Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 3, 2013


Host: José Cárdenas

Arizona Latino Caucus


  • The Arizona Latino Caucus has developed a new set of priorities as well as elected a new leadership. State Representative Martin Quezada, Arizona Latino Caucus Chairman; and Senator-Elect Anna Tovar, Arizona Latino Caucus Co-Chair will talk about its priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
Guests:
  • Martin Quezada - State Representative, Arizona Latino Caucus Chairman
  • Anna Tovar - Senator-Elect, Arizona Latino Caucus Co-Chair
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislature, priorities, preview, 2013, ,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. THE ARIZONA LATINO CAUCUS HAS DEVELOPED A NEW SET OF PRIORITIES FOR THE UPCOMING LEGISLATION AS WELL AS ELECTING A NEW LEADERSHIP. JOINING ME ARE STATE REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN QUEZADA:. HE REPRESENTS DISTRICT 13 NOW AND WILL REPRESENT DISTRICT 29 IN THE UPCOMING SESSION, AND STATE SENATOR ELECT ANNA TOVAR. SHE WILL REPRESENT DISTRICT 19 IN THE UPCOMING SESSION. WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU. WE SHOULD START WITH CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING YOUR ELECTIONS, THOUGH FOR YOU, SENATOR, IT WASN'T THAT DIFFICULT.

Anna Tovar: NO, I WAS UNOPPOSED FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Jose Cardenas: A LEGISLATOR'S DREAM.

Anna Tovar: YES. IN ALL MY YEARS OF SERVING THIS IS MY FIRST TIME EVER OF NOT HAVING ANYONE RUN AGAINST ME.

Jose Cardenas: YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE LEGISLATURE AS A REPRESENTATIVE. HOW DIFFERENT IS THE DISTRICT YOU NOW REPRESENT?

Anna Tovar: NOT MUCH MORE OF A CHANGE WITH OUR NEW DISTRICT BOUNDARIES THAT WILL BE IN PLAY FOR THE 2 NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION. I STILL HAVE AWFUL WEST PHOENIX, TOLLESON, AVONDALE. GET THING IS MY SEAT MATE MARTIN WILL BE REPRESENTING THE NEW DISTRICT NORTH OF US. SO VERY SIMILAR DISTRICTS.

Jose Cardenas: REPRESENTATIVE QUEZADA, YOU HAD OPPOSITION, YOU DID FAIRLY WELL AND EASILY WON.

Martin Quezada: I HAD PRIMARY OPPOSITION BUT CLEAR PATH IN THE GENERAL. MUCH LIKE SENATOR TOVAR IT WAS CLEAR.

Jose Cardenas: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE COMPOSITION OF THE LATINO CAUCUSES.

Martin Quezada: THERE'S A LOT MORE PEOPLE THIS YEAR. WE HAVE A SIGNIFICANT CAUCUSES WITH A LOT OF NEW AND UP AND COMING LEGISLATORS WHO ARE POISED TO DO GOOD THINGS IN THE LEGISLATURE. IN THE SENATE I BELIEVE WE HAVE FIVE MEMBERS. IN THE HOUSE WE HAVE 12 MEMBERS. SO WE HAVE A TOTAL OF 17 MEMBERS WHO ARE READY TO MOVE FORWARD THIS YEAR.

Jose Cardenas: THAT COMPARES TO ABOUT 10 OR 11 LAST YEAR?

Martin Quezada: APPROXIMATELY 10 OR 11 IN THE CAUCUSES IN THE LAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

Jose Cardenas: TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THE INCREASE IN NUMBERS?

Anna Tovar: I WOULD SAY IT'S BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO MANY MORE LATINOS RUNNING IN DISTRICTS. WE SEE THE INCREASE THIS YEAR, SIX NEW LEGISLATORS COMING ON BOARD, ALL HAPPEN TO BE REPRESENTATIVES. IT'S A GREAT BOOST FOR OUR CAUCUSES AND A GREAT WAY TO PUT OUR PRIORITIES AND MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE MOVING FORWARD FOR ARIZONA LATINOS.

Jose Cardenas: HOW MUCH OF THIS INCREASE IN NUMBERS IS A REFLECTION OF REDISTRICTING?

Anna Tovar: I WOULD SAY IT HAS BEEN A POSITIVE REFLECTION OF REDISTRICTING. OUR STATE DOES ENCOMPASS A THIRD REPUBLICAN, A THIRD DEMOCRAT, A THIRD INDEPENDENT YET OUR LEGISLATURE DOESN'T REFLECT THAT WE'RE HEADING IN STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. ESPECIALLY WITH OUR NEW INCREASE IN OUR LATINO CAUCUSES.

Martin Quezada: YOUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WOULD DISAGREE, SAY IT'S A REFLECTION OF THE REDISTRICTING BUT AN UNFAIR PROCESS TO WHICH THEY OBJECTED WHILE IT WAS GOING ON AND TO WHICH THEY CONTINUE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT.

Martin Quezada: YES. THEY WILL CONTINUE TO COMPLAIN AND I'M SURE LAWSUITS. THERE'S A FEW LAWSUITS THAT ARE STILL PENDING, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED WITH THE PAST, WITH THE REDISTRICTING COMMISSION WAS -- HAS SET THE PRIORITIES HERE IN ARIZONA FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS AND FOR OUR ELECTION SYSTEM. I BELIEVE THAT IT WAS A FAIR PROCESS.

Jose Cardenas: REPRESENTATIVE QUEZADA, YOU'RE THE CHAIR ALONG WITH YOUR CO-CHAIR, SENATOR TOVAR. WE WANTED TO TALK ABOUT PRIORITIES. WE MADE THAT STATEMENT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PIECE. WHAT ARE THEY FOR THE LATINO CAUCUSES?

Martin Quezada: THE LATINO CAUCUSES PRIMARILY WE WANT TO BE A STRONG, COHESIVE, UNIFIED VOICE ON ALL LEGISLATIVE MATTERS THAT ARE OF IMPORTANCE TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY. IN PARTICULAR THERE'S A FEW DIFFERENT AREAS THAT WE INTEND TO FOCUS ON. IING FIRST, GIVEN THE RISE IN THE LATINO POPULATION IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA IT'S BECOMING MORE AND MORE APPARENT THAT LATINO ISSUES ARE BECOMING ARIZONA ISSUES. ARIZONA ISSUES BECOMING LATINO ISSUES. THOSE ARE THE SAME ISSUES THAT LATINO LOCATE RATE SHARES WITH ALL OTHER VOTERS. PUBLIC EDUCATION, JOBS, THE ECONOMY. ACCESSIBLE, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE AND GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY. THESE ARE THINGS THAT WE AS A CAUCUS ARE GOING TO TAKE A STRONG STAND ON PRIMARILY NOT ONLY BECAUSE THEY AFFECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY BUT THEY AFFECT THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE. IN ADDITION TO THAT THERE'S ALWAYS THE OBVIOUS. THE IMMIGRATION ISSUE. WE AS A CAUCUS NEED TO BE THAT FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE. WE NEED TO ENSURE WHATEVER DEBATE IS HELD AT THE STATE LEVEL IS NOT ONLY RATIONAL BUT IT'S PROFITABLE TOO. WE'RE DOING SOMETHING POSITIVE WITH THAT DEBATE INSTEAD OF JUST DEFENDING ATTACKS THAT WE HAVE BEEN SEEING THE LAST FEW YEARS. SO WITH PARTICULAR FOCUS ON A HUGE DREAM ACT POPULATION OUT THERE THAT ARE GOING TO BE LOOKING FOR LEADERSHIP AND HELP AS THEY GUIDE THEIR WAY THROUGH THIS BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM.

Jose Cardenas: SENATOR TOVAR, WHAT CAN THE STATE LEGISLATURE DO ABOUT WHAT IS ESSENTIALLY A FEDERAL ISSUE? LET'S TAKE THE DREAMERS, FOR EXAMPLE WHAT. CAN YOU DO TO HELP THEM?

Anna Tovar: FOR EXAMPLE ONE OF THE BILLS THAT I'LL BE DROPPING ALONG IS 5 MAKING SURE THEY ARE ABLE TO GRANT THEM THEIR DRIVER'S LICENSE. IN THE PROCESS FOR THEM TO BE PRODUCTIVE ARIZONANS TO GO TO SCHOOL AND TO HAVE THAT SAFETY ISSUE OF HAVING THAT DRIVER'S LICENSE ISSUED TO THEM. IT'S IN ARIZONA LAW NOW THAT THEY CAN, BUT THE GOVERNOR DID PROHIBIT THAT FROM HAPPENING. IT'S JUST REALLY A BARRIER FOR OUR DREAMERS, FOR OUR YOUNG ADULTS TO BE -- TO BECOME PRODUCTIVE MEMBERS OF SOCIETY. IT'S ISSUES SUCH AS THOSE, HAVING BILLS PRINTED, FOR US TO SPEAK ON THE FACTS AND PRESENT THOSE FACTS TO OUR COLLEAGUES. LET THEM KNOW HOW VITALLY IMPORTANT IT IS FOR DREAMERS TO HAVE THEIR DRIVER'S LICENSE, FOR THEM TO MOVE FORWARD NOT ONLY IN OBTAINING THEIR GOALS BUT BEING PRODUCTIVE ARIZONANS.

Jose Cardenas: AS A PRACTICAL MATTER ARE YOU GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO MUCH MORE THAN JUST DEFEAT REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVE INSPIRED MEASURES?

Anna Tovar: WE HAVE TO HAVE A PROACTIVE STANCE ON EDUCATING OUR COLLEAGUES. ON WHAT MAYBE SOME OF THEIR FEARS ARE, WHAT SOME OF THE FALSE ATTACKS HAVE BEEN ON NOT ONLY LATINOS BUT IN OUR COMMUNITIES AS WELL. SO I SEE TAKING A STRONG AS REPRESENTATIVE QUEZADA SAID WE HAVE TO TAKE A PROACTIVE APPROACH AND EDUCATE THEM ON OUR NEEDS AND WANTS OF OUR LATINO COMMUNITY. OUR VOICE IS GOING TO BE UNITED AS ONE AND LET THEM KNOW THESE ARE OUR PRIORITIES FOR OUR CONSTITUENTS. BRING SOLUTION TOTS TABLE. THAT'S ONE THING, WE ARE DEFINITELY TIRED OF ATTACKS ON OUR COMMUNITIES, OUR CHILDREN, OUR FAMILIES BEING TORN APART. NOW IS THE TIME TO STOP THESE DIVISIVE TYPE OF LEGISLATION SUCH AS SB 1070. TIME FOR ARIZONA TO MOVE FORWARD. IN ORDER TO DO THAT WE NEED TO STOP WITH THOSE POLICIES THAT WE KNOW DO NOT WORK AND IT JUST -- IT DIVIDES ARIZONA. NOW IS THE TIME TO BE MOVING FORWARD.

Jose Cardenas: DO YOU THINK YOU'LL BE ABLE TO, WHILE REPUBLICAN NUMBERS ARE DOWN THE LEADERSHIP HAS BECOME MUCH MORE CONSERVATIVE. STEVE PIERCE WAS OUSTED IN FAVOR OF A MUCH MORE CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENT IN THE SENATE.

Anna Tovar: WE HAVE TO TAKE THAT PROACTIVE MEASURE TO MAKE SURE OUR VOICES ARE HEARD. WE DO HAVE THE ARIZONA HISPANIC CHAMBER COMING IN. WE DID EXTEND THE INVITATION TO ALL DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS FOR JUST TO USE AS EDUCATIONAL PIECE TO KNOW THAT THESE ARE PRIORITIES IN OUR COMMUNITY, AND WE HAVE TO FIRST START BY EDUCATING OUR COLLEAGUES ON WHAT OUR PRIORITIES ARE.

Jose Cardenas: WHAT ABOUT ISSUES SUCH AS GUNS IN SCHOOLS?

Martin Quezada: GUNS ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO BE AN ISSUE EVEN AFTER NEWTOWN. BECAUSE OF NEWTOWN AS WELL. THIS GOES BACK TO THE CAUCUS SPEAKING ABOUT ISSUES THAT AFFECT THE ENTIRE STATE, ONE ISSUE BEING HEALTH CARE. THAT'S ONE OF THE PRIME ISSUES BEHIND GUN CONTROL. IT'S A BIG PART OF THAT DEBATE. SO FUNDING HEALTH CARE INCLUDING ACCESS, FUNDING POLICE OFFICERS IN OUR SCHOOLS. IT GOES BACK TO PUBLIC EDUCATION. 7 THESE ARE HUGE ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY AND THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE.

Jose Cardenas: DO YOU EXPECT THE LATINO CAUCUS TO TAKE ON GUNS IN SCHOOLS?

Martin Quezada: I EXPECT THE LATINO CAUCUS TO FIRST AND FOREMOST TAKE A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO THE GUN ISSUE IN TERMS OF FOCUSING ON SROs. FUNDING THOSE MAY ELIMINATE ANY OF THAT DISCUSSION THAT COME UP UP FROM TERMS OF ARMING PRINCIPALS --

Jose Cardenas: SECURITY OFFICIALS?

Martin Quezada: LET'S HAVE THOSE. MANY SCHOOLS HAVE THOSE ALREADY. LOTS OF SCHOOLS HAVE HAD THEM IN THE PAST BUT DON'T ANY MORE DUE TO CUT FUNDING FROM THE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE.

Jose Cardenas: YOU WOULD BE OPPOSED TO ARMING TEACHERS?

Martin Quezada: OF COURSE. I WOULD BE STRONGLY OPPOSED.

Anna Tovar: AS A FORMER TEACHER, IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE FOR A TEACHER TO BE HANDLING GUNS. THEY ARE THERE TO EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN, NOT THERE TO PROVIDE SECURITY SUCH AS AN SRO OFFICER WOULD BE A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF PROVIDING THAT EXTRA SECURITY AT SCHOOL. AT THE SAME TIME EDUCATING OUR STUDENTS. WE JUST CAN'T HAVE ANYONE THERE ON THE CAMPUS WITH A GUN BUT DEFINITELY AND SRO OFFICER IS A TRAINED INDIVIDUAL THAT IS THERE USUALLY A FORMER POLICEMAN OR CAN BE AT THE TIME A POLICEMAN. WE NEED PEOPLE SUCH AS SRO OFFICER AT OUR SCHOOLS, NOT HAVING GUNS WITH OUR TEACHERS OR ADMINISTRATORS. NO NEED FOR THAT.

Jose Cardenas: ONE LAST AREA OF DISCUSSION. WE TALKED ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY. WHAT ABOUT WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS? IS THE LATINO CAUCUS GOING TO BE MORE OF A FORCE?

Anna Tovar: ABSOLUTELY. OUR CAUCUS, WE ARE 17 MEMBERS STRONG. WE DO INVITE ALSO OTHER MEMBERS FROM OUR NATIVE AMERICAN CAUCUS AS WELL. WE DO INVITE THEM TO PARTICIPATE. WE HAVE 'FEAR MEMBERS AS WELL THAT WHILE THEY ARE NOT LATINO CAN COME INTO OUR CAUCUS AND SEE WHAT ATTEND OUR MEETINGS, SEE WHAT OUR PRIORITIES ARE AND FOR THEM TO HELP IN UNITING OUR VOICE TOGETHER TO PUSH OUR PRIORITIES FORWARD. I DEFINITELY SEE US GAINING MOMENTUM WITH OUR NUMBERS AND BUILDING AGAIN IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS BY GAINING EVEN MORE MEMBERS IN THE NEXT ELECTION THAT WOULD BE UPCOMING IN TWO YEARS.

Jose Cardenas: SENATOR TOVAR, REPRESENTATIVE QUEZADA, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. GOOD LUCK IN THE UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

Martin Quezada: Anna Tovar: THANK YOU.

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