Skyward – Community Commentary

Skyward – Community Commentary

Equality

Skyward

By Carol Fiore

 

I have always looked up—at clouds, at birds, at airplanes. I climb to the tops of hills and hotels and relish the feeling of being high, embracing the world below. As a child, my most prized possession was a cheap, vinyl bag with the words Pan Am emblazoned on the side—a reminder of an adventure in the sky.

When I was 13, I saw a documentary about Amelia Earhart. While everyone else was enthralled with the mystery surrounding her disappearance, I was drawn to her freckles, and her quick smile, and her eyes that screamed, “Flying is the most amazing thing you could ever do.” That was the day I began my journey to the sky.

I was determined to become a pilot.

Along the way there were many obstacles—beginning with my parents. “Be a stewardess,” they advised. “That’s a proper career for a girl.” When I persisted in reading aviation books and “wasting” my money on airplane models, my mother became nasty. “Only rich kids fly airplanes.”

Continue reading “Skyward – Community Commentary”

McSally in Cosmo Magazine – wait, WHAT?

McSally in Cosmo Magazine – wait, WHAT?

Accurate Representation, Equality

We started this Change.org campaign to ask the Editors of “Cosmopolitan” Magazine to:

“Tell your readers the truth about Martha McSally

Helen Gurley Brown, the long-time editor of “Cosmopolitan,” famously transformed it from a staid family magazine to a frank (sometimes brazen) advice manual for the modern, single career woman.

In 2014, then-editor Joanna Coles expanded Cosmo’s scope to politics, “researching political candidates so you don’t have to.” She announced that only politicians who support the best interests of Cosmo readers (including equal pay, access to abortion, gun control and affordable health care) would receive the magazine’s endorsement.

Based on that criteria, the only way you’d expect to see Rep. Martha McSally featured on the Cosmo’s web site is in a big red warning to steer clear. McSally has a long track record of opposing the very policies that Cosmo says are deal-breakers:

Continue reading “McSally in Cosmo Magazine – wait, WHAT?”

McSally Lost Her Voice – Charlottesville

McSally Lost Her Voice – Charlottesville

Equality

Rep. Martha McSally’s constituents have been calling her office repeatedly, imploring her to speak out and condemn the horrific acts of domestic violence visited on Charlottesville, VA this weekend by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Her response: total silence.

It’s baffling.

Where is the woman who promised, over and over, she’d be “an independent voice” for Southern Arizonans?

Where is the woman who insisted she could provide leadership in Washington, D.C.?

Of the 30 members of the House Homeland Security Committee, only 4 have refused to condemn the despicable acts of terrorism visited on Charlottesville by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Three of the holdouts, unsurprisingly, come from safe red districts in the former Confederate South. Mike Rogers (AL), Clay Higgins (LA), John Rutherford (FL).

The last is Martha McSally.

Her timidity is inexplicable at a time when Americans across the nation are reacting with alarm to the surge of white supremacist attacks in recent months. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a report in May warning of the increasing threat. Brutal hate crimes have claimed the lives of victims in Oregon, Maryland, New York, Kansas, California, and now Virginia. Through it all, McSally has stayed silent.

More than a third of her constituents are ethnic minorities, and the SPLC has identified two hate groups inside her district. And of course, Charlottesville showed us that hate groups are more than willing to travel far from home to demonize and terrorize innocent people.

Who’s going to stand up and fight for us? How can McSally claim to be an effective leader in combating a threat she won’t even acknowledge?

It’s long past time for her to step up – or step down.

Charlottesville

Where Does McSally Stand on Transgender Military Ban?

Where Does McSally Stand on Transgender Military Ban?

Defense, Equality, National Politics

McSally’s Positions on LGBTQ Rights are Confusing

Martha McSally’s positions on the issue of LGBTQ rights are a confusing bag.  As with most issues that aren’t related to the border or the A-10, it is hard to unpack her positions.  Yesterday the President set off a storm with a series of Tweets about banning people who are transgender from serving in the military.

Several members of Congress put out statements condemning the idea, including members of her own party. [1] But Martha has remained silent. This silence is not surprising, as Martha tends to shy away from issues that might upset her carefully crafted yet false reputation as a Moderate.  But while unsurprising, her failure to condemn the President’s Tweets demonstrates her unwillingness to take any kind of meaningful stand. Based on her image created by her overworked PR teams, we should expect her to come out in defense of the proud men and women who are transgender and serve our country. She has a stake in the matter as a veteran and serving on the Armed Services Committee. Coupled with her tendency to tour the major cable news programs when issues of the military are hot topics, her silence speaks volumes. So again, since she won’t let her constituents know where she stands, we at Represent Me AZ are forced to let her constituents know.

Recap

You can read about her past views on LGBTQ issues here on our website with sources.

McSally voted to allow Federal Agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ. She said in 2012 that same sex marriage should be banned. In the same survey she indicated that LGBTQ does not deserve to be a protected class under Federal Anti-discrimination Law. She told a mother that other children need to be protected from transgender children. Two months later she told a group of Cienega High School students that she fights for LGBTQ rights and that they deserve “every opportunity in this country.” Most of her statements are meant to portray her as a Moderate to her more socially minded constituents. But these statements are confusing and the votes don’t match up.

Updates Since we Last Wrote About LGBTQ Issues

Then on July 13th, she voted for the Hartzler Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that sought to prohibit funds for medical treatment (other than mental health treatment) related to gender transition to a person entitled to medical care under chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code.” [2] Luckily this Amendment failed in the House.

McSally continues to use her favorite shield by stating that LGBTQ rights are a State’s Rights issue. This is how she justifies her statements about fighting for LGBTQ but then voting to undermine the civil rights of those in that community. Surely she is aware that civil rights are a Federal Issue.  By continuing her current trend of voting we are left to infer that she believes that the people in the LGBTQ community deserve less protections than other Americans.

There has been a great deal of pushback on Trump’s ban. This includes a statement from the Joint Chiefs of the Military who appear to have been caught off guard by the policy change by way of Twitter. McSally certainly would not be alone if she chose to speak out in support of the troops she professes to stand behind. McSally’s silence is both unsurprising and unacceptable.

 

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-transgender-military-service-ban-republican-opposition_us_5978bbb4e4b0e201d57a65b4

[2] https://www.congress.gov/amendment/115th-congress/house-amendment/183

McSally on Equal Pay for Women

McSally on Equal Pay for Women

Equality

While campaigning in 2014, Martha McSally promised to vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act:

“As someone who has fought for women my entire life, I know first-hand that women are still not treated equally in the workplace, and if I was in Congress, I would vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act because it’s the right thing to do… Sometimes the ‘best man for the job’ to fight for women is a woman. When I replace Congressman Barber, I’ll wake up fighting for women in this community everyday.”[1]

 

She ran ads with the line: “Martha is standing up to her own party – supporting equal pay for equal work.”[2]

 

But in April of 2015, McSally voted to block consideration of the Paycheck Fairness Act.[3] The bill was reintroduced in late 2015 and in 2017; it currently has 197 cosponsors; McSally is not one of them. Continue reading “McSally on Equal Pay for Women”

McSally on LGBTQ rights

McSally on LGBTQ rights

Equality

WORKPLACE PROTECTIONS

 

Rep. McSally has a score of 48 from the Human Rights Campaign. To put that in context, all the Democratic representatives from Arizona have a score of 100, and all the other Republican representatives have a score of zero. [1]

 

A representative from the HRC explained the mixed results to us this way: generally McSally will vote in favor of workplace protections for LGBTQ people, but then will vote for broad religious exemptions that undercut those same protections.

 

For example, in May of 2016, McSally was one of only 29 Republican members who voted for the Maloney amendment to prohibit LGBTQ discrimination by federal contractors in military construction.

 

But she also voted for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow anti-LGBTQ discrimination in all federal agencies.

 

That led to accusations of intolerance, and her spokesman defended her vote: “This claim is ridiculous. Martha has been battling discrimination and shattering stereotypes her whole life. The bill in question is a $610 billion defense bill that ensures our troops have the resources and training they need to meet the growing threats to our country. You have to be pretty desperate to politicize our national security and keeping Americans safe.”[2]

 

His statement was misleading. McSally didn’t just vote for the overall bill. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, she voted for the specific amendment to the bill which would permit anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

 

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

 

In 2012, on a survey she filled out for the Center for Arizona Policy, McSally indicated her support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. She has also said many times that she believes marriage is between one man and one woman, and that same-sex marriage is a states’ rights issue.

Those are contradictory positions. One can’t simultaneously argue that a ban on same-sex marriage should be the law of the land, AND that states should be able to decide the issue for themselves.

In December of 2013, Jim Nintzel of “The Tucson Weekly” asked McSally whether she still supported the idea of the constitutional amendment. She would not answer directly, saying only that it was a hypothetical question, and that in any case she was “not planning on spending my political capital on that type of issue.”[3]

In the fall of 2014, a federal judge ruled that Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Arizona’s attorney general decided not to appeal the ruling, and McSally agreed that that was a “pragmatic and reasonable decision.”[4]

 

In June of 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was protected by the Constitution, McSally reiterated that she felt it should be left up to the states to decide, but said she would respect the decision.[5]

 

Currently, callers to McSally’s office who ask where she stands on this issue are told, “I don’t know.” McSally Take a Stand has asked McSally to keep her staff informed of her positions on this and other issues so that they can provide correct responses to constituent questions. MTS has also asked McSally (through her District Director) to update her responses to the 2012 Center for Arizona Policy survey, so that her constituents will have an accurate understanding of her views. McSally has not responded to that request.

TRANSGENDER CHILDREN

 

On the subject of protection for transgender children in schools, McSally has given different answers to different audiences.

 

At her February 2017 town hall in Sahuarita, the mother of a transgender child asked McSally what she would do to protect transgender children in light of President Trump’s rescission of Title IX protections for them. McSally said she approved of President Trump’s decision, because the extension of protections to transgender children represented “federal overreach” and the issue is “best managed at the state level.”

 

She went on to imply that other children needed protection from transgender children. The audience reacted angrily to that suggestion.

 

The issue came up again several weeks later, while McSally was talking to La Cienega High School students. She again said that she thought the issue should be resolved locally; she didn’t tell these young people, however, that she thought they might need protection from the transgender youth in their midst. Instead, she shifted topics to gay rights in general, saying, “Regardless of who you are and who you love, you should be given every opportunity in this country.” She then claimed that she had “fought for” gay rights in Congress.[6] It’s unclear what she meant by that.

 

[1]http://assets.hrc.org//files/assets/resources/114thCongressionalScorecard.pdf?_ga=2.260041482.1686814753.1496636829-2112206926.1496636829

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/matt-heinz-martha-mcsally-arizona_us_57fe8778e4b0e8c198a59568

[3] https://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/in-sickness-and-in-health/Content?oid=3921492

[4] https://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/proof-of-evolution/Content?oid=4853249

[5] http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2015/06/26/arizona-reaction-quotes-sex-marriage-court-ruling/29357971/

[6] http://tucson.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/takeaways-from-us-rep-mcsally-s-visit-to-cienega-high/article_fd59415c-eb2a-572f-96b2-5c20a133e406.html

McSally on Prejudice

McSally on Prejudice

Equality

*from Feb 23, 2017 town hall event*   

PREJUDICE / HATE SPEECH

First, an ethnic breakdown of CD2: It’s 64% white, 28% Hispanic, and about 4% black, 3% Asian and 1% Native American. *

A religious breakdown of Arizona (Pew Survey, 2015): 27% none, 26% Evangelical, 21% Catholic, 13% Protestant, 5% Mormon, 6% non~Christian faith (Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.)

Arizona’s Congressional delegation has 5 Catholics, 2 Mormons, 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopalian, 1 Unaffiliated, and then Martha McSally, listed as “Unspecified Protestant.”

In 2015, Rep. McSally spoke at a tribute to Arizona’s first Mexican~American governor: “It took people like Raul Castro to stand up and continue to push through people’s prejudices. He is a tremendous example for all of us…and as we stand here today to honor him, we have to ask ourselves what we can do to carry on his legacy.”

There coverage on~line of her visiting Holocaust museums and attending Remembrance Day Marches, but no reference to any concern she might have about Steve Bannon and Breitbart, or Stephen Miller and his relationship with David Duke.  She has not complained when Trump, or Trump Jr., or Kellyanne Conway retweet white supremacists. Yesterday, there was a bipartisan letter members of Congress sent to federal law enforcement, urging them to investigate the bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers. Reps. Grijalva, Gallego, Sinema and O’Halleran signed it. Rep. McSally didn’t.

When you Google “Martha McSally” and “hate speech,” one result you get is her first reaction to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. She called it “hateful talk” and said, “I really strongly condemn it.” That was December of 2015.

After the ban was enacted, with some legal tinkering to try to give it cover, her reaction was much more muted. Now she says he’s being “prudent,” and his behavior should be “expected.” She went from “really strongly condemning it” to normalizing it.

Tim Stellar of the Daily Star described that as, “Not a particularly strong response to a measure that demanded it.”

*edited for accuracy to reflect census numbers 6/5/2017