Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Safer AZ Cannabis Reform Status Report 9/30/14




After pulling our 2014 cannabis illegalization initiative in June of 2014, Safer AZ’s legislative liaison & board member, Mikel Weisser, assumed control of the group to direct our energies for the upcoming 2016 initiative campaign that was being brought to AZ by MPP.
Through the summer, at the behest of the Safer AZ board, Weisser developed the relationship w leaders in MPP and the ADA to better keep track of their actions and to insert Safer AZ into the decision making process of those “officially shaping” the upcoming campaign for AZ cannabis rights.
When MPP’s representative Neal Levine, first came to assess the situation in June, Safer AZ was one of their meetings. When MPP returned on Aug. 27th to commence their campaign, Safer AZ was one of the key meetings they held that day (all and all our rep. attended 5 hours of meetings w MPP: an hour long direct conference, a two-hour shared conference and attending a two hour public presentation).
Safer AZ’s stated intentions are thus: 1) Serve as a representative for the larger cannabis community in the campaign and initiative process; 2) Shape the language of the upcoming initiative to make it as consumer friendly as possible; 3) establish a profession relationship between the AZ campaign committee and Safer AZ , wherein Safer AZ can be an active partner w the campaign (thus guaranteeing our interests are protected); 4) Develop our own fundraising arm to afford better operations and provide services to the campaign including a) activist outreach, b) campaign fundraising assistance, c) public education events, d) legislative advocacy, e) qualified petition gathering, & f) community messaging and guidance.
National MPP has consistently responded favorably to our efforts and provided encouragement that we are pursuing a shared agenda; and so, despite outcry from the under-informed public, Safer AZ has continued to develop this relationship, principally w Sarah Hollyhead, the MPP development rep. Once the AZ based campaign committee was formed, Safer AZ reached out to their officers, Ryan Hurley and Gina Bermen and had lengthy meetings Thursday, Sept. 25. Again the local MPP committee reassured Safer AZ that our stated initiative objectives--various legal and anti-discriminatory protections for cannabis users, limited personal grow, protected status for mmj patients, and reasonably unrestricted market access to licensing for newer and smaller cannabis operators—are part of their vision of the legislation they hope to create. A representative from R.A.M.M.P. (Registry of AZ Medical Marijuan Patients) has independently verified that their impression of the goals of the new AZMPP organization are in keeping w our stated objectives. AZMPP did make suggestions to Safer AZ as to ways we can help advance the overall project.

In specific, AZ MPP asked Safer to develop these objectives: 1) Review and upgrade our existing data base so we can use it as a tool in our work in the upcoming campaign; 2) Begin marketing our tee-shirts to smoke shops and dispensaries to advance our messaging; 3) Attend the upcoming AZ MPP fundraiser (our table would cost $1000); 4) Increase our efforts to public outreach; 5) Overcome our own oh-so-very-public in-fighting that damages our credibility. Both Hurley and Bermen re-emphasized appreciation of our work so far and a desire to work w us in the future. Towards that end, the AZMPP committee has sent me an invitation to their fundraiser kick-off event which I have forwarded to my board for approval.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dear Supporters:

(Thank you again for all your faith in my work. It is your energy that pushes this campaign forward.)

I often talk to people about this congressional campaign as a tactic for an even larger, even more urgent social transformation America must have if we are to survive this century. National attitudes about equality, opportunity, education, foreign relations, the environment and the economy have got to change. If you have followed our campaign, you know I also believe another key tactic in that movement is the legalization of marijuana.
While it is not my only issue, my cannabis activism has often been at the center of my image in the public. This week one of AZ’s most respected writers, Ray Stern, wrote a feature on my work in AZ’s alt-weekly of record, the PHX New Times. The profile focused on my bold marijuana positions, yes, but also on the other main issues in my campaign and my efforts for progressive values in general. One of the main themes is that marijuana is not the motivation sapping debilitating devil the Right want paint.
“Weisser, who was attending the Arizona Leadership Forum at the Phoenix Convention Center, didn't seem impaired or on anything stronger than a cup of coffee. He says he doesn't "have the leisure time" to sit around smoking pot all day long, and on a typical day he's out from 8 a.m. to midnight meeting people and groups in District 4. We can vouch for the fact.”
Standing up for marijuana users is the same as standing up for education: “I want to have limits on class size, and I want to get Howard Zinn back in the classroom," Weisser says … wearing a Howard Zinn button on his lapel.”
Or sane immigration policies: "The whole world is teeming with refugees right now, and America's xenophobic approach is to say, 'build the damn fence.'"
Or a humane approach to affording America’s future: “If only the government stopped corporations from keeping trillions of dollars in profit parked in offshore accounts where they can't be taxed, the United States would have the resources to pay for services needed.”
Now, if these values are the kinds of things you want to see advanced, I ask you to join your cause w mine. We can make a difference. We ARE making a difference now:
Learn more about the campaign:
“Telling the Right They’re Wrong!” 2014 style (You Tube Video):
“Telling the Right They’re Wrong!” 2012 (same audience):

Safer AZ site: http://saferarizona.com/



Paid for by the Mikel Weisser for US Congress campaign

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Weisser to Deliver Opening Remarks at 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam Championships in PHX

OMG, my tremendous good fortune, was to meet Aaron Johnson in 2008 and have him change my AZ life forever. At that point I was a busy happy local poet in the Kingman/Bullhead City area, but he asked me to start performing in the larger AZ circuit and the courage and skills I developed from growing to become a touring poet are at the heart of who I have become as a political figure. Somehow the courage to combine poetry and politics has given this small town rube a tremendous nearly impossible opportunity: I have been asked to give the opening remarks to the world's most elite poetry slam competition. To remember where I started as a scared little scribbler at 14 and decided I would commit to being a poet, no matter what that meant; to see where that faith has brought me--oh my, oh my.

Now this speech won't be delivered until Oct. 8 at the opening ceremonies.

PLEASE CONTACT LAWN GNOME BOOKS for details on iWPS:
  1. Address: 905 N 5th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Opening Remarks 2014 iWPS

Poets, bless you. Thank you for coming to save us. My name is Mikel Weisser and it is one of the great honors in my lifetime to be on hand to welcome the world’s finest poets to AZ, to PHX in fact, for this year’s Individual World Poetry Slam championship!
As a poet who has somehow managed to become the democratic candidate for US House of Representatives in Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District, I live my life in the shadow of the famous quote by Shelley about poets being the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
While I do not know if that phrase characterizes the soul of every wordsmith who ever mangled sentence structure so “moon” and “June” could spoon, I do believe that the assembled talent here this weekend, take their mandate quite seriously: if you are going to open your mouth to fill our minds, it better be about something. I am, to say again, humbled to merely be this close to so many legends, so many great entertainers, so many passionate activists. This weekend, Phoenix will hear if we hear the pulse of the universe in the tones our poets bring out. Phoenix let me warn you: it may not be pretty.
Poets, more than many other public bloviators, tend to remember we have an obligation to enlighten and entertain and, in the process, it’s the ugly we exactly need to hear. People don’t always want to allow the ugly to be seen. Sometimes we want to think that poetry is nothing more than window dressing: comparing your lovely to a summer’s day, instead of simply saying she’s hot. And, yes, there’s times when it’s true that’s all poetry needs to be. But these are the worst of times and the best of times and we have seen the best minds of multiple generations dragged through the disasters of human folly and the whole thing made worse, because no one would address the ugly. We can’t change the ugly truths of life by ignoring them, by disguising ourselves and our emotions. We aren’t chameleons, we’re just humans and luckily us all it is the poets that remember this.
Just to be sure we all understand, I’m not just rattling my jaw because I fell off the donkey truck near a place where there’s free food (there’s food right?) I have a Masters in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield and an M Ed in Secondary Ed from NAU and been performing, publishing, and promoting poetry for about 20yrs after writing in my closet for 20yrs before that and I can tell you, based on that considerable experience, there is a whole lot of ugly the world needs to hear about.
There is a tremendous sense of urgency, corruption does not have a curfew. The poor don’t stop starving just because no one hears about it and our childhoods are always being reborn or destroyed anew w every new moment, at least sometimes there’s a poet there to catch us. Poets are willing to reach down deep in their hearts and write w their blood on the page, maybe to satisfy us, mostly to be lost in the din between the stage and where we stand, mere players. But sometimes, pretty or no, the moons align, the thunder cracks and the words of the poet bring light to the darkness of insanity. And whether we think it’s pretty or whether we think it ugly, it’s the poets’ truth that sets us free.
Let us go then, past the question of “Do I dare?”And let these games begin. Ladies and gentlemen of PHX, it is my honor and privilege to be here today, to be in earshot as the greatest poets of the world speak. Thank you for welcoming them, and thank you poets for coming, with your husky brawling voices and your big shoulders to carry the weight of the world. Thank you Aaron Johnson for bringing us all here today.  Thank you for bringing pretty and ugly and everything beautiful. Thank you for letting me listen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Safer AZ Announces 2016 Drive at PHX NORML 9/2/14 (Mikel Weisser)

Safer AZ is pushing to be a functioning political action committee that helps shape marijuana policy in Arizona.


Our constituency is the cannabis community in all aspects of that rather expansive group. As patients ourselves our primary concerns are w patients, of course, but Safer Arizona aims to make marijuana legal for all people in AZ—smokers and vaporizer users, edibles users, folks w cannabis infused health and beauty products. Even more we want to make marijuana safer for the stores that sell marijuana and the attendant industry and boutique businesses that have grown up around cannabis and are all often demonized.

When terminated our 2014 petition drive, we said we would continue to push for marijuana legalization in AZ we quickly decided to develop an understanding of the upcoming MPP effort. Starting in June we began actively working to develop an understanding of MPP’s efforts and sensing them to be sound, pro-marijuana and pro-Arizona, we have begun to promote MPP in the state. This is often a difficult sell because of lingering frustrations w provisions in the AMMA, the problematic campaign that nearly lost the initiative at the very end and the tense relationship that has developed between certain figures associated w the 2010 Prop 203 campaign as well as the hostility between patients and the dispensary industry.
This speech was meant to give the public, both in person and online, an overview of Safer AZ’s view of the upcoming MPP guided campaign.
Feel free to contact me through our normal congressional campaign channels, but also through:
for cannabis related issues. We really are going to legalize it. Join us—






Mikel Weisser
Director, Safer Arizona
928-234-5633



Friday, August 29, 2014

Why I LOVE the James Woods for Congress Campaign


Sometimes people ask me why I spend my time trying to change the world. There are so many people with so many problems. What difference can one person make?
Sometimes it is hard to have a snappy reply. In canvassing in my mostly rural, mostly poor district, I encounter all sorts of suffering. While I have great big ideas on how to fix the future, the reality of so many people’s lives cries for help right now. So many people have already given up on ever finding leaders who are even interested in their personal struggles. These days so many people feel that the guys running for office have no understanding of the people’s lives. And, I must admit, working in this field, I frequently see that’s true.
Which is why I want to tell you this story about James Woods, the Democratic congressional candidate in AZ-05. James is challenging AZ GOP heavyweight Matt Salmon.



 I could tell you all sorts of awful things about Salmon and why he needs to be defeated, but this is a story about James Woods, me, and a blind woman in Kingman.
When I first met James Woods and his campaign team, they asked me if I wanted to have some of my business cards printed in Braille. Thinking it a cool novelty, I said yes and gave them about a dozen. They came back w imprinted w Braille dimples, saying “Vote Weisser” or something like that.  It wasn’t an actual translation of all the material on the card, we but everyone agreed that if I should ever run into a blind person they would probably be amazed anyone even took the time to think of them. Months went by and my special cards got mixed in w others and all the sighted people who received one thought they were neat, but like so many other cards, after the moment of novelty wore off, they were tucked away, probably forgotten. Soon the cards were almost gone. I knew that there was someone who would treasure the card, so I kept the last one in a special place in my wallet to make sure I didn’t accidentally give it away.
That’s how I met Bobby. I am going to call her Bobby, anyway.
It was a Sunday and the neighborhood was alive w activity as we canvassed that day. Kids were playing, people were doing their Sunday fix-er-upper chores. At first we thought the house was abandoned, weeds had taken over the yard, trash was stuck there. I knocked anyway, and was just walking away when I heard the door open. I knew right away she was blind. As Bobby stood in the dark door of her house, she tried to explain how hard her life had become. I listened attentively, and took some notes.
. Bobby was a mother, whose kids were teens when she went blind. She had had a functional life--work, friends, boyfriends, fun, the basics we all want out of life. Then it was gone. Here blindness took over her life in the course of a year, she had lost her job, her home and her roommates. When her kids moved on into their own lives, things got even harder. She moved to Kingman to stretch her disability budget and had lived in the shadows of her dark house for years worrying what the rest of the world thought of the shut-in lady in the rundown house. Bobby held back tears when I came to her door, because she knew the yard needed work and she was ashamed. She had tried hiring neighbors before, only to be ripped off to the point she had given up. She had lived this way now for years.
The truth is, we all knew I only had limited abilities to help her. I asked if there was a local office of Center-for-Independent-Living, a national network of disabilities support organizations. Yes, she exclaimed, amazed that a political figure would even know of such things. We talked another few minutes when I remembered the Braille card in my wallet.
“I have something for you,” I said and placed the card in her hand. At first, she started to say she couldn’t read it, but she stopped suddenly when her fingers found the Braille. “Oh my god, what? V-O-T-E W-E-I-S-S-E-R. Oh my god, this is so great. Where did you get it?”
I told her about James Woods and his campaign. “I love that man,” she laughed. We talked another 20 minutes. She brightened a bit and stepped out into the doorway. We discussed ways to get her help for her yard. We talked about politics and in particular James Woods.  When I left I knew that much of this woman’s life would remain a struggle; but witnessing that day’s transformation reminded me of why I do this and why I appreciate James Woods so much.
This was a story of the difference James made in on person’s life with one type of problem, but the James Woods campaign cares about the struggles of all people, especially those in the shadows hoping someone will someday care enough to look in. It’s the kind of vision we need more of these days.

--Mikel Weisser is the Democratic candidate for US House in AZ’s 4th Congressional District.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galling the GOP (Pinal County Gala Speech)



So, it is great to be back here in Casa Grande. I tell you what I appreciate especially, is that you guys already know me, you know the issues, you know Paul Gosar [holds nose].

SO, that means I don’t have to give you guys a traditional speech. Looky here, there are 12 different candidates here who can give you a traditional speech.  So since I only have a few minutes, I am simply going to talk to you about why I am wearing pants.

(Photo Rita Jo Anthony)

Well, these pants, here tonight. [steps from behind podium to reveal blue slacks].  Yep, you’re right, go ahead and take a picture, tell your friends, you saw me out of uniform. Usually I start my speeches saying I didn’t come here to play dress up, but I guess tonight I did, because I am clearly out of uniform. That’s right, the blue jeans and white shirt I usually wear are the same kind of uniform I wore when I was a plumber. Y’all know I was a plumber till I was 35, right? Didn’t learn to type till I was 27, started back to college at 30. That’s why I’m always dressed like a working man, just like a plumber, because when it comes to the GOP, I am STILL having to spend my days dealing w their crap.

And as I have taken on this battle, stayed at it, learned my lessons, taken a few lumps, but kept at it, more and more the Democrats around the state are giving me huge support, massive love. Not always the kind of support I might be looking for, but support none the less.

Take the folks of the Yavapai Democratic Women’s Club for example. Now, I have been crashing these ladies’ luncheons for over two years now. At first, I couldn’t even get some of them to listen to my words because they were so busy staring at my tennis shoes. But as I have grown and they’ve grown to know me, just like you guys, more and more, they’ve come to love my work. Like two weeks ago, I was their feature speaker and, since it was a women’s group, I was talking about the women in my life who’d shaped my politics and we were all crying. Seriously, I was reading through tears; there were five women in the audience just sobbing away. Which I guess is what you want from a speech: when they start crying, you can tell it’s effective (as long as they don’t start crying while you’re telling jokes).

But, anyway, when it was over, and folks were, like sniffing in their napkins and stuff, the first lady to come up to me was all visibly shaken. [moves over to the emcee and leans on him, pretending to be the woman in the story] She goes, “Mikel, that was a great speech. I was so moved. … Can I buy you a haircut?”
[shows off fresh hair cut] See? Pretty nice, huh? 

A couple of days later I am back in Yavapai for their annual picnic. I sing, I dance, I speechify, I bring sound equipment and even stay and help pack up when it was done, and this other little old lady comes up w a bag and says, “Look, I brought you pants!” [shows off pants] Yeah!

Now, that explains how I got the pants, but now let me explain how the pants got here. Don’t give up out there. Bear with me, while I said this wasn’t a traditional campaign speech, it is an actual speech. There will be a point. I’ve almost figured out what it is.

(But just in case you’re interested, now that I’ve got some pants … folks, my shoe size is 10 ½. That's Chuck Taylor model Converse black high-tops, just saying.)

So, turns out that very next weekend, my loyal, trusty old van broke down and the mechanic who has kept it running for over 205,000 miles said, ‘no more highway driving.’ No highway driving? The congressional district is the size of the state of Pennsylvania, you can’t just walk it. 

(Photo Beth Weisser)

How was I going to get the message to the people? I will tell you how: the people, the Democrats, are making sure it happens. People started offering me rides, folks started working with each other to cart me around the state like a package of donkey-flavored whup-ass to make sure the message gets out. I am currently on my fourth campaign trip since being grounded, but thanks to the help of Democrats like yourselves stepping up, I am here with you tonight. THX to people like ourselves becoming part of my campaign, making it their campaign.

The trip to get these pants here to you tonight, Saturday, actually started Wednesday, when LD5 state house candidate using a borrowed vehicle took me to Seligman. There we met the LD1  state house candidate, Frank Cuccia, and we attended a candidate forum. Then he took me the rest of the way to Prescott and deposited me at the house of the local women’s club chair, Toni Denis. Toni then freighted me around Prescott for two days so I could attend the local Democrats’ monthly meeting. Then a Prescott PC, Bill Gaulsow, took me on a 200 mile round trip across the mountains to Payson. In Payson we met the Gila County party chair, Chris Tilley, in time to decorate their float for their annual parade. She fed me dinner and then deposited me at the home 84 old Democrat, Mavis Denofsky. Mavis showed me the flags of the 38 countries she’s visited and I showed her TED Talks. Everybody Wins! Then this morning, your candidate for Corporation Commission, Jim Holway, joined me at the parade, brought me back to PHX where we gathered up his lovely wife, Ms Rita Jo Anthony, and then came on down here so I could enthrall you guys w tales of my pants.

After tonight’s event, the Holways will hand me over to your very own Barb and Maynard Njos, who will get me back to Apache Junction and I’ve worked out a ride from there back to PHX and I will just keep campaigning from there. And that doesn’t even address the way your county officers worked together to make I could get in once I got here, but that’s how this is done. That’s what this takes. So I know by now you can see this isn’t just the story of a pair of pants and this really isn’t even my story. This is the story of all the Democrats along the way who made sure they did their part to get this message out: Tell the Right They’re Wrong. End the GOP tyranny before they destroy us all. Go Team!

This is the story of us all working together on our ideas, our ideals-the people, the demos, working together to make it happen. I can assure you this is not the story of my own self-aggrandizement. There is nothing grand about trying to campaign without a working vehicle, other than the immense love and support I receive. Ask Felecia Rotellini when she's traipsing around the state if she feels grand when she’s about 300 miles into a 500 mile travel day. Ask Terry Goddard, sitting there. His campaign isn’t for his aggrandizement--former PHX mayor, former attorney general, gubernatorial candidate. His career has already pretty darn grand. He’s doing it because he believes in the Democratic cause, because he believes in you. Terry believes in the Democrats that collected his petition signatures across the state and contributed to his clean elections campaign, because he believes in the idea of us, just like I do, just you do, my fellow Democrats.

That’s really what this speech is about: the way your ideals and your efforts are actively, clearly making the difference in this state, whether it’s saving education, conserving water, or protecting Arizonans from the bigotry and BS of the GOP, or whether it is merely moving a pair of pants across state so I could come here and tell jokes about them. Yes, this is a Democratic story, the people, the demos, working together, working to get the message out, fighting to make sure we have a government that works for all the people.
Thank you, Democrats, for making sure I got this chance to tell it.

PS: I am still trying to figure out the trip from PHX to Kingman, if anyone has any suggestions? 


--Mikel Weisser writes from the left coast of AZ  



Saturday, August 9, 2014

The "Telling the Right They're Wrong!" Speech for the Meadview Candidate Forum

After two years of telling people I believed in "Telling the Right They're Wrong!" I realized that despite all the sound and fury and the many scenes I have caused trying to do exactly that, that I had never actually written a speech for a mixed or Republican audience. In twelve hours I will be at a GOP dominated candidate forum in extreme rural AZ: Meadview. Here is the speech I hope to give:



Hello,
My name is Mikel Weisser.
I am the Democratic candidate for US House in AZ’s 4th Congressional District. I’m a native Texan, a former teen runaway. Grew up in a small town near the border of Mexico,  about 15 yrs ago I moved to AZ from Illinois por que yo hablo poquito espanol. I share my humble beginnings because I believe the beauty of the American Dream is that a man can remake himself and make a better world if he tries.


I grew up a working man, 3rd generation construction worker. I didn’t learn to type till I was 27, didn’t really go to college till I was 30, worked as a plumber till I was 35, put myself through college and then grad school working as a carnie, then a homeless shelter administrator. I did freelance journalism part-time and had a political column going for about 25 years. I retired as a social studies teacher a year ago to do this full time. I have two masters degrees, one in English from the University of Illinois and one in secondary Ed from NAU.
Currently, I serve as the executive director and legislative liaison of Safer AZ, the state’s cannabis reform PAC and as a vice chair in the progressive caucus of the Democratic Party. I also sing, play guitar & perform poetry around the southwest.  I love my wife and kids and grandkids and dogs and cats and the beauty and the challenge of living in rural Arizona.
Now that’s a whole lot of biography for a little bitty speech like this, and I want you to understand I understand for many of you, nothing else mattered after I said Democrat. But I been a Democrat since I was en utero and I am especially proud to be a Democrat here in Western AZ.
Some of you may know my campaign slogan is, “Tell the Right They’re Wrong!” I mean that. You don’t have to take that personally, but if you just blindly hate anything Dem, then none of the rest of this will matter anyway.
But yes, that is my belief: I run as a Democrat because I believe the Republican Party has dominated our society, our laws and government since the 60s and their rule has come at a terrible price. The conservative values agenda has wrecked our social life, imperiled us globally and gutted our economy to serve the rich. I don’t care which hometown patriotic values the Right claim to care about, bottom line, they are only serving the corporate interests of their campaign donors. Like the way their economic plans first dismantled Wall Street’s security system, stole everybody’s piggybank and six million people’s homes, stuck you w the bill and then blamed the poor and the struggling to hide their tracks. That’s the GOP, that’s your Republicans.


This is just one example. I could rant all day and not cover all the highlights and I could also not convince you. Just like folks didn’t want to believe that Nixon was a crook, or that Reagan let Iran-Contra happen, or that Bush lied to us about weapons of mass destruction, and millions were killed, and billions squandered and trillions more stolen and much of the world has now turned against us in your name. I know no one wants to believe it; but when it comes to domestic policy, foreign policy and especially economic policy the conservative values agenda have been wrong, dead wrong.
And many those folks will tell you I am the enemy, even call me an enemy to America just for thinking such things. Of course they are the same people who will tell you that I am an enemy because I let my hair grow out sometimes, because I wear jeans and Chuck Taylors, instead of pin stripes and wing tips. Because I don’t think that gays or immigrants are subhuman, because I like to smoke and drink and occasionally cuss.
And so I know that they’re wrong about that, because those things just make me a lot like a lot of the rest of you. So, I would like to talk about the things we could agree on. I know some of you would like to hear some new ideas beyond the same old same old GOP BS.
Like, I believe in educating our children, in roads and solar power. I tell you people, this is Arizona in August, you step outside and you cannot help but believe in the power of solar, just saying.
I believe that my government is NOT supposed to treat me like an enemy, or stick its nose into people’s personal lives. I want the government to stay off of my back and out of my bedroom and as long as I am not trampling on the rights of my fellow man, I want to be free to pursue my own life, my own happiness.
I believe we need to be conservative w our precious natural resources and protect the lives of innocent children, especially after they’re born. I believe in Arizona’s dream of rugged independence, carving out your own vision and honoring your land and your country. I believe in encouraging innovation, I believe we owe something to our children.
 And I very much believe that we live in an extremely dangerous time. Yet with all the problems we face on a global scale, the GOP want to be sure we spend most of our time fighting each other. I believe that America is worth fighting and, when necessary, dying for. But I also believe that it is worth living for. I wish everybody believed that way, then, we really could have a country of, for, and by the people.
Now here are some things many of you will disagree on. Like first that a lot of the messes we face were made by Republicans and they lie and wave a flag in front of us expecting everyone to go along. Look at the last 40yrs of American history, especially in this state. Who’s been in power? So who’re the folks to blame?
Look at the way Carter, Clinton and Obama were treated, even though greatly different presidents, they all get attacked the same way, relentlessly, insanely. I think they waste our time w this nonsense, I think they squander our money, I think they don’t solve the problems we hired them to fix because they’re too busy slinging mud and begging for money. When Obama got elected, Mitch McConnell, famously said his goal for the next four yrs was to obstruct Obama’s efforts and tell me what else have they really done lately, except become very good at wasting our time and money?
I also don’t believe that the immigrants are the cause of America’s problems anymore than they were when my grandparents were immigrants 100 yrs ago. They were also poor, uneducated and didn’t speak English.
I don’t believe that someone’s right to be a religious fundamentalist extremist trumps women’s right to make their own reproductive choices.
I don’t believe that government services make us weaker; that tax cuts create jobs; that every Democrat is after your guns; or, that the 80 yr prohibition on marijuana has ever been anything but a fraud and a crime against the American people, people like yourself and your children.
And I tell you what I do believe in: I believe in jobs: in education, in construction, in innovation, and in tourism and rural development. I believe we need to address the refugee crisis on our border, but we have to treat immigrants as people and children as children. I believe corporations are not people and their rights are not superior to the rights of actually humans and that we need a Constitutional Amendment to solve that problem once and for all.
 I also have proposals on issues like rural solar electrification and water reclamation. I am one of the shapers of the state’s marijuana laws and have proposals to stop the federal prohibition the same way we are dismantling AZ’s private prison pipeline.
There are so many things we could agree on. There are so many issues the right will never work on for you and there is only so little time to act before they drive the country over the cliff again. I know that many of you have been true believers in the GOP for a long time. But am I asking the honorable people in the audience to think about what they’re doing, the way they act, who the Republican Party has become and ask yourself, does the GOP really represent you these days?

I hope you’ll say, “No!” I hope you’ll join my fight.  
--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of az.