We believe in the principle of
representation by the people, for the people.
We hold that evidence and values
should influence decision making, not money.
Represent Me AZ
The Board of Represent Me AZ met to discuss what we have accomplished, what we can do better, and our goals for the future. We are thankful that so many in our community contributed to our efforts, and that together, we worked for more transparent, representative leadership in CD2. Here’s a synopsis of our past and our vision for our future.
As many of you know, we are Arizona’s only all-grassroots, all-volunteer SuperPAC. We formed out of our frustration with our Congresswoman Martha McSally’s lack of representation, and the refusal of the media to fact-check her lies. As we learned more about how the system worked for electing representatives, we were uneasy and alarmed by the outsized influence of money in our elections. When big money seems to be in control of the electoral process, it’s inevitable that constituents become disenfranchised – afraid their efforts won’t make a difference. Why would regular citizens be motivated to engage in politics, if the winning candidate and agenda is already predetermined by others?
These factors motivated us to focus on telling the whole story about the issues that are most important to people in our community. We set to work trying to bridge the gap between McSally’s representation and those values. Our origin story can be found here. Represent Me AZ helped hold McSally accountable and continually reminded her she was supposed to be working for us, her constituents, instead of her donors or her political bosses within the Republican party.
Some of our accomplishments include:
- Forcing Martha McSally to hold her first, and only, Town Hall
- Educating her district and then the state of Arizona about the disconnect between her reputation as a moderate and her actual right-wing votes and positions
- Laying the groundwork to interrupt her easy re-election due to her fundraising capabilities, her powerful and wealthy supporters, and her false reputation as a moderate.
When Martha McSally decided to run for Senate, we shifted some of our focus to the Senatorial race but never lost sight of our home, Arizona’s Congressional District 2. Our experience taught us that community involvement in primary elections is the key to having our voices heard. While focusing on exposing Martha McSally, we learned several important things:
- People in Southern Arizona have the same goals. They want to work, live and raise families in security, peace and health.
- Donors and consultants who profit from the current system have a disproportionate influence in primary elections and they often don’t share the values of most in Southern Arizona
- Personalities of candidates tend to lead the news cycle, but policy is what affects peoples’ lives.
We wanted to give a voice to lesser known candidates for CD2 to put the focus where it should be, on the issues. We wanted the people of our district to decide what the candidates talked about, instead of having the consultants and major political parties control the agenda. So, we held four Candidate Forums where voters could ask questions and understand the details of the candidates’ policies and approaches. We asked follow-up questions and we pushed back. We also highlighted their differences by asking them to fill out a questionnaire on several important issues.
After more than two years of using our model, it was time to acknowledge our accomplishments, identify what we could improve upon, and strategize about how to fulfill our mission.
Through consensus, we have decided to continue to do what we do best, and that is to tell the whole story. We will tell the stories of what matters to us, the community. We will not operate from the perspective of media pundits, consultants and people within the political machine, and what they think is “electable”. We will continue to challenge what “electable” means. We will tell the whole story, so the people seeking political office, as well as those already elected, will represent our values. We have that power.
Also, we are embracing the fact that Represent Me AZ volunteers are unapologetic progressives. The people who show up to do the work for our group understand that progressive values are popular, as we pointed out here. They are popular because they provide equity and justice for all. We will continue to demand that all elected officials and candidates represent the popular position of their constituents. In our work to ensure that constituents’ needs are put first, above that of donors, we will:
- Write and share pieces that tell the whole story of any issues that affect Southern Arizona that may not be getting the attention they deserve by the media or politicians. We will do that in our Blog, our Social Media and by writing editorial pieces for local news outlets. Follow us at @RepresentMeAZ on Twitter and our Facebook Page: RepresentMeAZ and our website at www.RepresentMeAZ.com
- Push our electeds and candidates to acknowledge and act out against current government-backed abuses of immigrants, the LGBTQ community, the poor, the underinsured, and the environment, and to support specific fixes of these abuses in progressive ways.
- Insist that our elected officials and candidates are transparent and detail their positions on issues important to those in Southern Arizona.
- Track bills and votes that affect those in Southern Arizona
- Track donors and endorsements for those who represent us or who wish to represent us in Southern Arizona
- Consider giving our endorsement to candidates who will appear on our ballots in Southern Arizona
- Hold Candidate Forums to give exposure to candidates who can represent us in Southern Arizona.
- Endorse and support voter initiatives that represent the values of the people in Southern Arizona
- Collaborate with any organization that shares our values and is already working to ensure that Southern Arizonans enjoy life and liberty regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, age or immigration status.
Our power lies in the ability to organize around our shared values and commitments. We will continue to question the status quo of who is elected, and of the process for getting elected. We will continue to shift the narrative of local and state politics away from personalities and clickbait, and towards what matters: the human cost to bad decisions, and the personal and societal gains that can be made with good decisions.
Two and a half years ago we began questioning the system, despite our lack of political experience. We brought the expertise we each have and immersed ourselves in learning and questioning. We firmly believe there is a better way, and we are not alone in that. Across the country the conversation is changing about power structures and equity. People are organizing and circumventing politicians and the political machine and exerting their electoral and political power. Politicians are beginning to recognize that grassroots efforts are powerful and are beginning to listen. We can’t stop now! The machine is strong and is fighting for its life! In order to continue this radical change, we need your courage, your solidarity and your help. Join us today!
We need volunteers to:
- Research candidates and representatives
- Write for our website & editorials within local publications
- Create graphic design for visually palatable soundbites
- Edit video and other digital media
We need donations for:
- Holding Candidate Forums
- Printing of comprehensive issue contrasts on candidates
- Maintaining our website
- Partnering with other organizations