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The Democratic Party donkey symbol needed an upgrade for this new online news service. The Mule is a bigger, stronger brand symbol to represent the challenges in getting more voters and victories all up and down the ballot in Maricopa County; and to honor our western and prospector heritage of stubborn determination to make our lives better.
The Mule News is dedicated to educating Maricopa Democrats on issues and candidates to build a more accepting, inclusive and just governance from our elected officials. And to help party officials, district leaders and volunteers motivate voters to elect Democrats for every office up and down the ballot.
We offer periodic updates on people, issues, candidates and the Democratic community in Maricopa County, AZ. We publish articles, features and opinion editorials monthly or as needed.
The Mule News is a subset of Turning Arizona Blue, LLC a registered business in Arizona. Advertising and donations to both are made through TAB. See Advertising Support section below.
By Aaron Connor, Former Candidate in Maricopa County Connor4az@gmail.com
Julie Gunnigle is the Democratic candidate for Maricopa County Attorney in 2022.
In 2020, She and I were Democratic running mates when I ran for County Assessor. Julie ran for the same County Attorney position losing by just 1.5 percent out of nearly 1.9 million votes cast.
She is a mother, former prosecutor, professor of law, non-profit attorney, and community advocate. Since 2020, she has worked as the Political Director of AZ NORML, ensuring that as many Arizonans as possible have their records expunged after the passage of Prop 207 and the legalization of recreational cannabis in Arizona. Julie also served as Director for the Poor People’s Campaign until launching her bid for Maricopa County Attorney.
Julie Gunnigle is running for Maricopa County Attorney to protect the rights of everyone in our community — not just the powerful special interests that continue to benefit from the status quo.
Healthcare Across the United States, people are being targeted and criminalized for their healthcare decisions. Julie is committed to protecting the constitutional rights of Arizonans. Instead of wasting taxpayer resources to enforce unconstitutional laws like SB 1164 the newly-passed 15-week abortion ban, Julie will prioritize violent crimes and crimes against the most vulnerable, including children, women, and seniors.
Criminal Justice Reform Julie is committed to making smart, data-driven reforms that will enhance public safety and help make Arizona a safer and more equitable place for people to live, work, and call home. She will conduct a full audit of the MCAO in order to identify ways to hold individuals accountable and support victims in Maricopa County. Julie will engage stakeholders in the criminal justice system, to include directly-impacted community members, to reduce recidivism, clear backlogs, and offer increased diversion opportunities for qualified individuals.
Restoring Trust at MCAO The MCAO has been at the epicenter of political corruption, mismanagement, and wasteful taxpayer spending for decades. Julie is running to restore the trust of the public and uplift the morale in this office. Maricopa County has some of the highest vacancy rates for prosecuting attorneys and people are leaving in higher numbers year after year. That means slower and less effective service for victims and families. While Julie’s opponents have contributed to the longstanding problems of this office and defend the status quo of over-incarceration, more private prisons, and hundreds of millions in frivolous lawsuits, Julie has a detailed roadmap for transforming this office into one that is transparent, accountable and effective.
Public Corruption As a prosecutor, Julie has taken on corrupt officials that exploited their power for personal gain — and won. She will bring the same approach to the MCAO, holding people that choose to do harm accountable, protecting seniors from fraud, and ensuring public officials don’t use their office for their personal gain. Julie will be a strong voice for consumer protection and political ethics at every level.
Voting Rights The MCAO plays an important role in ensuring our free and fair elections are upheld. Unlike most of her opponents, Julie has accepted the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election and will work with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to ensure every vote is counted and the results are upheld — regardless of party affiliation.
Back in 2020, I was very impressed by Julie’s intelligence, empathy and genuineness. Today, I am moved by her courage to seek public service again and by the values she will bring to that office. Your vote for Julie in 2022, along with mine and others, will enable her to restore the faith and respect this office deserves.
Please visit https://gunnigle2022.com/ to offer your time, talent and treasure to her campaign. Thank you.
By Jacob Raiford, Lead Organizer, WeRising Project firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2020, residents of Maricopa Country organized peaceful demonstrations centered around creating an equitable society for Black, Brown, and Indigenous Americans in light of increased police brutality cases nationwide. At the center of this movement was the WeRising Project. After their non-violent, politically themed demonstrations were inevitably dismantled through targeting by the Phoenix Police in collaboration with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, lead organizers sought to pivot from protests to involving themselves in policy change.
Their first initiative is an advocacy group centered around the creation of a first responder unit specializing in dispatches such as behavioral health, wellness checks, substance abuse, calls involving citizens within Phoenix’s growing unhoused demographic, and other victimless, non-violent dispatches. NOCAP, or The Neighborhood Organized Crisis Assistance Program, would ideally serve as The Valley’s “fourth” official emergency department, fulfilling a void in specialized services that have gone unrecognized for generations.
Though progressive, this idea is not partisan; it is practical, as many cities are turning to behavioral health services as alternatives to direct police response. The NOCAP Advocacy Group seeks to take it a step further by calling for a department independent of current First Responder Services directly accessible through the current 9-1-1 system.
Over the past year and a half, members of the NOCAP Advocacy Group have met with elected officials, impacted community members, professional stakeholders, and other nationally-recognized organizations such as CAHOOTS to strategize the most effective means of implementation. The city responded in early 2021 by reinvigorating a historically ineffective subdepartment coincidentally known as CAP (Community Assistance Program). Despite public concern, the city failed to address the harm-averting pillars provided by NOCAP’s extensive research and collaborative input from ground-based professionals and harm-reduction specialists.
As such, the advocacy group has shifted from the implementation of NOCAP to the adoption of its ideals by Phoenix’s current CAP program, as the fundamental requirements for a successful non-carceral first responder department come with direct input from the community. Currently, advocates are preparing for upcoming city council meetings where the fate of this much-needed program lies in the balance.
While resistance towards this fundamental step in readdressing policing was initially felt, those focused on increasing the effectiveness of Phoenix Police now agree it is essential to move non-life-threatening dispatches, such as behavioral health calls to trained professionals. They recognize this strategy would streamline services saving taxpayers millions and resolving concerns of understaffed police departments.
In a December city council meeting, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams provided feedback on the need to shift calls outside of the jurisdiction of their department. Even Phoenix’s top cop can agree on the need to restructure dispatches. And with an already approved budget of $15 million in response to months of community engagement by the NOCAP Advocacy Group, it is clear the need for a fresh perspective on first responder resources is of grave importance to Phoenician families.
You can find more information at nocapphx.com.
By Ron Williams, Editor, The Mule News email@example.com
The Arizona Supreme Court’s recent ruling to block Prop 307 from the 2022 ballot is another – and more lethal – attack on our Democracy. This time, it is from a Ducey-packed judicial branch that simultaneously usurped: our democratic legislative process by imposing an income tax – not voted on by the AZ Legislature – AND the citizen referendum initiative guaranteed in the Arizona Constitution. Democracy in AZ is on life support and extremists of the Trump fringe cult are building momentum to pull the plug.
This, on top of the same extremists in Arizona who sought to: decertify the 2020 Presidential election with false, illegal electors; cast doubts on Arizona elections with a sham audit; pass over 100 voter suppression bills; and attack AZ school boards to deconstruct public education in favor of private profiteers.
Fighting against the extremists, Save Our Schools Arizona responded to the ruling. “The stacked Arizona Supreme Court made a devastating decision to toss citizen’s referendum Proposition 307 from the 2022 ballot. This order means that Arizona voters will no longer have the opportunity to reject Ducey’s massive tax cuts for the elite. These cuts will now strip upwards of $1 billion in critically needed funding from AZ schools and students each year.
“Make no mistake – this ruling by the Ducey-stacked Court twists the words of the state constitution to suite political aims. It represents yet another attempt to favor the wealthy and corporate interests while robbing Arizona kids and families. When judicial appointees can summarily overrule the constitutionality-protected will of the people on such a critical decision, our state no longer represents a democracy.”
“With an extremist legislature, an executive branch taking its orders from special interests, and a co-opted judicial branch, Arizona voters face serious decisions this November. We will work tirelessly to ensure that voters elect pro-public education candidates up and down the ballot, and reject narrowly-focused political interests that scheme to enrich themselves at the expense of schools, students and families.”
Even conservative columnist Robert Robb, in the Arizona Republic on Sunday, April 23, 2022, blanches at “this sorry saga of democratic usurpation,” by the Arizona Supreme Court in setting income tax rates.
“What the Arizona Supreme Court has wrought regarding the state’s income tax should be inconceivable in a democratic polity.” Robb wrote and went on to say, “As a result of the court’s actions, the individual income tax rates now in effect were not approved in any democratic process. Not by the voters. Not by the members of the Legislature.”
Highlighting the emergency further, the Children’s Action Alliance and The Arizona Center for Economic Progress in a joint statement on the ruling said “(This) Supreme Court decision makes one thing crystal clear: Arizona’s highest court is stripping the rights of everyday Arizonans, in an attempt to protect the rich."
“The ballot was Arizonan’s last line of defense from the Ducey-packed Supreme Court – today that defense has fallen. Despite the explicit and strong language of the Arizona Constitution granting the people a co-equal right to legislate, they have been shut out.”
With Democracy on life support, it is up to us for an intervention – before it is too late. In November, we can vote “like democracy depends on us.” Because it does. But only if we truly understand how close we are to losing it.
Please visit https://sosarizona.org/
https://azeconcenter.org for more information and to support their efforts.
The mission of the Maricopa County Democratic Party is to elect Democrats up and down the ballot within Maricopa County. To accomplish this goal we:
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Ron Williams is the writer/editor and publisher of The Mule News, an online news service covering Maricopa County AZ Democratic politics.
He is also the host of Turning Arizona Blue, a podcast dedicated to changing Arizona from a traditional Red State to a Blue State.
Ron Williams spent decades as a public affairs and public policy communicator in Washington, D.C. and Arizona.
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