House Democrats: ‘Offensive and wrong’ to assume we won’t be unified




Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

In a letter to Arizona Mirror, every Democrat in the Arizona House of Representatives pledged to vote for one of their own to lead the chamber if Democrats take control of the legislative chamber in this year’s elections.

The letter comes in response to Mirror columnist Chris Herstam’s Feb. 10 offering, which reported on efforts by corporate leaders to sow discord among Democrats, and potentially sabotage any Democratic gains by persuading members of the caucus to choose a Republican to lead the legislative body.

The full text of the letter is below:

All 29 members of the Arizona House Democratic Caucus are writing in response to the February 12 article “Will Dems win in 2020 only to see GOP control in 2021?”

The short answer to that ridiculous question is no.

As Democrats, each of us has issues that we are individually passionate about, and on some of these issues we disagree. We don’t ask for, or expect, 100 percent agreement within our caucus at all times.

But when it comes to our values, the letter that matters is “D.” Democrats support business, but that doesn’t come at the expense of our values or support for working people.

We came together as one during last session’s budget debate to oppose a Republican budget that undermined its good points with an unsustainable permanent tax cut. And we will come together again on Arizona’s most pressing issues.

We are a caucus united on our policy priorities, on our House and Senate budget plan, and on our goal of earning a Democratic majority in the House and Senate when this session ends. And when we earn that majority, it will be because of our unity, our hard work and our shared values.

No Democratic member of this caucus would work as hard as we have just to hand the keys back to the Republicans to keep a backwards-looking status quo. Any suggestion that we would do otherwise is offensive and wrong.

If and when our opportunity to lead comes, we will choose a new House Speaker in the traditional manner – from within the majority caucus – and then we will walk out in united support of that choice.

Now it’s time to get back to work to make that happen.

Herstam praised the letter: “I’m pleased to read that, if the Democrats take over the House in November, all are pledged to elect a Democratic speaker. However, I stand by my column regarding business lobbyists attempting to recruit the Zs for their tax reduction business agenda and to cause serious political mischief in an attempt to maintain GOP control of the House.”

Jim Small
Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.