White Mountain Roadshow

By TJ Cuddy

You would never guess how many Park-and-Ride locations exist throughout the East Valley, until you ask a group to meet at one. The proposed departure time found candidates and campaign staff scattered among multiple locations. The calls, texts and reroutes were fast and furious and, after a short while, the group assembled at a single location. The trip was officially underway.

Our roadshow carpool consisted of Outreach team members TJ Cuddy and Sarah Meaney, along with an all-star cast of candidates and surrogates including Arizona Democratic Party Vice-Chair Karyn Lathan, Arizona Attorney General candidate January Contreras, U.S. Senate candidate Deedra Abboud, campaign staff for Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction candidates Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira.

In an effort to expand our operations into the rural communities of Arizona, events and meetings have and continue to take place in Pima and Pinal Counties. But this Roadshow was aimed at bringing our message to Navajo County, a rural county in the northeast that spans across Legislative Districts six and seven. AZ Blue 2020 Outreach organized a team of candidates, campaign staff and ADP officials to bring a group of exciting and engaging speakers to the White Mountain Indivisible and White Mountain Democrats groups in Pinetop-Lakeside.

The event was the definition of a collaborative win/win, with all parties involved as beneficiaries. A meet and greet prior to the general meeting afforded candidates and Outreach team members the opportunity to meet local dignitaries, party officials and county elected officials. White Mountain Indivisible arranged catering for the meet and greet and coordinated with the president of the White Mountain Democrats to organize the joint meeting. During the course of the meeting, we were able to discuss the reasons for AZ Blue 2020’s formation, the organization’s mission, guiding principles and plan for success. Outreach team member TJ Cuddy gave the AZ Blue 2020 PC Recruitment Presentation. Candidates, eager to spread their message and garner support among all Arizona communities, gave their stump speeches and took questions from the audience of about 35 attendees.  

Despite the disjointed beginning to our journey, the roadshow was an overwhelming success. Leaders from the Northern Arizona groups were appreciative of the outreach effort and look forward to future opportunities to connect with groups from around the state.  The candidates were grateful for the opportunity to engage with constituents in an often overlooked area of the state. AZ Blue 2020 was able to recruit several new PC applications for the Navajo County Democratic Party and connect several new PCs to AZ Blue 2020’s mission to empower PCs with tools, resources and best practices.

Our rural areas are important and deserve to be represented in the discussion of voter rights, education and healthcare. It is by connecting these communities to the issues and giving them the road map to create change that AZ Blue 2020 will achieve the goal of turning Arizona blue. AZ Blue 2020’s mission is to continue to facilitate the success of the party across the state by raising people.

Stay connected to AZ Blue 2020 for more reporting as we continue our roadshow across the state of Arizona. Send us an email at info@azblue2020.org if you want our Outreach Roadshow to visit your community.

Man with a Mission

By Gene Smith

I became a PC for the opportunity to get involved in my community. Voting every election was not cutting the mustard and I wanted to increase my civic engagement. I attended a meeting with like-minded citizens, equally frustrated with the state of affairs and it was here I was first introduced to the role of a PC. The importance of dedicated and trained PCs was immediately evident and AZ Blue 2020 drew me in with their enthusiasm.  By becoming a PC, I would be a positive influence in my community. I signed up on the spot.

This decision opened the door to a world I never anticipated and the benefits are continually unfolding. Long story short, by becoming a PC and attending my monthly LD meetings, I met a candidate and am now his Campaign Manager. Together, we are going to unseat Trent Franks. Together, our positive impact on our community grows. Together, we increase our level of civic engagement.

In addition, the evolution of this journey has allowed me to contribute skills accumulated over a lifetime of work and experience. The versatility of these experiences has led to a new nickname, “the Swiss army knife”. It has been an extremely rewarding experience to use my varied skill sets as problem solving tools. For example, the most common question I encounter in my new role is, “What is a PC ?” Fortunately, one of the tools tucked inside this “knife” is the ability to make videos. Using my video experience, I was able to make a training video answering that very question. The mission is to teach new PCs the duties of the position, explain how to engage people in conversation, and share the Democratic platform in an attempt to counter false rhetoric and propaganda.

This is my calling.

IDK, OMG…WTF?

People, can we talk about the acronyms, please!?!? As new PCs, we are all experiencing a learning curve with the lingo, particularly the never-ending list of acronyms. So, with that in mind, we have put together a list of commonly used abbreviations. Most are PC specific. Some we’ve run across because PCs come from many different backgrounds and bring their own jargon with them. And some, well, some are here just because we KIR.

PC: Hopefully this is a short way to describe you. And if not, what are you waiting for? It means Precinct Committeeperson. Also relationship builder, community guru, and Party Superhero.

LD: If you spent much of high school in a small room with five of your closest friends pouring over, amassing and then filing news articles, it means Lincoln-Douglas. But in our circle, it’s short for Legislative District.

CD: It used to mean that thing that came after cassettes but before mp3s. Now it means Congressional District.

ADP: Arizona Democratic Party. More pull than a county, less pull than national.

OMG: A natural response appropriate for a myriad of situations. Ex: “OMG! Did Ducey talk to anyone in Michigan before signing SB1431?” or “OMG, Jeff Flake was so dismissive at his Town Hall.” or “OMG! I just recruited my first PC!”

ADLCC: Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. I think this one wins for most syllables in a title. We appreciate this acronym.

GOTV: Get Out the Vote. The opposite of the multisyllabic ADLCC, there are only four syllables in the whole phrase, but who wants to type all those little words every time?

SMH: The appropriate response for when you ask a person to sign a petition to Save Our Schools (SOS) and they respond they “don’t do” politics…Shaking My Head.

ALEC: Cue Darth Vader’s theme music. This stands for American Legislative Exchange Council.

SOP: Standard Operating Procedure. As in, “Launch the SOP to reach and engage PCs and potential PCs so we have a ready and willing army of volunteers come 2018.”

VAN: Not the “stranger-danger” kind, not the “soccer-mom” kind, but the Voter Activation Network kind. Full of more tidbits of info than Cheerios in the backseat of a minivan.

LOL: The sound that unwillingly escapes you when, as a PC, you meet other like-minded people who have been living in your neighborhood for years unbeknownst to you. Short for Laugh Out Loud. Not to be confused with LMAO, which is used when listening to Trump describe his inauguration numbers.

PAC: Political Action Committees. These groups pool money to spend for or against candidates or issues. AZ Blue 2020 is a PAC made up of small, individual donations from a group of grassroots organizers looking to impact growth in the ADP.  PACs get dicey when funded by large corporations trying to leverage money for influence.

IEC: Independent Expenditure Committee. Also known as Super PACs. *sigh* We like them when they’re for our candidate or issue but not when they’re not. Can we all agree there’s just too much money in politics?

AHCA: Abbreviation for Tax Cut for the Uber Wealthy. I know, it’s weird they got the letters wrong…

WTF: The abridged version of what silently goes through your mind when you encounter a voter who supports the current administration and it’s policies. What we actually say? “Thank you for your time. I’ll remove you from our list.” Because, ICYMI, when they go low, we go high.

 

It’s Not Hot

By Candice Eisenfeld

I am dripping wet, my feet sloshing around in flip-flops. My bathing suit is sticking to my skin and my damp hair is smashed, gathered inside my straw sun hat. I’ve packed my zippered coverall, three-gallons of ice-cold water and…petitions.

This is not a day at the beach. Instead, I am going to man a table set up on a sidewalk, outside a bookstore, in the Phoenix summer heat. The Save Our Schools initiative requires over 76,000 legal signatures by July 31st. I won’t allow greedy lawmakers to eliminate more funding from our already struggling schools while they profit from their investments in charter school enterprises.

I arrive promptly at 4:50pm to relieve the two volunteers there since 1pm. They are a couple in their 70s. I expect them to peel themselves from their sweaty metal folding chairs, thank me for alleviating their heat-induced misery and make an escape to somewhere air-conditioned. Surprisingly, they seem to have lots of energy after four hours with no break. They don’t leave. In fact, there is no sign of misery of any kind. Some people stop to sign the petition and the couple engages. They begin to talk animatedly, guiding the political conversation like expert navigators. It’s the most fun I’ve had all day.

These two are resolute activists. I discover they have been fighting for democratic values for decades. During our discussion, I finally ask how they survived the heat of the day. The woman answers simply, “It’s not hot.”

I am inspired.