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Arizona Commission of African American Affairs

Airdate: February 9, 2017
The Arizona Commission of African American Affairs (AZCAAA) will host its annual legislative conference at the Arizona State Capitol. Cloves Campbell, executive director for the Arizona Commission of African American Affairs talks about how the conference helps provide information about legislative issues important to the African American community.

Guests:
  • Cloves Campbell - Arizona Commission of African American Affairs
Category: Culture

Keywords: African American, legislature,

View Transcript

JOSE: THIS WEEK, THE ARIZONA COMMISSION OF AFRICAN- AMERICAN AFFAIRS WILL HOST THE ANNUAL ARIZONA AFRICAN-AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE AT THE ARIZONA STATE CAPITOL. HERE TO TALK MORE ABOUT THE CONFERENCE IS CLOVES CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE ARIZONA COMMISSION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN AFFAIRS. ITS GOOD TO HAVE TOU HERE ON HORIZANTE. LET'S TALK ABOUT THE COMMISSION ITSELF FIRST AND THEN WE WILL TALK ABOUT THE CONFERENCE.

CAMPBELL: BASICALLY THE COMMISSION WAS FORMED ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO. I UNDERSTAND THAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY WILL NOT HAVE A LOT OF VOICE AT THE LEGISLATIVE LEVEL BECAUSE WE HAVE HAD SO FEW LEGISLATURES THERE. RIGHT NOW WE ONLY HAVE ONE OUT OF 90. IT WAS CREATED TO HAVE A LIAISON BETWEEN THE GOVERNOR, JUDICIAL AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCH.

JOSE: YOU FOCUS ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES. I KNOW YOU HAD A DISTINGUISHED -- WE HAVE A PICTURE OF YOU AND -- THIS IS THE PICTURE I AM TALKING ABOUT. TELL US ABOUT THAT.

CAMPBELL: WHAT WE HAVE TRIED TO DO IS SET-UP A SISTER CITY PROGRAM WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA AND THE STATE OF ARIZONA. THE VISE PRESIDENT, JOSEPH BULL CHI, WHO IS THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF LIBERIA WAS HERE VISITING ARIZONA HAS BEEN INTERESTED IN WHAT WE ARE DOING HERE AS FAR AS AGRICULTURAL, BUSINESS WISE AND THE CLIMATE. WE ARE WORKING WITH THEM ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS.

Jose: HOW DID THAT VISIT GO?

CAMPBELL: IT WENT EXCELLENT. WE ARE ACTUALLY PLANNING TWO MORE VISITS TO GO BACK TO LIBERIA AND TAKING A BUSINESS GROUP AND ALSO A MEDIA GROUP AS WELL.

JOSE: YOU TALK ABOUT THE POSSE OF REPRESENTATION FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY IN THE LEGISLATURE. WE HAVE HAD THEM AS A GUEST ON THE SHOW. ART HAMILTON WAS THE REAL LEADER IN THE LEGISLATURE. IT HAS BEEN YEARS SINCE HE HAS BEEN THERE. WHAT DO YOU THINK ACCOUNTS FOR THAT? NOT HAVING ANOTHER PERSON OF --

CAMPBELL: A LOT OF THINGS DICTATED THAT. THE BIGGEST THING IS THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY ONCE CONCENTRATED IN THE SOUTH PHOENIX AREA, ONCE THERE WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MOVE OUT THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CITY AND STATE PEOPLE MOVED TO CHANDLER, WEST PHOENIX, EAST VALLEY AND YOU DON'T HAVE THAT CONCENTRATED VOTER BASE SO YOU DON'T HAVE A CHANCE TO GET A SOLID AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY REPERSENTATIVE EVERY YEAR.

JOSE: THE CONFERENCE HELPS DEAL WITH THAT LACK OF REPRESENTATION BY PUTTING THE AGENDA IN FRONT OF THE LEGISLATURE.

CAMPBELL: DEFINITELY. SINCE WE HAVE DIFFERENT WAYS OF REACHING AND TALKING AND INFORMATION HIGHWAYS WE CAN GET THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER AND TALK ABOUT SPECIFIC ISSUES. WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO USE THE INTERNET AND MY NEWSPAPER AS WELL TO GET PEOPLE TO COME TOGETHER TO TALK ABOUT THE SPECIFIC ISSUES OF CONCERN TO THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN THE ENTIRE STATE OF ARIZONA. NOT JUST PHOENIX OR MARICOPA, PHOENIX, FLAGSTAFF, MARICOPA, YUMA, TUCSON AS WELL.

JOSE: WE HAVE PICTURES FROM LAST YEAR. THE FIRST IS WITH GOVERNOR DEUCEY.

CAMPBELL: GOVERNOR DUCEY CAME IN. THAT WAS HIS FIRST STOP IN. WE DO OUR PRAYER BREAKFAST EVERY YEAR ON THURSDAY AND HE STOPPED IN AND GIVES US AN OVERVIEW AND TALKS TO THE COMMUNITY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SESSION.

JOSE: I THINK THE FACT THIS TAKES PLACE AT THE CAPITOL IS REFLECTED IN THE NEXT PICTURE, SOME FLAGS AND STUFF AND SOME PEOPLE THERE.

CAMPBELL: THAT IS WHY WE HAVE THE LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE TO SHOW AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESENCE AT THE CAPITOL AND MAKE SURE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THEY ARE ABLE TO GO TALK TO LEGISLATURES AND NOT JUST THE ONE LONE BLACK REPERSENTATIVE OUT OF 90 PEOPLE.

JOSE: I KNOW THERE IS A YOUTH COMPONENT REFLECTED IN THE LAST PICTURE WE HAVE. THIS IS FROM LAST YEAR BUT YOUTHUSUALLY ON THE LAST DAY?

CAMPBELL: DEFINITELY. WE TRY TO GET 400 YOUTH TO COME IN AND TEACH THEM ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, AND PEOPLE COMING IN TALKING ABOUT SOCIAL ISSUES DEALING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND ALSO HOW TO MAKE SURE THEY GET INTO COLLEGE.

JSOE: THIS YEAR YOUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER IS THE MAYOR OF FLAGSTAFF.

CAMPBELL: YES, CORAL EVANS WHO IS THE NEW MAYOR, JUST ELECTED LAST YEAR. FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN FEMALE MAYOR IN THE ENTIRE STATE OF ARIZONA. SHE WILL BE OUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER. SHE HAS A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND HAS BEEN ON THE CITY COUNCIL FOR YEARS AS YOU JUST MENTIONED. SHE WILL INSPIRE US AND GIVE INSIGHT ON WHAT IS HAPPENING NOT ONLY ARIZONA BUT SPECIFICALLY NORTHERN ARIZONA.

JOSE: WE’VE TALKED BEFORE THAT THE PURPOSE IS TO PUT THE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA IN FRONT OF THE LEGISLATURES. GIVE ME A SENSE OF THE KEY ISSUES YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE THE LEGISLATURE KNOWS ARE OF CONCERN TO THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY.

CAMPBELL: ONE OF THE THINGS WE TRY TO DO IS OUR COMMISSION IS CREATED OUT OF SIX PILLARS. WITH THOSE SIX PILLARS ARE SIX DIFFERENT AREAS OF CONCERN; HEALTH, EDUCATION, JUSTICE, YOUTH ISSUES AND ALSO SUSTAINABILITY AND ECONOMIC ISSUES. BUT WE TRIED TO FIND PIECES OF LEGISLATION THAT DEAL SPECIFICALLY WITH THOSE ISSUES SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT THEM AND BE ABLE TO FOCUS ON ENTIRE COMMISSION AND NOT JUST ONE ASPECT OF IT.

JOSE: ARE THERE BILLS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN RIGHT NOW TO THE COMMITTEE?

CAMPBELL: DEFINITELY. THERE ARE SOME WE SUPPORT AND SOME WE DON'T SUPPORT. WE WANT TO SHOW WE ARE A BIPARTISAN ORGANIZATION IF NOT DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN BUT JUST LOOKING FOR GOOD LEGISLATION FOR THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY SPECIFICALLY THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. SPECIFICALLY, WE TALK ABOUT THE TANF PROGRAM WHICH PROVIDES ASSISTANCE TO NEEDY FAMILIES. THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT EXPANDING IT FROM 12 MONTHS TO 24 MONTHS WHICH IS A GOOD THING. IN A YEAR LIKE THIS WE HAVE SEEN IT BE CUT BEFORE BUT THE GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSAL IS TO BRING IT UP TO 24 MONTH AND CONTINUE THE ASSISTANCE OF FAMILIES THAT NEED IT. WE SUPPORT A BILL LIKE THAT. ANOTHER BILL IS GRANDPARENTS ASSISTANCE BILL WHERE THERE IS A LOT OF GRAND PARENTS TAKING CARE OF THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN. THERE’S AN ASSITANCE PROGRAM FOR THEM. THEY ARE ADDING ADDITION FUNDS AND WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE SURE WE SUPPORT THAT PIECE OF LEGISLATION AS WELL. THERE ARE SOME WE DON'T SUPPORT. PARTICULARLY THERE IS ONE ABOUT THE DESEGREGATION FUNDING THAT COMES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. RIGHT NOW THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT TRYING NOT TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THAT FUNDING. WE THINK IT IS WRONG AND WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT FUNDING CONTINUES TO SUPPORT SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT HAVE BEEN TRADITIONALLY, YOU KNOW, HAD ISSUES OF SEGREGATION AND ISSUES OF CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUES AND VIOLATIONS. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT FUNDING CONTINUES TO GO TO THAT SCHOOL DISTRICT.

JOSE: I KNOW YOUR FOCUS AND THE FOCUS OF THE CONFERENCE IS ON STATE AND LOCAL ISSUES BUT ONE LAST QUESTION WITH RESPECT TO WHAT HAPPENED WITH SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN AND HER ATTEMPT TO READ FROM A LETTER THAT CORETTA SCOTT KING SENT WHEN JEFF SESSIONS WAS CONSIDERED TO BE A FEDERAL JUDGE. YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?

CAMPBELL: THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE IS OBVIOUSLY SACRED PLACE TO HOLD DISCUSSIONS. BUT AT THE SAME TIME YOU ARE ALLOWED THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT REAL FACTS. PROBABLY NOT THE ALTERNATIVE FACTS WE HAVE BEEN HEARING FROM A LOT OF LATELY. WHAT THE LETTER DID WAS GIVE A TRUE DESCRIPTION OF WHAT KIND OF PERSON MR. SESSIONS IS AND THE FACT THEY WOULDN'T LET HER CONTINUE TO READ THE LETTER WHICH DESCRIBES SOME OF THE THINGS HE HAS DONE IN HIS PAST IS A REAL SHAME IN MAKING SURE YOU UNDERSTAND WHO HE IS NOW BUT WHAT HE WAS LIKE BEFORE.

JOSE: CLOVES CAMPBELL THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE."

JOSE: WE'VE GOT TO TAKE A BREAK RIGHT NOW, BUT COMING UP LATER IN THE SHOW, WE'LL TALK ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF A MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER EXPANSION TEAM COMING TO ARIZONA.