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Progressives protest Sinema at Dem Party dinner

By: - May 21, 2019 4:57 pm

Four members of Progressive Democrats for America protest during U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s speech at an Arizona Democratic Party dinner on May 19. Photo via Facebook/Redeem Robinson

A group of progressives used an Arizona Democratic Party dinner on May 20 as an opportunity to let U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema know how they feel about her repeatedly bucking the party line.

Ten members of Progressive Democrats for America at the party’s 2019 Mofford-Warner Dinner on Saturday held up signs during Sinema’s speech that said “Vote like a Democrat.”

Sinema began her political career as an unabashed left-winger, running for the Legislature Phoenix City Council under the Green Party banner before becoming a Democrat and winning her first legislative race in 2004. From there, she gradually migrated toward the center, and after she was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, she established herself as one of the most moderate Democrats in the chamber.

That trend has not only continued, but has become more pronounced, and many Democrats have become increasingly disenchanted with Sinema since she joined the Senate in January. She voted to confirm U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who has become one of congressional Democrats’ biggest nemeses. She opposed Democratic efforts to restore net neutrality rules. And she waffled on taking a position on the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Dan O’Neal, PDA’s national field team director and formerly its Arizona state director, was especially opposed to Sinema’s position on net neutrality, noting that she was the only Senate  Democrat who didn’t co-sponsor the Save the Internet Act of 2019.

“As progressive Democrats, we’re going to hold her feet to the fire,” O’Neal said. “We want that seat to be a Democrat, so the fact that she’s in there is a good thing. But we want Democrats to vote like Democrats.”

Only the 10 people at PDA’s table held up the signs, but O’Neal said there were others at the dinner who shared their sentiments.

“People at tables near us were saying, ‘Thank you,’” he said.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”