One of the differences between the American and Australian system is that party's have primaries which are run by the state. Apparently it was an innovation at the state level in the early 1900s to wrest the choice of candidate from the parties themselves and has become popular enough to expand to all states.
Whether you take part in a primary is determined by the states' laws and how you register when you vote. If you register as a Democrat you can vote in Democratic primaries, Republicans have the same limitation. Some states have an open primary where anyone can vote in any party primary. Arizona is mixed between an open and a closed primary as Independents can vote in both the Democratic and Republican primaries. This is known as a semi-closed primary.
I registered Democratic since I was disgusted with the Republican Party, but that was a mistake I am kicking myself for now. I should have registered Independent and participated in both Democratic and Republican primaries in an effort to influence there being a choice of candidates when the actual elections come along.
Another interesting quirk is that you can 'write in' candidates. There is a listing of acceptable write in candidates on the Maricopa County website; candidates
. The positions up for election in the primary are: US Senator, AZ Senator, AZ Congress, AZ Corporation Commissioner, County Board of Supervisors, County Assessor, County Attorney and County Recorder.
America has a lot of democracy and there are positions there that should not be elected, instead they should be chosen by the executive at the appropriate level. Not sure how qualified I am to choose candidates for those positions. This is probably where party signaling comes into effect and people vote along party lines. The town I lived in in Virginia though banned party affiliations and everyone had to be an independent. It was actually hard to work out people's motivations and politics without party signaling.
US Senator for Arizona
At the US Senate level Richard Carmona is running unopposed. The Senate in Arizona has been dominated by elderly John McCain and Jon Kyl who are both Republican. Kyl is retiring so the Democrats probably think they have a chance. The two candidates on the Republican side, Jeff Flake and Wil Cardon, are battling it out in the primary though neither are open tea party or establishment candidates. It is thought that Flake will face Carmona in the final election and currently it is polling as a tie between the two.
Arizona Congressional District 9
For the US Congress the three primary candidates are David Shapira, Krysten Sinema and Andrei Cherny. This is for the 9th District that recently got new boundaries as part of the once every ten years redistricting. The District includes South Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Ahwatukee and eastern Phoenix downtown.
Shapira and Sinema are both State Senators with Shapira being the current minority leader. Cherny's claim to fame was that he was a former Clinton staffer and the flyers we have got in the mail include pictures of Bill Clinton all over them. He also has a slogan of saving the middle class. Sinema's flyers concentrate on women's issues and protecting women from intrusive legislation amongst things.
Shapira's policy statements on sustainability, jobs and education seem reasonable. There is nothing really new there and for the most part his pages on health and veterans are conservative, attempting to protect what is there from Republicans deconstructing them. Shapira does not mention immigration or public transportation.
Sinema's policy statements seem a little more populist, such as over coming partisanship, which is a noble goal but seems futile with the current Republican Party as Obama has found out. On immigration Sinema is reasonable with a mix of the dream act and better visas. Like Shapira she is conservative on health care and seniors, protecting what is there now.
Cherny has even less policy statements than Shapira and Sinema and is the most populist of the three. Ironically the push for a public option and better financial regulation ring a bell with the disgruntled voter - including myself. Probably not going to happen though, so I think Shapira gets my pen mark.
Arizona State Senate District 24
The two candidates in the Arizona state senate are Ken Cheuvront and Katie Hobbs. Cheuvront owns a well named restaurant on Central Ave named after himself. He has also been a state senator since 2002 and a state legislator prior to that and had the distinction of being the first openly gay man to be elected to the legislature.
There are five Arizona legislators that are openly gay including Krysten Sinema. You would think that is surprising in a heavily red state like Arizona, however, like nearly everywhere, the urban areas trend heavily blue while the suburbs and rural areas trend red. Phoenix downtown, Tempe and Tucson tend to be heavily blue.
Katie Hobbs is currently in the Arizona House of Representatives and now running for senate. Her policy statements are on schools, jobs and equal opportunity. This question and answer
seems reasonable though Cheuvront's are
Hobbs by a millimeter.
State Representative District 24
This has Jean Cheuvront-McDermott, Tom Nerini, Lela Alston and Chad Campbell competing in the primary. McDermott is Cheuvront's mother. Like her son she has no website, which is odd. Nerini's website mentions education, economy and health care. Chad Campbell appears to the current sitting member and has some pretty strong policy statements that reflect the poor legislation that has been coming out of the state assembly. Lela Alston is a previous state senator and appears to be running due to;
"I want to be your state representative because I am appalled at what the Republicans in power are doing to our state. The devastating impact that bills coming out of this legislature have on families, the disabled, seniors, jobs, education and healthcare is unconscionable and it needs to stop."
I am going to go with Campbell, since his motivation is along the same lines as Alston's and he fleshes them out in a little more detail.
The candidates fro this primary are Paul Newman - the current commissioner, Marcia Busching and Sandra Kennedy. It appears that the corporate commissioner is elected to run the Arizona Corporation Commission executive office. Their website states:
In most states, the Commission is known as the Public Service Commission or the Public Utility Commission. Our Commission, however, has responsibilities that go beyond traditional public utilities regulation. These additional roles include facilitating the incorporation of businesses and organizations, securities regulation and railroad/pipeline safety.
By virtue of the Arizona Constitution, the Commissioners function in an Executive capacity, they adopt rules and regulations thereby functioning in a Legislative capacity, and they also act in a Judicial capacity sitting as a tribunal and making decisions in contested matters.
Paul Newman's issues include solar, climate change and renewable energy. Marcia Busching's website stays within the normal boundaries of issues; seniors, rates, business red tape. Sandra Kennedy has an interesting website that goes into length about compressed air storage. Given Newman's awareness of climate change, I will give him the nod.
The rest of the positions either have one candidate or no candidates. I am not about to do any write in candidates so I am done with my democratic duty until the next primary or election. One of the other cool things about American democracy is the early ballot. The electoral body mails a ballot out to you. Which you fill out and research in your own time. You then put it in your mailbox with the pre-paid envelope the electoral body includes; the postie picks it up, and you are done with voting. No need to go to a booth on election day. It is ridiculously convenient.
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.