Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Senate Democrats Awarded by League of Arizona Cities and Towns

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – A number of Senate Democrats were recognized by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns during the League’s 2009 Annual Conference held in Oro Valley, Ariz.

Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios and Sen. Meg Burton Cahill received the “Champion of Cities and Towns Award” for extraordinary legislators that play a vital role in defending and supporting local governments.

Sens. Paula Aboud, Amanda Aguirre and Debbie McCune Davis received the “Friend of Cities and Towns Award” for support of the relationship between local and state government.

“It is critical that cities, towns and the legislature work together to address critical issues during this economic downturn as we are all feeling the pain,” said Sen. Aguirre.

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns represents the 90 incorporated cities and towns in Arizona at the state legislature.

The League on the Internet: http://www.azleague.org

Monday, September 21, 2009

In case you missed it: Pragmatic leaders needed for state

Run in Saturday's AZ Republic:

Pragmatic leaders needed for state
By Sen. Ken Cheuvront - Sept. 19, 2009
Special for the Republic

Arizona is going through one of the most difficult economic periods in our history. Yet, during this time of financial crisis, our current Republican governor and legislative leaders have demonstrated a complete inability to lead. Although two Republican-only budgets were passed this year, the current budget remains $1 billion in the red with future billion-dollar deficits looming in years to come.

A state in this desperate financial condition today needs courageous leadership with a vision for tomorrow. Facing these massive deficits, people should rightfully expect their elected leaders to roll up their sleeves and confront the issues directly. Instead, legislative Republicans have spent their time attempting to lay blame for our current fiscal crisis on the policies of former Gov. Napolitano. They do this, even though they have controlled both the House and the Senate for almost all of the past 44 years.

So what were the Republican priorities in their budget? To close a $3 billion deficit the majority party slashed public education and services for working families, cut taxes for big business and special interest and expanded private-school tax credits that drain money from the state general fund to pay for children of wealthy parents to attend private school.

While they slashed everyone else's budgets, they protected their own budgets from being cut. No cuts were made to the House, Senate, Secretary of State, Governor or Treasurer's offices (all Republican elected officials), but major cuts were made to Attorney General Goddard's (Democrat) office.

These are not the priorities of mainstream Arizonans. Legislative Democrats acknowledge that reduced spending is required, but we believe that cuts should be targeted and not cause long-term damage to our state. Enhancing revenue should be a priority of our state, but Democrats do not support a sales-tax increase that will be mainly used to subsidize $650 million in tax giveaways to large corporations and utilities. Permanently cutting state revenue when you already have a massive deficit is irresponsible and will only lead to future deficits that require even more cuts in the future to vital services.

The time is now for Arizona voters to establish their priorities. Do they want tax giveaways to corporations, or do they want to prioritize public education? If it is the former, then Arizona will continue down the current ideological path that will produce a much smaller government but also will lead to fewer teachers, overcrowded classrooms and an undereducated future workforce.

If voters want to prioritize education and financial stability, then the time has come to change who controls the Arizona House and Senate. We need to elect moderate Democrats and Republicans who share the values and priorities of most Arizonans, rather than the current ultra-conservative Legislature that believes a scorched-earth policy is the best way to get our economy moving.

To stimulate the economy, we need to make sure we have a well-educated workforce that has the tools to succeed. Cutting resources to our public universities, high schools and elementary schools is not a stimulus span that will give us well-paying jobs in the future. It is time to kick out the dead wood and elect a new breed of pragmatic, forward-thinking individuals. We need courageous leadership with a vision.

Sen. Ken Cheuvront is a Democrat from District 15 in Phoenix. He can be reached at 602-926-5325 or via e-mail at kcheuvront@azleg.gov.

District 29 Legislators to Tour New Tucson El Rio Clinic

NEWS RELEASE
Arizona State Legislature
1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007

Senator Linda Lopez, D-29
Democratic Whip
Rep. Matt Heinz, D-29
Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-29

September 21, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

District 29 Legislators to Tour New Tucson El Rio Clinic

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Sen. Linda Lopez, Rep. Matt Heinz and Rep. Daniel Patterson will be touring the new Southeast El Rio Community Health Center on Friday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. at 6950 East Golf Links Road, Tucson, Ariz. Media is welcome to join the tour.

Where: Southeast El Rio Community Health Center, 6950 East Golf Links Road, Tucson, Ariz.
When: Friday, Sept. 25, 2009 at 3 p.m.

“El Rio Community Health Centers serve as a vital health care component for the Tucson area, especially with rising health care costs and uninsured persons,” said Sen. Linda Lopez, Democratic Whip. “With recent state budget cuts to just over 10,000 people from the state’s health insurance statewide, we expect more people look toward centers such as these for primary health care coverage.”

"Access to primary and preventive medical care is an absolute imperative," said Rep. Matt Heinz, who is also a physician at Tucson Medical Center. "As a physician legislator, it is important to me to see how our health care facilities function together for the benefit of the community. It is critical that we find what works well and duplicate those processes."

"I am always interested in helping people with real solutions to our health care needs," Rep. Daniel Patterson said. "Arizona and the US need health insurance reform so all Americans can access quality health care whenever needed. El Rio has an honorable track record in Tucson of helping to make good health care accessible to all, including the uninsured."

The ground-breaking ceremony was held on December 16, 2008 and the facility recently opened in early August 2009. The non-profit El Rio Community Health Center serves the Tucson community by offering primary medical and dental care to more than 74,000 people annually. According to El Rio, the clinics serve over 1,000 people per day and in 2008, 75% lived at or below the federal poverty level and over 33,089 enrolled patients were children.

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Note to Media: Media interested in joining the tour should contact Jeanette for more information.

Additional Media Contacts:
Jeanette Tejeda de Gomez, Senate Democratic Caucus
602-926-4477 jtejeda@azleg.gov
www.azsenatedemocrats.com

Sarah Muench, House Democratic Caucus
602-926-5848 smuench@azleg.gov
www.strongerarizona.com