To the Netroots Nation and progressive community, a statement from former Arizona House Minority Leader John Loredo, on Phoenix being chosen as the location for Netroots Nation 2015. Loredo was was one of the influential Latino leaders who supported a boycott of Arizona after the passage of SB1070, and for subsequently ending the boycott once it had served its purpose.
“Thank you for supporting the boycott we called. We called for the boycott to bring economic pressure onto the state and to force Arizona business leaders to get off the bench and into the immigration fight. It worked. The year after Senate Bill 1070 passed, business leaders testified at the State Senate and took the position that Arizona could no longer sustain the economic boycott and the legislature needed to stop passing any more harmful immigration bills. Since that point, not one immigration bill has passed at the Arizona state legislature. We accomplished our goal, and those of us who called for the boycott called it off. We hope those that respected our calling for the boycott will respect our decision to call it off.
Arizona is a perfect location for the 2015 Netroots Nation conference. We have large union hotels that serve our Phoenix convention center, and bringing thousands of Netroots attendees here to those hotels would benefit those workers and highlight the hard work Unite Here has done to organize this workforce. We hope the progressive community will support their work.
In the same way we halted the immigration bills, our progressive and labor organizations have united to stop the anti-gay religious right-to-discriminate legislation (Senate Bill 1062). After its passage, thousands of activists pressured the business community and chambers of commerce, who in turn begged Gov. Jan Brewer to veto SB1062 specifically because of the threat of economic boycott. They did not want to go through what happened after SB1070. Brewer, who signed SB1070 into law, listened and vetoed SB1062. The great work by the progressive, Latino and the human rights community in Arizona was highlighted by panelists in the Netroots Nation 2014 panel “Religious Exemptions: The Next Frontier for Progressive Battles.” We want the progressive community to come to one of the front lines of this battle, which is still ongoing.
The political landscape is changing quickly in Arizona. Democrats now hold five of our nine Congressional seats. In 2012, our labor and progressive tables worked together to win back four seats in the state senate, which eliminated the Tea Party super-majority won in 2010. This victory made it possible to find a moderate bi-partisan majority to kill extremist anti-labor and ALEC legislation, and to pass Medicaid expansion. With just two more pick-ups in 2014, we can tie the senate at 15-15, which would allow us to go on the offensive with a progressive legislative agenda. Our coalitions have also defeated the legislature’s extreme anti-voter agenda and helped to elect committed Progressives in competitive city council elections in Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson and Flagstaff.
Our successes are growing and building on one another. Momentum is shifting in our favor and we are excited about our future. Arizona has one of the largest Rising American Electorate populations per capita in the country (900,000 already registered and another 900,000 eligible to vote). Because of these tectonic demographic shifts, Arizona will turn blue even if we do nothing in 15-20 years. But we have a plan to do it by 2016. We want Netroots Nation to be a part of that success.
What would you get if we are successful? Arizona has 11 electoral votes. Flipping Arizona could fundamentally tilt Electoral College math in our favor for the foreseeable future. Those votes don’t disappear when it gets hot, and neither should Netroots. There is no reason the decision to come to Arizona should divide the Netroots community, even at the margins. This is an opportunity to highlight and impact our national debate over immigration at the issue’s epicenter. Most of the national Progressive community is investing heavily in Arizona because of the infrastructure we have created and the victories we have achieved. There’s much more work to do, and it will not be easy. Arizona should be supported for everything our Latino and Progressive community has accomplished, and for what we are working to change, not punished in perpetuity.”