Hi Reddit, I'm a long time redditor and look forward to sharing my experiences growing up in Arizona, how I got into politics and what I think about the state of our Democracy.

I am honored to be endorsed by Our Revolution - https://ourrevolution.com/candidates/juan-mendez

I won my August State Senate primary and move on to the general election without any competition. We can talk about Arizona politics but I would love to ask for your help Moving Arizona Forward https://www.movingazforward.com

Arizona is the only state in the U.S. with the potential to flip the Republican control of our State Senate or at least tie 15 Democrats - 15 Republicans. I am a Clean Elections politician - I don't take money from lobbyist or the wealthy. I raise my funding through small dollar donations from people in my district that get matched with public funding. But I need your help to get more progressive candidates elected in Arizona with this 2016 election. Please donate what you can to a PAC I created to move Arizoan forward - https://www.movingazforward.com

Today is also the last day to register to vote in Arizona. http://servicearizona.com/ Please help me make sure everyone in Arizona knows that we have the potential to raise the min wage (we're getting $8.05 here), legalize adult use of cannabis, elect Arizona's first Women US Senator and I'll be Arizona's first open atheist State Senator. You could help us win a Democratic controlled State Senate and I could end up chairing a State Senate committee.

Our early ballots get mailed out either this week or the next, help me raise enough money to educate voters about which candidates will help us win a Democratic State Senate Majority in Arizona!

Twitter - @Repmendez

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mendezforaz/

Website - www.mendezforaz.com

Donations - www.movingazforward.com

My Proof: https://twitter.com/mendezforaz/status/785508212145467392


Updates** 8:53am - I'll let some questions pop up and start answering them a little after 9am AZ time. I'll try and stay available for as long as I can today. Thanks

Comments: 2411 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

Nesnesitelna648 karma

Hi Mr. Mendez,

Born and raised in Arizona, and hold degrees from ASU and UA (go Devils). I was tremendously blessed with the chance to get a very high quality education at an affordable cost to me and my family. However, beginning while I was in college and then law school and especially since, the cost of attending both of our major universities has skyrocketed. As a man now thinking about planning for my kids' future education, I'm genuinely worried they won't have the same opportunities I did, or at the very least those opportunities will come at a steep price in student loans.

Are these inflated prices just the new normal, or is anyone fighting to reverse this trend?

RepMendez626 karma

Tuition prices are totally inflated and it's a systemic problem. Our current system of subsidized loans and hoping and wishing states help with the price is why we have tuition prices like we do in AZ.

I got my undergrad at ASU in 09, I was paying just over $4K a year. Today freshman are being asked to pay at least $12K a year. That's 3 times the price in just 8 years.

For higher education going forward we have to end the loan racket on the national level and work towards free college.

For more information I would recommend this doc Ivory Tower - it has a lot of great ASU coverage And then read this book The New Geography of Jobs and help me educate people on why we need more college graduates

coldcoldnovemberrain438 karma

How do you claim that you don't take money from lobbyist yet you have a Political Action Committee which if I understand correctly is used to bypass public financing option (as show by Colbert in 2012 elections)?

RepMendez451 karma

I'm a fan of Lawrence Lessig, he's a constitutional scholar, tried to run for congress and then president this year.

We both want to bring about real progressive campaign financing but we're also equally tired of waiting for our current politicians to drop their addiction to money. Every year the Clean Elections system I use to keep money out of my election is threatened. This last legislative cycle I honestly believed we were going to lose our Clean Election system. It was only saved because of other drama and egos that pre emptively ended our session early.

I wasn't getting anywhere by myself - though I was part of a team that fought off traditional dirty candidates in my own district. We've won as many seats as we're going to win with clean elections as it currently is. The system is by no means perfect. As a clean elections candidate I'm limited to just $40K to win a primary and general election. That is more than enough for me in my district but doesn't mean anything to anyone running in a truly competitive seat.

I'm certainly campaigning in these other districts to get progressive candidates elected but because of how much traditional candidates are allowed to raise all our hard work equates to nothing more and wishes and hopes.

Again and again, what Arizona wants, our legislature doesn’t do — because the citizens who fund elections are represented, and the rest of us are not.

Every issue — from climate change to gun safety, from water to education spending — is blocked by this fundamental problem: Our current legislature does not represent the people.

The solution is to fix our democracy because a politician's reliance on a small group of funders denies equal citizenship in a way that resembles racial discrimination in voting.

So I started a PAC to do just that - I want to get people elected to office that will end the reign of PACs and I'm using a PAC to do that. I can't use the money on my own election.

Blitzwire272 karma

Thank you for your response. Would an accurate tl;dr be: "I do not use money from the PAC for my own election, the purpose of the PAC is to elect other officials and ultimately end the use of PACs?"

/u/coldcoldnovemberrain, could you state the specific PAC that you are referencing? This is what I could find on political contributions Juan's received, about 93% of which comes from public subsidy ($38,133 of $40,798). I wasn't really successful in finding the PAC in question, although Juan does have endorsements from both the Arizona Nurses Association and the Association of Social Workers, both of which are PACs. I am also not sure whether endorsement = contribution

RepMendez242 karma

Yes this is a perfect tl;dr Thanks /u/Blitzwire

The link you shared is showing my clean elections campaign information. You can see a large part of it is public financing.

I think /u/coldcoldnovemberrain is referencing my PAC Moving AZ Forward as a way to get around public financing - but again I can't use any of the money I raise through this PAC to benefit myself. And I'll only be helping candidates in districts where running clean with public financing will never be attractive.

fuck_off_ireland92 karma

If the PAC is operating fully legally, he has no control over it and isn't coordinating with it whatsoever. It's just an avenue for citizens to express their desire to have him elected.

RepMendez157 karma

This is a different situation. I do have control over the PAC but I can't use the funds to get myself elected because I personally use our Clean Election system which is publicly financed.

My PAC Moving AZ Forward is used to get others elected to office. In other states it's called a leadership PAC

jakdrums62 karma

Yes--also important to distinguish PACs from Super PACs. PACs are allowed to donate directly to candidates. Super PACs are not.

RepMendez82 karma

Yeah this is not a Super PAC and everyone knows where the funds come from

tfbro431 karma

I'm a proud Arizonan, and I'm curious. What are your feelings on gun laws? Are you for more or less gun control?

RepMendez700 karma

In Arizona our GOP legislators are so rabid around guns they legislate rights to guns.

I'm all for gun safety. I don't want the wrong people to easily get guns. I don't think anyone hurts constitutionally if it's harder to get guns. It shouldn't be so easy to buy guns at gun shows or over the internet. We also shouldn't let children play with guns at shooting ranges but I'm afraid if I started talking about that at the legislature it would be thought of as too radical.

cripplingstudentdebt419 karma

College aged native here. What are your thoughts on the new recreational marijuana bill? Do you personally believe it has a chance to suceed even though a few portions have generated controversy?

RepMendez613 karma

I think this initiative took too long to get to the ballot but at the same time this election is perfect to pass this initiative.

I'm confident AZ will legalize cannabis this election. I don't think the initiative is perfect, I'm a little worried about having so little shops for the whole state. But with the amount of new voters we registered this election along with the minimum wage increase I'm confident in a large progressive turnout.

Every progressive thing Arizona has done has come through voter initiative. We have publicly financed elections, our public research college ASU, somewhat of a min wage to begin with and even an independent commission to deal with redistricting. Plus we've rejected pay day loans through the initiative process.

So I'm confident legalization has more than a chance. The hardest part was just getting it on the ballot. Going forward the conservatives have made it almost impossible to get more initiatives on the ballot.

Hokahe113 karma

Well, the General Election publicity pamphlet mailed to all residents has 4 pages of "for" arguments and 17 pages of "against" arguments.
This state is beyond goofy.

RepMendez198 karma

If you look closer the majority of the Against arguments are from the same organization

AndyBoyLettuce171 karma

Pardon the language, but is there any fucking thing you can do in the senate about that sociopath of a sheriff named Joe Arpaio? I know he might be under indictment soon. Maybe you can speed that along?

RepMendez249 karma

The most we can do as legislators is make noise and organize our community against our sad excuse for a county sheriff.

We have a great candidate Paul Penzone running against him and great Democrats running for county offices that will be able to reign in his office and spending if he for some crazy reason wins his re-election.

Plus we're always knocking on doors and talking to more voters that's the fastest way tot speed this whole mess along

YoungAdult_159 karma

What is your plan for teachers in Arizona?

RepMendez434 karma

  1. Raise their pay
  2. Provide more training and opportunities for advancement
  3. Get them more funding for simple things like chairs and books
  4. Then build/support the best teachers college in Arizona

When I'm not at the AZ Legislature I'm a substitute High School teacher. I'm passing out text books that I used when going to high school and I hardly have enough for how large most of my classes are. Last year I started subbing for an English class that went two semesters without a permanent teacher.

Teachers live hard lives we all need to do more to respect their profession. I hold teachers up as the true defenders of democracy. I would love any advice on how we could be doing more for teachers.

Tafkaharambe126 karma

Juan I've heard from multiple people both democrats and republicans in Arizona that you are a "nightmare" to work with and that you continually refuse to do bi-partisan work. How are you working to change your image with your co-workers in order to keep moving Arizona forward?

RepMendez229 karma

I'm one of the more progressive legislators in Arizona and I don't apologize for my views.

There is very little room for bi-partisan work in Arizona. But I would interested in your opinion of a good bill I didn't work on or support. I'm not going to jump onto an awful and abusive piece of legislation just to make a little more digestible for our image while it still hurts our community.

I created this PAC Moving AZ Forward to get us passed the legislators that are road blocks to progressive change. I have no problem making a compromise in a situation but I won't compromise my values. I'm not doing this to look good and get re-elected.

wishiwascooltoo79 karma

Total "some say" factoid. Meant more to rile people than gain knowledge.

RepMendez150 karma

Yeah I get this a lot from my local conservatives. It's pretty ineffective. I'm only a nightmare to work with to some republicans because I ask all the questions that make people look dumb and a lot of republicans hate how I'm always speaking to how awful their legislation is

furrowedbrow3 karma

This is a good question, albeit a little rough. Mendez's bill sponsorship history is pretty light. He better do more work in the Senate - and do it in the respectful manner in which the Senate usually works.

RepMendez44 karma

Your research seems to be a little light. I pretty confident that I've sponsored the most legislation every year I've been in office. Our Arizona Legislative site just got a make over and it doesn't show my work from previous session. But just this session I got multiple republicans to co-sponsor my legislation.

A friend of mine does some awesome research and at the moment this is the best evidence I can share with you right now. It's a link to her facebook post talking about how much legisation I've introduced - https://www.facebook.com/amy.umaretiya/posts/10210156592097256

taosano119 karma

What steps do you intend to take to assist in securing Arizona's water resources for the 21st Century?

RepMendez238 karma

We have to start with recognizing we live in a desert.

There are a lot of water usage measures that I've seen other states implement that I'm going to push for this year. But I feel they focus too much on the individual user instead of those big heavy industry users. I'm pretty sure I can't just allow certain industries or ban certain water thirsty crops but I am trying to be as creative as I can to make sure certain water users don't want to do business in Arizona. We definitely don't need a 4th water bottle plant in the Phoenix valley

contact_hi96 karma

How would you advise the average person to enact political change on a large scale? What can we do to fight a two party system which spits out presidential candidates such as....these?

RepMendez318 karma

I run a bill every year to bring Ranked Choice Voting or Instant Run Off voting to Arizona that would end our problems of a two party system.

But as an individual person the biggest thing you can do is build your own power. If you can become recognized as an influential person in your community who can organize people to work on something you can eventually move mountains.

I seen people move up from simple volunteers to huge power brokers just by building relationships with people. So bring your own seat to the table. The average person gets run over by politics because he isn't following or contributing to larger constituent group. Even if you're not going to be that influential person that person needs you to help them.

CizekForAZHouse20 karma

Can you square your stated position here with your vote alongside the Democratic House Caucus in opposition to Approval Voting Bill HB 2518 during the 51st Legislature three years ago?

Proof of your voting against the measure: https://legiscan.com/AZ/rollcall/HB2518/id/244150

RepMendez34 karma

It looks like you're referencing a bill about how HOA's work. I'm trying to remember how this could be related to voting. Could you state your question more directly?

If the whole Dem caucus voted against it we probably wanted a better bill.

CizekForAZHouse13 karma

The bill to which I refer was a bill which allowed cities and towns to replace FPTP with Approval Voting, where a voter can vote for any number of candidates in a given election and the winner is the candidate with the highest number of votes. Sure, it's not a perfect bill and only applied to local bills, but it would have been a step in the right direction for empowering third-party candidates to run in city council & school board elections without worrying about the 'vote splitting' problem that Dem and GOP partisans like to hit third-party voters over the head with every election cycle.

The text of the bill is as follows:

1 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
2 Section 1. Title 16, chapter 4, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended
3 by adding article 8.2, to read:
4 ARTICLE 8.2. OPTIONAL CITY AND TOWN APPROVAL VOTING
5 16-559. City and town approval voting; requirements
6 A. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER STATUTE, A CITY OR TOWN IN THIS STATE MAY
7 BY ORDINANCE ESTABLISH AND USE A SYSTEM OF APPROVAL VOTING IN THAT CITY'S OR
8 TOWN'S PRIMARY OR FIRST ELECTION. AN APPROVAL VOTING SYSTEM SHALL PROVIDE 9 FOR THE FOLLOWING:
10 1. THE VOTER IN THE PRIMARY OR FIRST ELECTION SHALL BE PERMITTED TO
11 VOTE FOR AS MANY CANDIDATES FOR A SINGLE OFFICE AS THE VOTER CHOOSES TO
12 APPROVE.
13 2. THE TWO CANDIDATES WHO RECEIVE THE HIGHEST AND SECOND HIGHEST
14 NUMBER OF VOTES IN THE PRIMARY OR FIRST ELECTION SHALL ADVANCE TO THE GENERAL
15 OR RUNOFF ELECTION FOR THAT CITY OR TOWN WITHOUT REGARD TO WHETHER ANY ONE
16 CANDIDATE HAS RECEIVED A MAJORITY OF THE VOTES CAST FOR THAT OFFICE.
17 3. THE BALLOT AND ALL OTHER VOTING MATERIALS SHALL CLEARLY INDICATE
18 THAT THE VOTER MAY VOTE FOR AS MANY CANDIDATES IN THAT ELECTION AS THE VOTER
19 CHOOSES, AND THAT THE CANDIDATES WHO RECEIVE THE TWO HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES
20 SHALL ADVANCE TO THE GENERAL OR RUNOFF ELECTION.
21 B. EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THIS ARTICLE, CITY AND TOWN
22 APPROVAL VOTING ELECTIONS SHALL BE CONDUCTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
23 PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 8 OF THIS CHAPTER.
24 16-559.01. Approval voting; charter; ordinance
25 THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT REQUIRE A CITY OR TOWN TO ADOPT AN APPROVAL
26 VOTING SYSTEM, BUT A CITY OR TOWN MAY AMEND ITS CHARTER IF REQUIRED FOR THAT
27 CITY OR TOWN TO ADOPT AN ORDINANCE TO IMPLEMENT AN APPROVAL VOTING SYSTEM AS
28 PRESCRIBED BY THIS ARTICLE.

It died in the Senate because it ended up getting swallowed up by a massive 'ranked choice voting' amendment which was internally contradictory and defied all semblance of math & logic.

RepMendez98 karma

If you're talking about Open Primaries - that is the worst idea to ever come out of California. Open Primaries would not help us deal with two party system. It might sound awesome on paper but it won't work out the way you'd like to it. If your goal is to give people more choices in an election than the best bet is Ranked Choice. This Open Primaries method has good framing but will only entrench radical politicians even more. My district is a minority majority strong hold but there will always be more republican primary voters than democratic. I would lose in an "Open Primary" situation

PM_YOUR_BRA77 karma

At what age did you know you wanted to be involved with politics?

RepMendez153 karma

I was probably 20 years old and still in college. I had just went to a Model United Nations conference in Chicago and a national convention for Young Democrats in San Francisco.

I grew up poor and latino in racist Arizona. After learning who was already involved in politics and how easy it was to talk and lobby different people I knew I couldn't turn away from politics.

I didn't know I was going to be running for office until much later. Until after I learned about Arizona's Clean Election system - public financing and after working to organize my community for political change

AnalTyrant68 karma

Hi there Juan, Tucsonan native here, wishing you good luck in the coming weeks.

Question - do you think Arizona is moving, long-term, towards a trend of moderation or even to the left, politically speaking?

Seeing how close we are in this current election cycle, I'm hopeful that we can get away from being "Little Texas" for awhile, and become a bit more balanced.

RepMendez56 karma

I think big picture-wise after this election people will refer to AZ as more purple. Though I'm told TX will turn blue before AZ.

AZ could have a majority democratic congressional caucus, we'll have our first women US senator.

What's hold us back is our ability to win Statewide seats. But just this election with the help of One Arizona we've registered over 150K new voters for this election.

I'm hopeful we'll be able to at the very least tie in the Arizona state senate. Right now we have 17 GOP and 13 Dems. We could easily win two more senate seats cause we have great candidates running. But even if the Dems take a majority we'll still be a good 7 or 8 seats of having any control in AZ House.

So everything looks pretty good for Dems in Arizona right now through in min wage and legalizing cannabis on the ballot and we should have pretty good turnout.

Arizona will be blue it's just a matter of time. Are we going to doing nothing and wait for demographics to change or will we organize and raise the funds needed to move AZ forward? Help me out at www.movingazforward.com

cunderthunt6946 karma

Is it too late for me to run against you?

RepMendez37 karma

Sorry too late even for a write in. Start earlier next time.

It only takes 300 Republican signatures to run against me in the general and nobody even tried anything this election. I don't think there will be that big of a line to run against me in 2018

toxicthunder45 karma

What are your plans to break up the cable companies monopoly and encourage competition by allowing Google fiber in Arizona?

RepMendez83 karma

I would need some help on this. Can we crowd source an answer for this problem?

If this is as easy as just ending a monopoly and allowing for competition then please show me some model legislation and I'll have it introduced before Jan 2017.

I'm all for letting cities set themselves up with their internet. But this is definitely a long term project. Plus I'd have to check in with our Corporation Commission and make sure this isn't their jurisdiction

hunter1599138 karma

What do you say to former Bernie voters who are considering a Johnson/Stein/write-in vote as opposed to voting for Clinton?

RepMendez135 karma

For the Bernie supporters who are considering a 3rd party as opposed to voting for Clinton - first I check to make sure they understand what they are doing. If they only want to make statement and vote their descent, I respect their decision and move on. I'm definitely not the kinda politician who is trying to win everyone's vote, there is only so much time in a campaign.

For other people who aren't sure about Clinton. I have to artfully help them get over themselves. If they are waiting for a politician that they fully agree with to run for president they don't understand what we're trying to do here and they are never going to be happy. Presidents can only do so much. More than half of what people think the president can do falls on congress's responsibility and nobody really controls the economy. I try and frame Hillary as part of the process to a more progressive presidential candidate. And then I try and connect presidential turn out to how we can change congress and state politics. Without a large turnout we move backwards.

I myself didn't fully come around until after hearing Tom Perez talk about Hillary. He made me want to vote for her more than she ever has.

bofstein33 karma

  1. Have you always wanted to eventually run for office, and if not, what made you decide to do so?

  2. How difficult was it to start your first election campaign (whether that's this race or a previous one)? What's the hardest part about it that people wouldn't expect?

(Edited a typo)

RepMendez112 karma

I’m personally motivated to be in politics cause I come from debilitating poverty and can’t afford to wait for someone else to represent me and work to end poverty.

At first I thought I was going to work in campaigns. I started out interning, then worked my way up to student organizing and eventually community organizing - for candidate campaigns and then organizations like my local Ironworkers union.

I only ran for office because Arizona has public financing for state legislative races and the former incumbent for my current office happened to be indicted by the FBI.

So a seat opened up and we literally had no one else to run for office. Our biggest problem in Arizona is we don’t have people waiting in line to run for public office at any level.

a_guile32 karma

Hi!

As a Democrat, if you had to pick any Republican to be Arizona's Congressman who would you pick?

I am a moderate voter so I like to see which opposition candidates are seen as reasonable.

RepMendez58 karma

As a student, when I was even more radical, I went to congress to lobby Jeff Flake. After 15 mins he had me laughing and taking photos with him. If I had to vote for a Republican I guess I would vote for him.

But as far as the Republicans I work with in the AZ state House and the Senate there aren't many I would want in any higher office. I wouldn't mind Rep. TJ Shope or maybe Sen. Bob Worsley.

I don't really follow Republicans outside of AZ

tigerleaping20 karma

That's neat. I'm ideologically opposed to Flake but his opposition to Trump has caused me to reevaluate him. There's more there than I thought. Recently heard him in person and was very impressed. Still would prefer a Dem but I'm way more impressed than I was before.

RepMendez15 karma

that's exactly how I see it. Totally ideologically opposed to Flake but still impressed.

laurpr231 karma

How many staff do you have, and how stressed out are they that you're doing a Reddit AMA (and how thoroughly are they vetting your answers before you post/is your comms director just doing all the writing for you)?

Asking as someone who has worked for a Senator in the past....

RepMendez64 karma

Thanks /u/laurpr2 this is my favorite question. After donating to my PAC someone should give this person some reddit gold! /u/laurpr2 were you working for a State Senator or US Senator?

This is the wild wild west in Arizona - You pretty much do lot of the job by yourself. Right now in the State House there are 24 democrats and 36 republicans. The 24 dems share a policy staff of 8 people, 1 lawyer, 1 amazingly patient Comms director (who I didn't even tell I was doing this) and 1 chief of staff for all of us. So when I sit down with my education expect, who also covers the budget and another major area - I then rob the other 23 democrats of a staff person that covers so many important issues.

I then share an assistant with another legislator who answers the phone and schedules for both of us.

We are criminally underfund in Arizona because a few people haven taken limited and small government to fanatic extremes and because it's easier to manipulate chaos than it is to get away with shady policy in a supported environment.

No one is vetting my answers. I just won my primary by almost 75% and I don't have a general opponent. I felt like I had enough political capital to open myself up to some public questions. Plus it never hurts finding out what the crazy's try and bring up in this kinda situation. And even though my coordinated campaign increased voter turnout in my district by easily 30% this election, less than 8,000 people voted in my election. If many of my voters are on Reddit, they're probably already voting for me.

Ryden725 karma

Hey Mr. Mendez,

My sister lives in Arizona and I came to visit recently. I was appalled by the anti-Muslim sentiment that has grown so strongly. I saw people become aggressive and yell at my sister because she was wearing a hijab, I was approached and cornered by a republican Christian at a gym and because of these negative interactions, I fear for the safety of my young nieces and nephew.

I hope these things will change as time goes on, but is there anything we can do about this?

RepMendez25 karma

This will change with time and demographics. Sorry to hear about your experience and what your nieces and nephews have to deal with on a daily bases.

There are a lot of us working on this problem and many more like it. To see where we're at, at this point in the struggle please watch this new TED Talk about immigrants in politics

If you'd like to help me speed the progress along please look up the New American Leaders Project and help me get more first and second generation immigrants to run for political office. Even if this isn't something you can do yourself please help us normalize the idea of taking ownership of our communities and taking on the responsibility of making the change we all hope for.

funkmastermgee22 karma

Australian who is up way past his bedtime here. Do you have any policy for combating climate change? For a sunny state like Arizona I assume subsidised solar or things along those lines.

RepMendez4 karma

Unfortunately /u/Nesnesitelna summed up our local leaders position pretty well. For sure we have our wackos who honestly don't believe we have a hand in climate change but we have too many politicians who also hide behind the wackos.

Until power companies can trust that they are going to make a ton of money in any alternative energy they won't invest in it on their own. The company line I always hear is that our local power company isn't in the R&D business.

Plus without getting into a more complicated answer the Arizona constitution gave authority over utilities to an independent elected body. So I can't directly affect AZ energy policy in terms of our energy portfolio - where our energy comes from

bbbberlin19 karma

No disrespect intended, but your state kinda has a reputation (internationally even) for being unfriendly and even racist towards hispanics and Latinos.

I'm not a constituent, but honestly this would worry me about studying or doing business in Arizona. Have you taken steps to ensure that the rights of all individuals in Arizona? I'm concerned not just about law enforcement, but also the attitudes of people in everyday life.

RepMendez49 karma

It's pretty bad in Arizona but it really depends on who you are and where you live. On an everyday basis it's not so bad because of the economic segregation and the white flight from the public schools - the evil and ignorant people pretty much keep to themselves.

But in it's totality living in Arizona takes it's toll. I went to school with kids sick from stress about whether their parents would still be at home when they get back. I myself had my 50 year old uncle deported from a simple bike accident that got him caught up with the police.

It's so bad we have entire communities that will not engage with the police for fear they will get deported. People who supported Jim Crow laws of our racist past would be proud with how we've pretty much instituted and brought about the effects that they were hoping for. We have large parts of our community who are effectively second class citizens who can't live in certain place, get certain jobs, or apply for benefits.

I've been trying to introduce this bill that would make the state produce Racial Impact Statement before we vote on legislation so we can all understand how racist the bill will be. But it never gets a committee hearing.

empireit19 karma

Why is prop 205 written so terribly in favor of the monopoly of dispensaries and so poorly for the people?

RepMendez38 karma

The amount of money it takes to get a proper initiative on the ballot in Arizona is too god damn high.

My only hope is that the monopoly of dispensaries won't ruin our local market and drive up prices. But you can't expect much from corporation, not even pot corporations. They say the small number of dispensaries is to make it more palatable for the public but I call BS. It's just neoliberal capitalist ruining everything they can get their hands on.

We need to undo all the changes that have made it harder to get initiatives on the ballot if we ever want to fix Prop 205 in the future

i_like_bikes_17 karma

I can't seem to get the movingazforward.com site to load. That being said, I'm a very liberal Democrat living in very Conservative southeastern Arizona. You recently stated on Twitter that you wouldn't be where you are without SNAP (food stamps). Can you go into that a bit more? Additionally, what advice would you give to someone who was interested in running for office (local or state lege)?

RepMendez46 karma

https://movingazforward.nationbuilder.com/

Seems to be working for me but try it with this nationbuilder part just in case.

I was using food stamps when they used to look like monopoly money. It was my mom and my three other siblings. We'd just seperated from my drunk abusive father. My mom was working and going to community college part time. I was the head cook at home. I had to deal with the stress of stretching out meals and making sure everyone had enough to eat.

I hated food stamps because it felt super embarrassing like if I need to explain to everyone why we had them. Especially when we had to split up the bill according to what could be used for food stamps and what couldn't be. It felt like if someone was judging us for the way we spent the little money we did have.

Every year this great nonprofit asks us as legislators to take the food stamp challenge and try and live off of food stamps for a week. It was embarrassing to learn that all I had to do was stop buying coffee and avocados to have the same amount money for food that person on food stamps gets.

If you're interested in running for office. Start out as a Precinct Committee Person. It's the smallest public office in Arizona. You're pretty much the official volunteer for your neighborhood. You're responsible for voter education and turn out. That's where I started. So that when I ran for office I got all my signatures and initial funding form everyone in my neighborhood. It gives you the skills and relationships to start working politics. Everyone wants to work with you if they know you can turn out so many people

Tobias_Z16 karma

I respect McCain as a person but as a legislator he has lost his way since the 2008 campaign. What can we do in the next few weeks to get Kirkpatrick elected?

RepMendez32 karma

We need to stop worrying about fence sitters and work to activate the voters that do agree with us. Too many people don't even know we have an election, let alone an opportunity to get rid of McCain.

If everyone checked in to their local campaign office and just helped us talk to their neighbors we could rid Arizona and the country of the bane that is McCain

My local volunteer office is 764 W Broadway Rd in Tempe

And /u/TheNumberX already understands how easy it is. We just have to tell people how Kirkpatriick is not McCain and then we'll win

Edit: I don't know McCain personally but I believe that HBO movie about how he picked Palin can't be that far off

austin_isCup13 karma

Why is Arizona against daily fantasy sports? The only "reasoning" I can find is that it's against some sort of religious tenants.

RepMendez33 karma

It has more to do with the Compact our state entered into with our local tribes. In the deal they are the only ones who can administer gambling and in turn they donate a large cut of their profits to many of our services.

If we allow DraftKings to administer gambling in AZ it will blow up the Compact and open the flood gates to all different kinds of gambling.

There is too much at stake just for an app. Nothing stops you from playing fantasy football with your friends. Sorry

Maybe take your issue to the tribes and get them to build their own Fantasy football app?

cripplingstudentdebt12 karma

Another question as an education major/native: What do you believe the solution is to our poor funding for AZ education? Our budget is an embarrassment and forces our kids below national standards.

RepMendez18 karma

Electing Representatives who want to see a successful public education.

I'll reference it again but please read the book Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. You don't even have to finish the book to understand what people are doing to public education. What's happening in AZ isn't an accident. People are purposefully trying to undermine and underfund public education so that it is unattractive in order to break up what they believe is state monopoly on education. They want school choice because they are morally disgusted that they can't make money off of education.

They say they put more money into education every year and that education takes the most of our money every year. But all the money they are referencing is Federal funds that have to go to schools and they don't account for all the new students we're taking in. In Arizona we haven't fully funded our public schools for almost 10 years.

It's not a hard math problem that stops us from funding schools it's just a choice the majority refuses to fund

Joemurphx9 karma

Which union is the best?

RepMendez16 karma

Easily - Unite Here. They helped bring us the first union hotel in Tempe

Then UFCW they are fighting to bring about the first union at ASU and they've done so much to educate people on the need for a higher living wage in Arizona.

Thanks/u/Joemurphx, you know I can't play favorites How's your new job going?

Birdwatchingyou8 karma

What is your favorite species of bird?

RepMendez17 karma

Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus they are known to habitat Carnegiea gigantea both contribute to a beautiful desert landscape

MC_Mooch7 karma

Thank you for running. Congrats on your win! I would like to ask you what are the pressing issues that people are just not paying enough attention to?

RepMendez28 karma

WATER - everyone is running around trying to pretend like everything is ok so as not to worry the economy. But when ever people get together about water their first priority is settle disputes of what water belongs to who.

We are not conserving or using water as if we lived in a dry heat desert. We're about to let Nestle bottle water in the middle of crazy drought.

There are certain things we probably shouldn't be growing in a desert but all the focus is on how many showers you take and trying to convince people golf courses aren't that bad as individual water use

Annoying_guest4 karma

Favorite taco place?

RepMendez4 karma

That's a complicated question that largely depends on the location.

Hands down best price and plate presentation is Don Filos Carniceria in Tempe

When I'm not in Tempe I like the south Scottsdale location from the small local chain Mucha Lucha

But overall best experience is Paz Cantina Right now Michael's just got the Taco Truck but the Cantina will be back before we know it. All Michael needs is peace love, and taco grease to make the best pork tacos in Arizona

I'm chair of the Latino Caucus so I'm ordering a lot of takeout and it's almost exclusively Paz Tacos

LifeProPenisTip3 karma

How do you handle the endless gridlock? I understand government works that way intentionally, but watching congress at the federal level these last 6 or 7 years has been torturous. I could never do that job.

RepMendez8 karma

It takes a lot of patience for sure. But everything is always changing. Just when you think you're stuck with someone forever. Someone else leaves or gets indicted. First one seat opens up somewhere and then like dominos people start leaving for other open positions.

I get by, by telling myself this next election will be the one that flips the AZ State senate.

orangejulius3 karma

Do you think Arizona will go blue in this year's national election?

What are your thoughts on boarder security? Do they reflect Trump's or something else?

How does immigration impact your State's economy? Are there hidden positives? What are the negatives? How do they weigh against each other?

RepMendez8 karma

I don’t think AZ is as red as people make it out to me. Just an election or two ago Democrats used to have a majority of the congressional seats in AZ. There are many factors that used to hold us back from our potential. Statewide we still have a voter disadvantage which holds us back from winning many statewide seats. The last Dem Gov we had took a perfect storm scenario to get her in office.

But this year we’ll be bringing over 150K new voters to this elections. So this year I think we have the potential to put democrats in control of the state senate and win both the legalization of cannabis and the raising of the min wage. We’ll be the only “red state” still recovering economically to have raised the min wage so high.

Even with all that I wouldn’t start calling AZ a blue state but we’ll have to stop assuming it’s so conservative. We just haven’t overcome all the gerrymandering and corrupt campaign financing schemes.

RepMendez11 karma

To the Immigration part of your question -

The way AZ has tried enforcing immigration policy is always holding our economy back. There‘s the people who choose not to do business with AZ cause of our ignorance then there are all the people who don’t feel safe fully engaging with society because of all the hate and fear that certain legislation causes.

This is a little off the economy but I think it’s still connected - We recently had a serial shooter in our Phoenix valley in an area more heavily latino. The police started complaining that no one was calling to give them any tips cause the neighborhood was too afraid to engage the police. If that part of our society is falling apart because of how we choose to enforce immigration than I would also say it’s hurting us economically.

My dry cleaner says he lost a huge part of his profits when people left the urban cities just off of calling cards that people used to buy. Plus lots of our schools lost a lot of students out of fear.

So overall our immigration laws are negatively impacting my community

PopeKevin452 karma

Where do you stand on separation of church and state?

RepMendez12 karma

I think they should be separate. I don't think our government should be recognizing or normalizing any religion.

At first I was totally against prayer before political business, now I'm a little more tolerant to the idea. But I'd rather we didn't pray before business and that people kept it to themselves.

Sleepless_Devil2 karma

Do you also drive around in a Mercedes-Benz golf cart like everyone else old or moderately wealthy in Arizona?

RepMendez2 karma

I live in poverty. The car I drive is so bad Uber and Lift both turned me down when I applied to be a driver to make some extra cash to make ends meet.