Arizona Democratic leaders presented their 2020 Blueprint for a Better Arizona during a press conference Jan. 13, 2020 before the Arizona Legislature’s Opening Day ceremonies and Gov. Ducey’s State of the State address.
“Arizona is indeed the land of opportunity. Our student body has all the unlimited potential as well as the most challenging obstacles that define 21st century rural and urban America, Our state will be what we make it,” said House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez, (D-LD 4).
Video by Morgan Willis/ AZEdNews: Arizona Democratic leaders’ priorities for the session
“Our schools remain one of the most underfunded schools in this country,” House Minority Leader Fernandez said. “Our teachers’ pay is nowhere near the national average. Instructional material is still outdated, and college attainment is not where it needs to be for our economic future, but the tax cuts keep coming and the status quo remains the majority’s primary agenda.”
“Well, we have an alternative. It doesn’t have to be this way,” House Minority Leader Fernandez said. “We are ready to lead, and as problem solvers finally make the investments in education and infrastructure that Arizonans just like you are demanding. We are ready to lead. We are ready to work with anybody and anyone, but we will not compromise our values.”
“We believe in building a strong economy from the ground up with working families earning fair pay drive growth through demand and the belief in a secure future,” House Minority Leader Fernandez said. “A state that is good for workers is a state that is good for business.”
“Together our Senate and House Democrats have a unified vision to move Arizona forward with transparency, fairness and equal opportunity for all,” House Minority Leader Fernandez said. “Senator Bradley and I will share our seven top priorities for this session.”
“First, we will invest in children for a healthy, sustainable future. Democrats remain the fiercest and most staunch defenders of public schools, community colleges and universities,” House Minority Leader Fernandez said.
Republican half-measures keep us treading water but that’s not good enough, House Minority Leader Fernandez said.
“There has been progress, but we have not paid back all that is owed to our schools after the massive cuts during the recession. Folks we can do better,” House Minority Leader Fernandez said.
Happy Opening Day #Arizona! This morning we unveiled our priorities for 2020 and beyond. Watch our press conference with @Bradley4AZ— Arizona Senate Dems (@AZSenateDems) January 13, 2020
& @CharleneforAZ here: https://t.co/MFrpc4fasH
And download our Blueprint for a Better Arizona here: https://t.co/8nSwXy1hPO#AZLeg
“Our plan addresses Arizona’s teacher shortage crisis and will make sure they have up to date instructional materials for our kids,” House Minority Leader Fernandez said. “We must increase school social workers and counselors to increase campus safety.”
“Later today the Governor will pat himself on the back for Arizona’s economy, but I ask you all here do you feel secure?” House Minority Leader Fernandez asked.
“No,” said the crowd.
“Here in the real world we know that unemployment figures do not tell the whole story,” House Minority Leader Fernandez said. “One job should be enough, but is it?”
“No,” the crowd responded.
Wages remain low, and “too many Arizonans must work multiple jobs to make ends meet,” said House Minority Leader Fernandez.
Democrats will defend the affordable healthcare act, expand coverage to working families, and improve healthcare outcomes for children and pregnant women, House Minority Leader Fernandez said.
Senate Minority Leader David Bradley (D-LD 10) said a goal of Democratic leaders in the 2020 Legislative Session is to empower individual Arizonans not special interests.
“Arizona voters have a right to cast their ballots and be heard in fair elections free from supression efforts,” Senate Minority Leader Bradley said.
“Our plan protects voters and reduced interferences in our elections by modernizing voting equipment, working to secure automatic voter registration and same day voter registration,” Senate Minority Leader Bradley said.
“We will fight to ensure that every Arizonan has the right to live, learn and work where they want regardless of whom they love,” Senate Minority Leader Bradley said. “Equality, regardless of who you are, where you live, or who you love is one of our most fundamental American values. Unfortunately, equality is also the idea we struggle hardest to match. In Arizona, we know our diversity is our greatest strength.”
“Last session, we repealed Arizona’s discriminatory No Promo law that let bullying of LGBTQ students in schools, now we must pass a statewide non discrimination act. We cannot let Arizona slide backwards on this issue,” Senate Minority Leader Bradley said.
“We will continue to work across the aisle on criminal justice reform to end mass incarceration and close the school to prison pipeline,” Senate Minority Leader Bradley said.
“We must build upon our historic drought contingency plan to more forcefully confront polluters and ensure clean air and water for every Arizona family,” Senate Minority Leader Bradley said. “A strong and resilient economy depends on clean air, drinkable water and public lands free from pollution. Democrats will back science and sustainability measures.”
Senate Minority Leader Bradley said we must also connect our rural and tribal communities through broadband internet.
“Years of tax cuts have left our state with a woefully underfunded education system and roads in need of repairs,” Senate Minority Leader Bradley said.