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Article by Maria Parsons

Chris Mathis, a candidate for the open house seat in Legislative District 9, spoke about reproductive rights, voting rights, water resources, and the chronic underfunding of education, and the ongoing Republican assault on our public education system.

He spoke at the November 15, 2021 meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson.


“I am a lawyer. I also have the legislative background and my personal background that position me to hit the ground running in Phoenix,” he said. “What I do on a day-to-day basis is I help people navigate the system that we have in the United States that folks have to navigate when they get older.”

With a history of being a moderate on both sides of the aisle, Mathis is in an unusual position to understand Republican perspectives. “Having gone through the redistricting experience, I have a pretty good sense of what these Republicans in Phoenix these days are about,” he explained. “It’s important to understand what the job of a Democratic legislator right now is like, and I think it can be pretty tough. And I think that there are aspects of it that are a little bit like walking into a buzz saw. And I think there are aspects of it that are a little bit, I don’t want to use too overblown a term, but a little bit soul-crushing.

“And you go up there with all these ideas, and there are so many things that we can do to make the state better. And instead, on a daily basis, you have to deal with the stuff coming out of the Republican caucus. So I think having a sense of that, what that’s like having that buzz saw essentially outside our front door for a few years is valuable.”

Imminent threats

He went on to discuss some of the key items he would like to focus on if elected. “There are really a few imminent threats that will need to be dealt with right after the first of the year in Phoenix. The first, as you guys know, is a threat to reproductive rights,” he said, referring to the anti-choice laws in Texas and the danger they pose.

“The other imminent threat relates to voting rights, and as we’ve seen, the Republicans these days are focused on taking away our voting rights with surgical precision — not just from Democrats but from minority populations specifically. And that is just antithetical to what the United States is all about.”

“The other imminent threat relates to our water rights in Arizona and to water and climate,” he added. He discussed that we are currently in a drought and that projections for our water levels if nothing is done are dire.

“One of the frustrating things is how many opportunities there are in this environment with climate change to try to change the system, to take advantage of the moment as far as having incentives with respect to alternative energy sources, incentives with respect to electric vehicles, incentives to make it easier just to leverage the clean energy economy in Arizona. So I think out of crisis comes opportunity.”

Teacher pay and education are also something he’s concerned about. “It is just straight out not acceptable for Arizona to be ranked 50th in teacher pay,” he said. “We’re facing a teacher shortage. And so that is one other reason why this needs to be addressed.”

“I think that you have to fight for Democratic positions, tenaciously. But I think you also have to seek ways to work together for Southern Arizona, if appropriate. And I think that my bipartisan background may put me in good stead as far as that goes,” he concluded.

He can be reached by email, christopher.mathis@gmail.com, or contacted by phone at (552) 046-5829. A campaign website is currently in the works.

Chris can be reached as follows: