Richtman Interview – Podcast September 21, 2020

Saving Social Security From Donald Trump And The GOP. Democratic Perspective welcomes back Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. He begins by noting that, for the first time in its history, the board of his organization voted to endorse a candidate for president – Joe Biden. The reason, he explains, is because of the danger Donald Trump poses to Social Security. He has already proposed nearly a trillion dollars in cuts to Social Security and Medicare. And Richtman notes, Trump has promised to permanently eliminate the payroll tax and fund the program out of the general budget. That would almost certainly cause Social Security to run out of money in a couple of years. “He either doesn’t understand how Social Security is funded” says Richtman. “Or he doesn’t care. Or it’s both.”

Richtman goes on to say that a lot of people don’t understand that the payroll tax funds the Social Security program. “I think a better way to explain it,” he says, “is that the payroll tax really is an insurance payment.” He points out that FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contribution Act. As a result, he emphasizes, “Social Security is not an entitlement. It’s an earned benefit.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community Activism, Elections, Government, Interviews, Local Politics, Medicaid, Medicare, National Politics, Pandemic, Political Clubs, Presidential Elections, Privatization, Public Policy, Social Insurance, Social Security, Taxation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

French Interview – Podcast September 14, 2020

Focus On Accountability. Democratic Perspective welcomes Felicia French, LD6 candidate for the Arizona State Senate. French is a veteran of the Army and the Arizona National Guard serving as a nurse and reaching the rank of full colonel. During her 32-year career, she served as a commander for seven years and earned the Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star, two Humanitarian Service Medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Expert Field Medical Badge.

Even after her retirement, French has continued to serve the public as a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Community Emergency Response Team, and Sierra Club. As a nurse, she has also volunteered with hospice military veterans, disaster relief efforts in the Bahamas, and most recently with the Navajo Nation.

It is in that same spirit of public service, French is running for public office. Her top issue is accountability, especially fiscal accountability. Other issues French considers priorities are making affordable quality healthcare available to all Arizonans, improving public education, protecting scarce water resources, and expanding the availability of broadband.

On the latter issue, she notes, “Twenty-two percent of Arizona does not have broadband.” She explains that expanding broadband could have a huge impact on education in the age of Covid-19, as well as making telemedicine more available, in addition to helping small businesses. “Expanding access throughout the state is a win, win, win,” she says.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Education, Education Funding, Elections, Environmental Issues, Government, Health Care, Health Care Delivery, Health Care Policy, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Military, Native American Issues, Pandemic, Political Candidacy, Public Accountability, Public Education, Public Health Policy, Public Service, Renewable Energy, Tax and Investment Policy, Water Policy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2020 Election – Podcast September 7, 2020

Previewing The Presidential Election. Three of the Democratic Perspective contributors analyze the upcoming election. Steve Williamson discusses the possibilities of Arizona turning blue in November. Klaus von Stutterheim discusses the various scenarios of what could happen if the election is close or the outcome is unclear, as well as what could happen if Trump narrowly loses but refuses to leave. And Gary LaMaster discusses the situation in Minnesota which has been targeted as a key swing state by the Trump campaign after losing the state by only 2 percentage points to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Conspiracy Theories, Constitutional Issues, Disinformation, Elections, Government, National Politics, Political Candidacy, Polling, Presidential Elections | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Schaitberger Interview – Podcast August 31, 2020

One Nation Indivisible Against Trump. Democratic Perspective welcomes Sharli Schaitberger, a member of the steering committee for Indivisible Arizona in Phoenix. She recalls that Indivisible was begun by a couple of former congressional staffers who wrote a guide to help counter Trump. It took off after the 2016 election. By early 2017, before Trump was even inaugurated, there were thousands of volunteers for Indivisible nationwide.

Schaitberger notes it was a grassroots organization that grew from the bottom up, saying, “At first it was just friends who gathered in their living rooms. The began by showing up at representative’s town halls and asking questions. The group now numbers more than a million members nationwide and about 400 in Phoenix of which about 40 are very active.

Given the increasing number of lies from Trump, Schaitberger reports that Indivisible has formed a truth brigade. “We use every way possible to put out the truth,” she says. “We’re continuing to send letters and make phone calls. She also says, “We send postcards to voters,” noting that most of the postcards are to get people to sign up to vote.

To learn more about Indivisible and to find a chapter near you, visit You can also check out the new book, We Are Indivisible: A Blueprint For Democracy After Trump.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community Activism, Democratic Governance, Elections, Interviews, Local Politics, National Politics, Political Clubs, Political Lies, Presidential Elections, Public Accountability, Resistance | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Whitmer Interview – Podcast August 24, 2020

Future Of The Verde River. There’s a saying in the American West that whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting. The issue is especially acute in the Arizona desert. To discuss the current and long-term availability of our most important resource, Democratic Perspective welcomes Tom Whitmer who, as Cottonwood Utilities Director, manages the city’s Water Resources division.

Whitmer is a fourth-generation Arizonan who has worked in the water industry for more than 30 years for companies such as the Salt River Project, Santa Cruz Valley Water District, Imperial Irrigation District, International Environmental Solutions, Troy Biosciences, and the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). In his current position, he is responsible for ensuring the sustainability of water supplies for the City of Cottonwood while preserving baseflow in the Verde River. Given that Arizona is facing new development, a mega drought, and climate change, he offers a surprisingly optimistic and positive outlook.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Climate Change, Development, Environment, Environmental Issues, Global Warming, Interviews, Local Politics, Regulatory Agencies, Sustainable Development, Water Policy | Tagged , | Comments Off on Whitmer Interview – Podcast August 24, 2020

Baker Interview – Podcast August 17, 2020

Assessing The Economic Impact Of The Pandemic. Democratic Perspective welcomes Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C. to discuss the short-term and long-term effects of the pandemic. He begins by noting that we’re really not out of the woods yet. Baker says that the current infection rate poses many problems for the immediate future saying, “It would be great to open the schools, but we’re really not prepared to do that, at least in many parts of the country because we did not take the steps necessary.”

Nevertheless, Baker is optimistic for the long-term. “I think we’re seeing some very, very interesting… stories play out here. We’re going to see permanent changes in behavior. A lot more people are not going to be commuting into offices so employers are not going to need as much office space. All of those people tasked with taking care of those offices won’t be needed. Restaurants, gyms – things that people do before and after work…purchases of business clothes. There’ll be a lot less demand in a wide range of areas. But we should really think of this as an increase in productivity. That’s a good thing. It frees up resources for a lot of other things. The list of needs is a long one.”

For example, Baker states that the capital can be used to respond to climate change. “There’s a whole range of things we need to do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he says. “We also need more childcare. That’s become very clear in the pandemic. Parents who want to work need a place for their kids during the day.”

Posted in Business, Business Cultural Change, Climate Change, Cultural Change, Domestic Policy, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus, Environmental Issues, Financial Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Food Insecurity, Foreclosures, Global Warming, Government, Health Care Delivery, Infrastructure Investment, Innovation, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Monetary Policy, National Politics, Pandemic, Public Education, Public Lands, Public Policy, Technology, Unemployment | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Baker Interview – Podcast August 17, 2020

DiSanto Interview – Podcast August 10, 2020

Defeating America’s Goofiest Congressman. Democratic Perspective welcomes Delina DiSanto, Democratic candidate running to unseat incumbent congressman Paul Gosar. For those unfamiliar with Gosar, he’s a Trump apologist who uses divisive rhetoric and subscribes to a variety of wild conspiracy theories. For example, he boycotted the Pope’s speech to a joint session of Congress because he was afraid the pontiff was going to talk about climate change.

DiSanto says, “He definitely has a lot of name recognition. I just need to prove to people that he is not working for the people in CD4. Some people haven’t received their stimulus checks or unemployment. So, he’s not listening to them. Some victims of Covid-19 have bills of $500,000 for hospitalization. How can anyone ever pay those bills?”

Asked how she plans to unseat Gosar, DiSanto replies, “I want to listen to what people have to say and what they’re concerned about. In this district, it mainly is healthcare, Social Security, jobs, education, and schools falling apart.” She says she’ll also focus on Native American issues and veterans issues, such as mental health, suicide, PTSD, and cuts to the Veterans Administration.

Posted in Arizona Economy, Arizona Politics, Conspiracy Theories, De-regulation, Domestic Policy, Economic Policy, Education, Energy Policy, Environmental Issues, Federal Lands, Financial Crisis, Food Insecurity, Government, Health Care, Health Care Delivery, Health Care Policy, Health Insurance, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Medicare, National Politics, Native American Issues, Pandemic, Political Candidacy, Public Accountability, Public Lands | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on DiSanto Interview – Podcast August 10, 2020

Von Stutterheim Interview – Podcast August 3, 2020

An Immigrant’s Story. In this age of fear and disdain for immigrants, Democratic Perspective turns to our own Klaus von Stutterheim to illustrate just one example of the many contributions made by immigrants. It’s a story of someone who, as a native German, has gone from feeling the shame of growing up in the nation responsible for the Holocaust to experiencing the pride of emigrating to the US and living the American Dream.

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Cardona and Prigmore Interview – July 27, 2020

Parental Involvement In Public Education. Democratic Perspective welcomes Thomasene Cardona and Monique Prigmore who are campaigning for seats on the Camp Verde School Board in Camp Verde, Arizona. Cardona currently serves as a Tribal Council member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Prigmore is also a member of the Tribal Council. The two intend to address broad educational issues such as increased parental involvement, availability of high-speed Internet, and communication with students and parents. In particular, they are focused on addressing the achievement gap and the dropout rate, especially within the tribal community.

You can learn more by participating in an educational forum at 6:30 p.m., August 5, 2020. It will be available on Zoom. It will also be livestreamed on Facebook. The links are available on Cardona’s Facebook page.

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Ploog, Kinsella & Williamson Interviews – Podcast July 20, 2020

Meet The Candidates For Sedona City Council. After a brief discussion of a few Arizona statewide races, the co-hosts welcome three candidates who will be on the ballot for the August 4th primary: Holli Ploog, Kathy Kinsella, and Jessica Williamson.

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