Chris Mathis, running for the AZ House in LD18, spoke at the Democrats of Greater Tucson meeting on July 25, 2022. Here are highlights of Chris’s talk:
I got involved in this in the fall when I was alarmed by threats to reproductive rights.
I am way past alarmed at this point. For the first time in US history, we’re in a situation where the United States Supreme Court has taken away a right that we had in this country for 50 years.
And many of us feared it was coming. It’s hard to get used to the fact that we live in a post-Roe v. Wade world. So, I am trying to strategize and move ahead in a way that makes sense for Arizona. But I am beside myself about this, especially as a lawyer. I can’t accept that the United States Supreme Court has come to this, and it could have come out with that decision, which is troubling to all of us.
Public education in Arizona has been chronically and intentionally underfunded and starved for years and years and years. We’re still in a situation where we are, if not last in the country, 48th or 49th for both teacher pay and overall education funding. That is something that I would like to continue in the legislature continue to fight on.
We’ve expanded ESAs private school vouchers to the point where every student essentially in Arizona can have one. Every Republican in the house voted for this. So, all that money that goes to those vouchers is a dollar being siphoned off the public-school budget from our tax dollars. And we had a referendum on this. We had initiative 208 on whether we in Arizona wanted to do this, and there was a resounding answer to that question: NO.
We must do everything we can to preserve our precious water resources. It is an alarming situation. The levels on lake Mead and Lake Powell are all kinds of things that are happening largely as a result of climate change.
It is an existential issue for Arizona and one that shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But instead, we’ve had this onslaught of bills to try to make it harder to vote.
Sadly, that is what’s going on. They’re trying to make it harder to vote because they think that will help Republicans. It’s pretty straightforward. That’s essentially what’s going on there. I continue to be quite alarmed by that.
We need to pass common-sense gun safety laws in the state of Arizona. That still goes back to what happened here in Tucson in 2011 (Gabby Giffords shooting), and meeting with the Moms Demand Action folks and hearing their stories is a very moving and difficult thing to do.
It shows you the actual cost of this bizarre situation that we have in the United States where speaking of the Supreme Court, somehow, second amendment rights have been allowed to trump our public safety interest. It’s a troubling thing. These awful shootings have become a part of the national discussion for a while — and then it fades.
If we have a Democratic governor, we can have bills vetoed and stay vetoed and not be overridden by the legislature. So, it’s a key point. There are so many reasons why we need to have a Democratic governor elected in Arizona that would help us so much in the legislature.
The Arizona Daily Star features coverage written by a guy named Howard Fisher. His approach is to find the craziest, most offensive Republican bill of the day. The bills are like the old straw dispensers at McDonald’s, where you take out a straw, and another straw pops up to take out another straw. That is the way it is with the crazy, offensive Republican bills.
You will never exhaust them. They keep coming from folks like Cathi Herrod (a right-wing Christian anti-LGBTQ troll) and from ALEC and all these groups that feed the Republicans their bills. So, there’s a steady diet of them. And there’s always some Republican member who is willing to run these bills.
Usually, the article on the front page will be the Howie article featuring the bad, scary bill of the day. Those articles aren’t false. They’re true. And they’re definitely things that we need to be alarmed about.
There’s this scene in a commercial where whoever the Republican candidate is, they put some blue jeans on, and they maybe find like a sheriff or some law enforcement person. They kind of walk along the wall, and it’s become the archetype for a Republican ad. It makes no sense. Immigration is a federal issue, but they keep doing it anyway. They keep funding it anyway.