Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How do Southern Arizona Legislative candidates stand on progressive issues?

PDA Tucson distributed questionnaires to all candidates running for the Arizona Legislature in Southern Arizona and to all Congressional candidates, regardless of party.

It is important for Progressives to know where candidates stand on issues important to us. The PDA questionnaire was based upon the following issues: Corporate Personhood, Public Financed Elections, Women’s Health, AHCCCS, Mandatory Sentencing, Renewable Energy, Collective Bargaining, Taxation, and the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative. Our goal was to determine which candidates are most aligned with Progressive issues. Below is our analysis of their responses. 

All 30 candidates for Southern Arizona legislative seats were sent a questionnaire. Seven responses were received, all from Democrats, no Republicans responded. Democrats responding were: Bradley, Cajero Bedford, Cox, Fleming, Gabaldon, Patrick, and Steele. Democrats not responding were: Dalessandro, Farley, Gonzales, Leach, Lopez, Mach, Saldate, Sidwha, Stonebreaker, Wheeler. The questionnaire was also sent to Congressional candidates, but none of them responded. (Clairfication: PDA National has endorsed Congressman Raul Grijalva and Wenona Benally Baldenegro; so, questionnaires were not distributed to CD1 or CD3 candidates.)

There were a total of 13 questions covering . Candidates were asked to rate their level of agreement with statements on a scale of 1 to 5, one being strong disagreement and 5 being strong agreement. There was space after each question for clarifying comments.

Strong agreement on all statements resulted in a score of 65. We also gave 5 extra points for detailed comments. Only 2 candidates provided detailed answers in addition to their numbered answers-- Brandon Patrick (LD10) and Dustin Cox (LD9). To emphasize how important Clean Elections is to PDA, we also gave "clean" candidates 2 extra points. 

The candidates with the highest scores and the most complete answers were Brandon Patrick (72 points) and Dustin Cox (70 points). Here is what we learned from these candidates.

DAVID BRADLEY, Senate, LD 10. Privately financed.Score: 64 + 5 = 69. Clarifying comments were provided on almost all answers which was appreciated. He doesn’t seem to share Progressive’s total commitment to Clean Elections.

OLIVIA CAJERO BEDFORD, Senate, LD 3. Clean Elections financed. Score: 63 + 2 = 65.  Although her answers indicate support for progressive issues, the only clarifying comment was “need more information on the details” in response to the Quality Education and Jobs initiative statement. This concerns us because it seems to indicate a lack of knowledge on an issue that is important to Progressives and has had a good deal of press coverage.

DUSTIN COX, House, LD 9. Privately financed.Score: 65 + 5 = 70. He provided very detailed comments which made it easier to assess his positions. All his answers show support for Progressive issues. However, we are concerned about his answer regarding Clean Elections because it does not seem to square with his decision to finance his campaign with Private, not Clean Elections, funding.

PAT FLEMING, Senate, LD 14. Clean Elections financed.Score: 63 + 2 = 65. Brief comments were provided to some questions. We are concerned that she appears to not share Progressive’s strong commitment to repealing mandatory sentencing laws.

ROSANNA GABALDON, House, LD 2. Clean Elections financed.Score: 61 + 2 = 63. Only comment provided was “need to learn more about this subject” on statements related to mandatory sentencing, public investment in renewable energy, new nuclear plants in AZ, and taxation. She seems to lean progressive but apparent gaps in her knowledge about issues important to us are troubling.

BRANDON PATRICK, House, LD 10. Clean Elections financed. Score: 65 + 5 + 2 = 72.Detailed comments provided showed a sophisticated and detailed knowledge of issues important to us. Of all the respondents, he is clearly the candidate whose answers and clarifying comments best represent Progressive positions.

VICTORIA STEELE, House, LD 9. Privately financed.Score: 65. Although she strongly agreed with our statements, the two brief comments provided made any further assessment of her positions difficult. Although she indicates agreement with strengthening Clean Elections, she is not running with Clean Elections funding. This concerns us.

To repeat, any feedback on this effort is sincerely appreciated. Please comment on our Facebook page.

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