Fraternal Order of Police
Arizona Medical Association
National Association of Social Workers

Click here to support and learn more about Rae.

Pat Fleming
Candidate for State House - District 25 (Incumbent)
Bisbee, Douglas, Gila Bend, Marana, Nogales and the Tohono O'odham Reservation

Progressive Majority fielded Pat for her in her first bid for the House in District 25 in 2006 against an entrenched incumbent. While unsuccessful, Pat ran a great race and ran again in 2008, this time successfully. In 2010, she is running for reelection and is a top target of the Republicans, as they have control of the other state house seat in this district and the district is trending Republican. District 25 is a sprawling rural district that runs along much of the Mexican border where illegal crossing is occurring. Pat is retired from the Department of the Defense, where she oversaw multi-million dollars budgets. She is a retired member of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). Pat is a graduate of the Emerge program, has worked with Jennie Blackton on messaging, has attended the Take Back America conference and has worked with Progressive Majority on all aspects of her campaign.

Pat Fleming has also been endorsed by:

The Tucson Weekly
Greater Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce
Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona
Arizona Nurses Association Political Action Committee
Arizona Education Association
Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association
Arizona League of Conservation Voters
Arizona Women’s Political Caucus
Las Adelitas Arizona
AFSCME Arizona
Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Chapter
Planned Parenthood of Arizona
Arizona State Building and Construction Trades Council
Arizona AFL-CIO
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW 640

And many others

Click here to support and learn more about Pat.

Cheryl Cage
Candidate for State House - District 26 (Challenger)
Pima County

Cheryl Cage is a repeat candidate for a House seat in Legislative District 26. The seat had been held by a Democrat between 2006 and 2008; Cheryl's close loss (she garnered 49% of the vote) allowed the Republicans to win the seat. A retired member of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), Cheryl is now a consultant in the aviation industry. As a small business owner, she understands the need for fiscal responsibility, and wants to rein in the irresponsible budget practices of the Republican majority in Phoenix. Her opponent is the extreme right-wing Sen. Al Melvin, upset a popular, moderate, well-funded in Republican House member in the primary in 2008. This district has featured very close elections in recent years, but all three seats (this and the two house seats) were all captured by Republicans in 2008. Year in and year out, LD 26 has been a top-tier target for all progressive stakeholder groups and the Democratic Party. Cheryl received a significant amount of training in 2008; this year she has honed her fundraising messages with us, as she ran as a clean election candidate last time.

Click here to support and learn more about Cheryl.

Andrea Dalessandro
Candidate for State House - District 30 (Challenger)
Southern Pima County, Santa Cruz County & Cochise County

Andrea on Education from Andrea Dalessandro on Vimeo.

Andrea Dalessandro is another of our repeat candidates who ran in 2008. This year, she's running for the House of Representatives in District 30, which has two seats currently held by Republicans. Andrea garnered 47.5% of the vote in 2008. Andrea is a graduate of Emerge, our partner organization, that trains women. There is one open seat and one conservative running for reelection. This is a targeted district for taking control of the Statehouse, and a viable race due in large part to Andrea's tireless campaigning in the last year. She is a certified public accountant and a former high school math teacher. Andrea and her husband, a retired letter carrier, moved to Arizona in 2004 from New Jersey. She is a retired member of the Arizona Education Association, the New Jersey Education Association and the New Jersey Federation of Teachers. She attended numerous trainings, including Center for Policy Alternatives' values training and Progressive Majority's messaging training.

Click here to support and learn more about Andrea.

This comes from the Indigenous Democratic Network (INDN's List), an organization that helps Native American Democrats run for office:

INDN's List is proud to announce our endorsement of an unprecedented slate of highly qualified Indian candidates for office in Arizona. This election, more than any other, it is vital the Indian voice be heard in elected office in Arizona. A recent law passed this year allows police to racially profile American Indians, and others, because they "look like illegal aliens." This radical law directly impacts the Indian communities in Arizona and we need strong Indian voices to stand up for ALL of our civil rights. Luckily, we have the best slate of Indian candidates Arizona has ever seen, including the chance to elect the first Indian statewide.

We need your donation to help us fund these amazing candidates! Every contribution helps us provide the funding these American Indian candidates need to win their elections.

Secretary of State

INDN's List is so excited to join the Arizona Republic in endorsing Chris Deschene for Secretary of State. Chris Deschene attended our "From the Table to the Ticket" training in 2006 where he impressed all of our staff and as well as Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), the Vice Chair of the DNC, who is also supporting Chris. He has served in the State House with distinction and is ready to bring his experience to the Secretary of State’s office.

Chris Deschene was inspired to service by his grandfather, who served as a Navajo Codetalker during World War 2. Chris followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and dedicated his life to serving his country. He attended the US Naval Academy and served two tours of duty overseas in the Marine Corps, ultimately serving as the Executive Officer for a reconnaissance team of 160 Marines.

Upon completing his military service, Chris returned to Arizona and simultaneously earned a law degree and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in renewable and alternative energy development. He also has been a member of the United Steelworkers Union and knows the importance of standing up for working Americans.

Chris is running a hotly contested primary for Secretary of State, and, if victorious, would be the first American Indian to hold statewide office in Arizona.

Deschene has also been endorsed by:

Arizona Education Association:
"Public education has been a priority for Chris Deschene throughout his career in the state Legislature, and we in the Arizona Education Association are thrilled and proud to support him for the office of Secretary of State."

SEIU Arizona:
"SEIU Arizona is pleased to endorse Chris Deschene for Secretary of State. A tireless supporter of quality public services and the employees who deliver them, Chris is well qualified to represent the citizens of Arizona in this essential office."

Retired General John Adams:
"Chris is a proven leader with a track record of success in one of our nation's most important institutions, the United States Marine Corps, and Arizona needs his leadership. I served more than 30 years in the U.S. Army dedicated to defending the Constitution and its protections guaranteed to everyone. No one understands better the importance of these guarantees, especially as they relate to fair elections, than Represenatative Chris Deschene. He will be a great Secretary of State for all of Arizona."

Among many others.

Please visit Chris's website and learn more about his campaign.

State Senate

INDN's List is thrilled to endorse Jack Jackson, Jr. for State Senate in the Second Legislative District. Jack has spent his entire career fighting for Indian rights, including representing the Navajo Nation for 12 years in Washington, DC. He then moved on to the National Indian Education Association, where he represented the educational concerns of over 3,000 American Indian and Alaskan Native educators, school administrators, parents and students. During the Fiscal Year 1996 budget negotiations, he worked tirelessly with tribal leadership to reinstate full funding of $81 million to the Office of Indian Education in the Department of Education.

In 1997, Jack became the Director of Governmental Affairs for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest and most representative Indian advocacy organization in the nation for over 250 tribal governments. His main responsibility was overseeing legislative and appropriation measures before the United States Congress affecting Indian Country.

While at NCAI, Jack helped create a strong and credible Native influence at the national, state and local levels. He assisted in the design of a comprehensive government-to-government strategy, which resulted in three unprecedented Executive Orders issued by President Clinton and several Presidential Memorandums and Directives relevant to the needs and concerns of Indian Country. These actions protected Native American sacred sites and required appropriate consultation with tribal governments.

From 2003 to 2005, Jack served in the 46th Arizona State Legislature in the House of Representatives. In 2005, Jack was appointed by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as the Executive Director of the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs (ACIA). His main duty was to ensure that the Commission provided assistance to the State of Arizona in fulfilling its responsibilities to Arizona’s 22 Indian Nations and Tribes by making recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature. He conferred and coordinated with officials and agencies of other governmental units regarding Indian issues, and worked to provide improved relationships and a greater understanding between tribal governments and the State.

Please visit Jack's website to learn more about his positions and how you can help him win this vital election.

State House

INDN's List is delighted to endorse Albert Hale and Albert Tom for State House District 2. In Arizona, voters select two State House candidates to represent their district in the legislature. These two Navajo candidates have each served in the state legislature in the past with distinction and are the best choices to represent the Indian voice in the State House this next legislative cycle.

Kalyn Free
President, INDN's List

* "Thank You," in Choctaw.

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