Latest News on our COVID Advocacy and Turn AZ Blue Actions

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News from the Coconino County Democratic Party

April 18, 2020

Dear Fellow Coconino Democrats,

It’s been a very busy few weeks. Here’s the latest we have to share:

We’re past the stage of candidates qualifying for the primary ballot and we have a Democratic field to be proud of.  Thank you to all of our PCs and volunteers who helped these candidates move their campaigns forward. Read here about who will be on your ballot.

We are still focused on flipping Arizona & LD6 BLUE in November. We need your help with phone banking for Mark Kelly (Mission for Arizona) and our LD-6 Candidates (Felicia French for AZ Senate and Coral Evans for AZ House). Opportunities are available nearly every day. The latest polls are looking hopeful for Mark Kelly and Joe Biden in Arizona – but it won’t happen without hard work! This week our County Party Executive Committee approved a budget and plans that will allow us — with your help — to support these and other down-ballot Democratic nominees as we work create new ways to campaign in the age of COVID-19. Our Quarterly Business Meeting on May 9 will be a time to discuss more about this.

Please join us for our upcoming COVID-19 call on Tuesday at noon. This past Tuesday we had a great conversation with County Supervisor Liz Archuleta, Sara Jager – the Chief Medical Officer of Tuba City Regional Health Center, and Keith Brekhus, the constituent representative for Congressman O’Halleran. 

Highlighted Article of the Week

Doug Ducey has the lowest approval rating of Governors on COVID-19 response.  This is pretty amazing when you know of Governors like Florida’s DeSantis. But it demonstrates that Arizonans are less tolerant of bad government than some of the redder states, like Florida, and should be an encouraging sign for Democrats in Arizona.

Advocacy Victories This Week

April 10th:  The Flagstaff City Council approved a request from the Flagstaff Shelter Services to reallocate Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funding to be used to provide temporary off-site shelter for up to 100 medically vulnerable individuals, including supplies and staffing needs. This is nearly $60k in funding. Thank you, Flagstaff City Council, for prioritizing the safety of our most vulnerable community members. 

April 13: We published and advertised suggestions for donations by those who can give their stimulus check to local organizations who are helping those in need.

April 14: St. Mary’s Food Bank delivered three semi-truck loads of food to Tuba City containing 2000 boxes of non-perishable and shelf-stable fruits and vegetables for residents of the Navajo Nation. Under normal conditions, these mobile food pantries would be staffed by Navajo elders, but they are now encouraged to stay home. The Coconino Democrats helped to recruit 12 volunteers to assist with distribution. Two of our volunteers remarked that it was amazing to be a part of this effort. (photo below)

April 15: At least four people learned they were eligible to receive unemployment benefits because of our advertised post on Facebook.

Generally:  More information is flowing, especially at the County level. This helps people know how to help and relieves fears caused by uncertainty.  

National Action Items

  1. The World Health Organization is fighting this pandemic worldwide — which is how it must be fought. It’s also fighting polio and other scourges. Now is not the time to cut off funding; Trump’s doing it only to distract from his own failures. Sign this petition to demand funding be restored.
  2. Wide and fast testing is required to safely open the economy. In the first phone call between Trump and some members of his new business council, industry leaders told Trump what public health experts and governors have been telling him for weeks: There need to be guarantees of wide coronavirus testing before people return to work.”   Contact Congress and ask that the next COVID bill include funds and clear direction to the Administration to assure the manufacture and rational distribution of test kits.
  3.  Our front line workers are at grave risk due to the lack of protective equipment, the lack of widely-available testing capability, and economic protections.  This situation will hinder efforts to safely reopen our economy. Read and ActFront Line Workers at Risk 
  4. Advocacy for Coconino County, suggested by Supervisor Archuleta: For the fourth Congressional COVID Relief bill, we need to request fairer distribution of resources. Funds should go directly to counties based on their needs. Contact:  Congress (Sinema, McSally, and O’Halleran). 

State Advocacy

The Arizona Legislature adjourned in March with a plan to return this week. Now there is no definite date of return and they are doing nothing while collecting their per diem allowance. Meanwhile, the State is struggling.  The date the legislature reconvenes rests solely on Karen Fann, Senate President and Rusty Bowers, House Speaker.  

It’s Pouring — Use the Fund

This week we heard both from Coconino County Supervisors Liz Archuleta and Art Babbott about the need for the State Legislature to come back to session to address urgent needs related to the COVID crisis, in particular, mobilization of the Rainy Day Fund.  Call Karen Fann 602-926-5874 and Rusty Bowers 602-926-3128 to get them back to work. Please make the calls and send the emails using the scripts suggested here. 

Protect Our Elections

Democrats are advocating expanded use of mail ballots for elections in 2020.  This decision must be made soon so County Recorders can adequately plan. We heard from Patty Hansen during our Monthly Action Meeting last Saturday that it has been difficult to find poll workers during this public health crisis, and 14 out of 15 county recorders have urged an all-mail election for August and November.  What happened in Wisconsin last week should not happen here in either August or November. 

Congress allotted over $400 million to the States in the CARES Act to support elections, but in order to receive the money, the Legislature must match 20% of the federal funding.  Arizona’s share of the federal allotment is about $6.5 Million. This means Arizona needs to allocate some $1.5 Million to voting support for August and November to receive $6.5 Million in federal money.  When our counties desperately need funding to deal with the pandemic, it seems to be a no-brainer to match these funds. But, then, this is the AZ legislature. …

Support: Stay Home – Keep Us All Safe

Social distancing through the end of April was supposed to protect the health care system from getting overwhelmed and buy time to prepare for living with a virus for which a vaccine may not be available for a year or longer. The impact on the economy has been devastating; however, we cannot simply “reopen” as Trump says. On Tuesday, he said:  “It’s going to be very, very soon — sooner than the end of the month.” That’s just ridiculous.  Reopening American Needs to Be Guided By Science, Not Jared and Ivanka.  

Experts say three steps will be critical to successfully reversing stay-at-home orders: Widespread testing for both the disease and its antibodies, tracking and isolating new coronavirus cases, and ultimately better treatments and a vaccine. With only approximately 2 million tests administered so far — most to critically ill patients, we’re not even close to the first step necessary to get our economy moving again. 

“We can’t move into the next phase of response before we are able to understand where this virus is, who has it and to make sure to isolate cases,” said Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “Without that, we won’t be able to sufficiently control the virus.” 

Given this situation, our national and state advocacy recommendations are critical to supporting those who are suffering in our new economic depression. And, we must not lose sight of the need for big structural changes which this crisis has highlighted.

For Some, Home is Dangerous

We connected with the Sheriff this week and he stated that there has been an increase in domestic violence arrests since the stay-at-home orders. This is happening nationwide.

Please share these local resources.  Flagstaff Victim Witness Services, Northland Family Help Center, and NACASA (Northern Arizona Care and Services after Assault) are all open.

Navajo Nation COVID Advocacy

The COVID-19 crisis on the Navajo Nation is getting national publicity as the cases per capita put it right behind New York and New Jersey.  We heard from Dr. Sara Jager, Chief Medical Officer at Tuba City Regional Healthcare during our call this week. She reported that large shipments of N95 masks and other PPE were delivered to Tuba City Regional Healthcare Center just last week; however, the hospital had to spend millions from its own coffer to accomplish this, at much higher prices than usual. They are still accepting handmade masks and are distributing them to patients and families. She expressed that a unified approach to education about the virus is needed –  conflicting information from national leadership is not helping. 

Finally, staffing is a priority need right now – in particular RNs. When hospitals say they are “full” this doesn’t mean every bed is full, it usually means that they have reached their staffing capacity. This article, From the Frontlines: An Update from Navajo Nation, touches on that need. 

Another area of need that is not often discussed is funeral expenses. Since COVID-19 is often affecting multiple members of a single family and due to high rates of disease, funeral costs  are high. This is hitting our Native American communities in a particularly cruel manner. 

Donation Sites:

Assistance for the Undocumented

Although undocumented workers are vital to our economic and community well-being, most are systemically excluded from safety-net programs like unemployment insurance and other public benefits.  And despite paying into our tax system just like the rest of us, most will not receive a dollar of support from the COVID-19 federal relief program.  This is a huge injustice!

El Pueblo de Flagstaff and the First Congregational Church of Flagstaff have worked together to set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for local undocumented and mixed-status families whose financial situation has been made more precarious by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic decline. Donations to this fund will help families pay their rent and utilities, buy groceries, and obtain medical care. Individuals in need will request funds through an online application, and grants will be dispersed as quickly as possible as contributions to the fund come in. 

The Contrast Between Republicans and Democrats Has Never Been Greater

These advocacy efforts dovetail with our support for Democratic candidates. Mark Kelly is advocating for personal protective equipment and broadcasting ways to entertain and educate children at home. In contrast, Martha McSally has jumped on board with Trump in condemning the World Health Organization.  Likewise, Felicia French’s medical background led her to sponsor a COVID-19 Townhall and provide constant, appropriately scientific news in her communications about the crisis.  That’s a perfect antidote to her opponent Sylvia Allen’s “thoughts and prayers” approach.

Information You or Others May Need

Why Don’t I Have My Stimulus Check? — Thanks to State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai for compiling this information about how the federal government is distributing the “immediate” relief Congress appropriated.

Coconino County COVID-19 Facebook Page

Congressman O’Halleran COVID-19 Constituent Service Resource Toolkit

The Arizona Department of Health started listing COVID-19 cases by zip code. You can check out the information here.

Northern Arizona Health Care Dashboard

Tuba City Regional Health Care Dashboard

Navajo Nation COVID-19 Page

Arizona Together: AZ State website for resources

If You Can Donate Your Stimulus Cash to Those In Need, We Have Some Local Suggestions

If you can spare some of your stimulus bonus, please consider these charities which are helping people in our county. 

Don’t forget Earth Day, April 22nd

We’ll be skipping the festival this year but you can still celebrate! In fact, the COVID crisis has resulted in some unexpected positive benefits for the earth, including bluer skies in multiple areas across the globe, CaliforniaChina, and India; however, these changes will only be temporary unless we continue to push for systemic changes.

This Saturday you can support fellow Precinct Committee Person Kyle Nitschke on Zoom as he joins other youth panelists from around the world at the “Passion for the Planet” 2nd Annual Earth week Youth Summit. Saturday, April 18th, 9-11 am. Click hereto register.

Zooming: Something Exciting Coming Up!

Our monthly Coconino Democratic Action Meeting last Saturday was amazing! Seventy people joined the Zoom event. We heard from candidates Bryan Bates (District 4 Supervisor) and Patty Hansen (County Recorder), talked about expanding our party’s base, heard from LD-6 Field Organizer Jay Ruby, and discussed our on-going COVID advocacy work. 

Leaving you with a cliffhanger – the Executive Committee has decided to announce the winners of the 2020 Roosevelt Kennedy Eleanor Roosevelt Award and the 2020 Chair’s award at the next Monthly Coconino Democratic Action Meeting on May 9th!  This will also be our Quarterly Business Meeting and we’ll have candidate speakers. 

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

We work to protect the American Worker, the American Dream and the Future of our Children. The Mission of the County Party is to elect Democrats to public office who embrace the values of the Democratic Party.

The Coconino County Democratic Party is one of the 15 county organizations of the Arizona Democratic Party (ADP). The ADP is an arm of the National Democratic Party. We are committed to the continuing growth of a strong grassroots organization that takes action in support of local, state, and national Democratic candidates and issues consistent with our Mission.

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