Tucson Tragedy: Arizona Democrats’ Press Conference

TUE, JAN 11, 2011 (9:53)

Following the Governor Jan Brewer’s speech, Arizona House and Senate Democrats address the Tucson shootings and call for a more civil tone at the legislature.

+ BIO: David Schapira

David Schapira is a third generation Arizonan and Valley native. He is a former high school teacher, political activist and small business owner who first moved to Tempe in 1984. Schapira’s career has been rooted in improving his community. He served as a public high school teacher in the Valley, as an aide to US Senator Tom Daschle in Washington, DC and as manager of Terry Goddard’s 2002 campaign for Arizona Attorney General. In 2003, Schapira founded a consulting business. Schapira’s company, Democracy Online Campaigns, designs websites and communication strategies for campaigns and small businesses across the country. Community service has been a large part of Schapira’s life. He was a member of the Kiwanis youth group, Key Club, in which he held various leadership positions. Schapira, a cancer survivor, has also worked with the American Cancer Society both as staff and as a volunteer. Schapira’s focus at the Legislature is the education of Arizona’s children. As a former public school teacher, he knows the future of education in Arizona depends on investing in student learning, reducing class sizes, paying teachers reasonable wages and working to make our state’s universities leaders in higher education and research. A product of Arizona public schools, Schapira also attended Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University before receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.

+ BIO: Leah Landrum Taylor

The Honorable Leah Landrum Taylor is an elected State Senator for District 16. Senator Landrum Taylor serves on the K-12 Education, Natural Resources and Rural Affairs and the Public Safety and Human Resources Committee. She has previously served on the House Ways and Means and Environment Committees as well as Adoption and Foster Care, Homelessness, Governor’s Brown Cloud Summit, and Federal Mandates committees during interim. Leah is also an Alumna of American Council of Young Political Leaders, serves on the YMCA Youth Initiatives Board and is the Arizona Caucus chair for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. She is also an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow of Emerging Political Leaders in America and was recently featured on the cover of the Arizona Woman Magazine . Senator Landrum Taylor attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University through the Fannie Mae Foundation with the focus on affordable housing. Landrum Taylor is well known for championing Foster Care and Adoption issues as well as Kinship Care Legislation. Additionally, she is a founder and vice-president of the Landrum Foundation, a non-profit organization, designed to afford financial support and preparation for students throughout their post-secondary education. During her spare time she is an Adjunct Faculty Member for the Maricopa Community College. Leah is also the senior advisor for the Arizona Children’s Association. Senator Landrum Taylor is a third generation native Phoenician, educated at Xavier College Preparatory and Arizona State University where she received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Political Science. Leah is happily married to Gregory Taylor, a mechanical engineer specializing in research and planning. They have one son, Greyson Elijah Taylor.

+ BIO: Chad Campbell

Chad Campbell is a Phoenix native and lifelong Arizona resident. A graduate of Moon Valley High School and Northern Arizona University, Chad is in his second term as a State Representative for District 14, which covers parts of central and west Phoenix. He currently serves as the House Democratic Whip, is the Ranking Member of the Commerce Committee and also serves on the Government Committee. Chad has been an active community member for many years. As a community leader and nonprofit director, some of the key issues he has worked on over the years include improving the Maricopa County transportation system, protecting state shared revenues for cities, advocating for renewable energy and smarter growth, protecting critical services for children, and diversifying and strengthening Arizona’s economy. As a legislator, Chad has led the fight in improving and strengthening the Clean Elections system, protecting consumers from fraud and predatory lending, and working to clean up our neighborhoods by cracking down on graffiti and gang crimes. He has also been recognized for his work on economic development issues, being named one of the “Tech Ten” Legislators of 2008 by the Arizona Technology Council, and receiving an Eagle for Enterprise Award from the AZ Small Business Association. In addition to his duties at the legislature, Chad is a private consultant and also serves on the Phoenix Environmental Quality Commission, the Board of Directors for Communities in Schools of Arizona, and the Advisory Board for the Arizona Latino Leadership Institute. In October 2009 Chad was selected to be part of the White House CLEAN Coalition, a national group of state leaders working with the White House to advance federal clean energy legislation in Congress.

+ BIO: Ruben Gallego

Ruben Gallego is a democratic house representative of Arizona’s 16th district.

+ BIO: Albert Hale

Albert A. Hale is the former President of the Navajo Nation. He served as the President from 1995 to 1998. He also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Navajo Nation and special counsel to the Navajo Nation Council. He is also the former President of the Navajo Nation Bar Association. Senator Hale is the former Chairman of the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, a commission established by the Navajo Nation Council to oversee and coordinate the Navajo Nation’s water rights, litigation and negotiation efforts. He served as the Commission Chairman during the Negotiation of the New Mexico and the Navajo Nation San Juan River Basin Water Right Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement was signed on April 19, 2005. He served as a Judge Pro Temp for the Laguna Courts, Laguna Pueblo, Laguna, New Mexico. He is one of the lawyers who filed a lawsuit in 1999 against the tobacco companies on behalf of a number of Indian Nations requesting compensation for injury to tribal members from use of smoking and chewing tobacco. Senator Hale is now in private law practice with offices located in St. Michaels, Arizona. He represents Navajo and non-Navajo clients in federal, state and various tribal courts which include Navajo Nation, Taos, and other tribal courts. His clientele include Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority, an enterprise of the Navajo Nation, the Fort Defiance Housing Corporation, the Bishop Piaute Tribe of Bishop, California, regarding the Tribe’s land and water rights claims, and companies doing business on the Navajo Nation. He is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation; born and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water), Hanaghani (Walk About clan) are his maternal grandparents and Kiyanii (Tall House clan) are his paternal grandparents. He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973) and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University Of New Mexico School Of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977). He is a member of the New Mexico State Bar Association and the Navajo Nation Bar Association and admitted to practice in U.S. Federal Courts, New Mexico State Courts the Navajo Nation Courts, and various Indian Nation’s Courts. He has been practicing law for over 27 years, mostly in private practice. His law practice concentrates on representing businesses on Indian Nations. On January 20, 2004 Senator Hale was appointed to the Arizona State Senate to fill the District 2 Senate seat vacated by Senator Jack Jackson, Sr. Senator Hale was elected to the Arizona State Senate in November, 2004. Committees Senator Hale serves on are: Appropriations; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Welfare; Judiciary; and Rules.

+ BIO: Krysten Sinema

Kyrsten Sinema serves as the Assistant Leader to the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives and represents central Phoenix in the Arizona Legislature. Now in her third term, she is the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee and the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. Kyrsten holds both a law degree and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at ASU. She is an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work at ASU and practices law when not in session. Kyrsten also serves as faculty for the Center for Progressive Leadership, teaching tomorrow’s community leaders about the political process. Kyrsten has worked on initiatives in Arizona and around the country for a number of years, and in 2006 chaired Arizona Together, the first and only successful effort in the country to defeat a same-sex marriage ballot initiative. In 2008, she chaired Protect Arizona’s Freedom, the coalition that defeated Ward Connerly’s effort to place an initiative on the state ballot to eliminate equal opportunity programs. She continues to consult with political groups around the nation on electoral and legislative strategy. Kyrsten serves on numerous community and national boards, including as Board President of Community Outreach and Advocacy for Refugees, the YWCA of Maricopa County, Center for Progressive Leadership, and theYoung Elected Officials’ Network. Kyrsten is the recipient of awards for her political leadership, including the NAACP Civil Rights Award, Az Hispanic Community Forum Friend of the Year, Planned Parenthood Legislative CHOICE Award, Sierra Club’s Most Valuable Player, and the Az Public Health Association Legislator of the Year. Kyrsten’s first book, Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions that Win and Last, was released in July 2009 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

+ BIO: Steve Farley

Steve Farley is a 46-year-old small-business owner married to Kelly Paisley and father of Amelia, 14, and Genevieve, 10. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College (Mass.) in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He was elected to the Arizona Legislature as State Representative from District 28 in November 2006. He now serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Government and Ways & Means committees, as well as Member of the Transportation committee. Steve is well-known to Tucsonans as the artist who gathered personal photos from the Tucson community and turned them into those historic photographic tile murals around the Broadway Underpass, at the eastern gateway to Downtown Tucson, using a tilemaking process he invented. Steve has been actively involved in City politics for the past seven years, in particular as a strong advocate for neighborhoods, downtown revitalization, and sustainable transportation improvements. “He can make things happen, and it’s not in the traditional political way,” said Tucson attorney and political activist Clague Van Slyke III in an article in the Tucson Weekly. “He has great ideas; he has a lot of vision, and he can get things done by bringing people together. And he’s not hidebound by traditional political ties.” He is founder of the transit advocacy group Tucsonans for Sensible Transportation. In that role, he motivated hundreds of grassroots volunteers and donors to gather more than 18,000 signatures from city voters to place on the ballot a Citizens’ Transportation Initiative (that would have boosted transportation alternatives) in November 2003, and won over 70% of the vote in much of the central city, although it was defeated overall. He didn’t give up. He went on to work with conservationist Carolyn Campbell alongside former rivals from the business and development community as a key member of the Citizen Advisory Committee that created the multimodal Tucson Regional Transportation Authority sales tax and plan on the ballot on May 16, 2006. He was instrumental in convincing an initially anti-transit committee to raise the portion allotted to public transit from $200 million to $532 million in the final plan. He served on the Executive Committee and was a chief spokesperson for the Yes!! for Regional Transportation campaign for approval of the tax and plan. That initiative won 60% of the vote, and was the first transportation tax and plan to pass in Tucson history, after four previous tries. Farley has been Vice-Chair of the Pima Association of Governments Regional Transportation Plan (PAG-RTP) Task Force, a member of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Citizens Advisory Committee, and a member of the City of Tucson Major Transit Investment Study Citizen Advisory Group. The Arizona Transit Association honored him with the statewide 2006 Friend of Transit award. He is also a Board Member of the central-city Blenman Elm Neighborhood Association and the Tucson Downtown Alliance. He has collaborated with a broad range of Tucson environmentalists and government officials on various livability issues ranging from the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan to alternative modes of transportation to organic gardening to smart growth to water harvesting to urban design. He has been named “Conservation Hero” by the Arizona League of Conservation Voters, “Legislative Champion” by the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, and “Arts Hero” by Arizona Citizen Action for the Arts.

+ BIO: Daniel Hernandez

Daniel Hernandez is a congressional intern for rep. Gabrielle Giffords and is credited with helping to save her life by administering fist aid to her at the scene of the shooting.

Keeping It Civil Series