Things That Matter

Regina Romero Won The Democratic Primary In Tucson And Now Has The Chance To Be The City’s First Latina Mayor

Back in 1875, when Arizona was still a territory and not yet a part of the United States, a Mexican businessman made history there. Estevan Ochoa, from Chihuahua, Mexico, became Tucson’s first and only Latino mayor. Now 144 years later, Arizona is poised to make history once again. 

Regina Romero won the Democratic primary election, which means she could possibly become the first Latina mayor of Tucson. 

Credit: @TucsonRomero / Twitter

In a stunning landslide election, Romero beat two white Democratic politicians vying to become mayor of Tucson with 49.5 percent of the votes, NBC News reported.

“Words cannot describe how humbled I am to be the Democratic nominee for Mayor of our beautiful City,” Romero said on Instagram. “Thank you to both Randi Dorman and Steve Farley for your dedication and passion to bringing meaningful change to our community. I am truly grateful for your support and I look forward to working with each of you on how we can continue to progress as a City.” 

Steve Farley, her most significant threat in the Democratic primary, said that despite his loss, the people of Tucson must rally behind Romero. What counts is that a Democrat wins against independent Ed Ackerley in the mayoral election on November 5

“While I’m disappointed in the result, I stand behind the will of the people and support Romero to be our next mayor,” Farley said, according to a local news affiliate. “We should all support Romero, because our new mayor will need ideas and participation from all Tucsonans. This is our city, all of us together.”

The 44-year-old wife and mother of two children, has already made history as first Latina elected to the city council.

Credit: tucsonromero / Instagram

As the youngest in a family of six kids, she was the first person to vote in her family. Her website states that she is the daughter of migrant farmworkers and a graduate of the University of Arizona. 

“I’m running to be the Mayor of Tucson because I believe we all deserve a safe, clean, just, and sustainable city that provides economic opportunity to all working families,” her bio states. “My 11-year track record as a Council Member and a lifetime of advocacy for our community make me the most prepared candidate to lead our City forward.”

Where does she stand on the issues? She’s as Democratic as they come and has done a lot for Tucson already.  

Credit: tucsonromero / Instagram

Romero states that she is “pro-child, pro-environment, pro-education, and pro-choice” and made huge strides as a councilwoman. During her tenure, Romero fought for working-class family and was able to obtain hundreds of high-wage, long-term jobs in the city of Tucson by introducing the city’s 5-year economic recovery plan which helped after the recession. She’s also worked to develop Tucson’s response to climate change an advocated for the permanent protection of open spaces and environmentally sensitive areas, and spearheaded an effort to declare Tucson an “Immigrant Welcome City.”

Romero also established a paid Cesar Chavez holiday to recognize the Labor Movement’s contributions.

Credit: @TucsonRomero / Twitter

As the daughter of migrant workers — her family is originally from Mexico — establishing a paid holiday on Cesar Chavez meant even more. 

Romero has held the responsibility to do as much as she could for her family, and now she’s doing the same for other families. 

“We would talk politics at the dinner table,” Romero said in a 2007 interview. “When I was 17 or 18, my parents said, ‘You have to register to vote because you represent the entire family.'”

Romero has a strong chance of becoming mayor in a couple of months because Tuscon typically votes Democrat, despite Arizona siding more on the Republican side.

 Credit: tucsonromero / Instagram

In the past half-century, the majority of mayors have been Democrat. This mayoral election Romero is going up against an Independent so the chances for that opponent don’t look too good. Now, when it comes to governors, Arizona is more of a red state and currently have a Republican running the show (Doug Ducey). So, it’s really up to the voters and whether they like how President Donald Trump and Ducey are running things. According to local poll numbers, Arizona isn’t feeling Trump all that much. That narrows the scale more on Romero’s side. So we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in Tucson on Nov. 5, but we’re rooting for you, Regina!

READ: 2020 Democratic Candidates Know Latinos Could Tip The Election So They’ve Started Pulling Out All The Stops

Ecuador Was In Chaos After Massive Protests But The Government Has Reached A Deal With These Indigenous Activists

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Ecuador Was In Chaos After Massive Protests But The Government Has Reached A Deal With These Indigenous Activists

@democracynow / Twitter

Ecuador’s government announced a round of talks with leaders of the Indigenous groups who have been mobilizing against the government in a move to end the violence and chaos that has racked the nation for more than a week.

President Moreno announced he would withdraw the country from a deal reached with the IMF that many said would cause the greatest harms to the country’s most vulnerable populations.

In a major address, President Lenin Moreno announced he had struck a deal with indigenous leaders to cancel a disputed austerity package.

The news comes after nearly two weeks of protests that have paralyzed the economy and left seven dead.

Under the new agreement, President Moreno will withdraw the International Monetary Fund-backed package, known as Decree 883, that included a sharp rise in fuel costs. Indigenous leaders, in turn, will call on their followers to end protests and street blockades.

“Comrades, this deal is a compromise on both sides,” Moreno said. “The indigenous mobilization will end and Decree 883 will be lifted.”

The two sides will work together to develop a package of measures to cut government spending, increase revenue and reduce Ecuador’s growing budget deficits and public debt.

Ecuador’s Indigenous groups celebrated the announcement as a major victory.

“I’m so happy I don’t know what to say. I don’t have words, I’m so emotional. At least God touched the president’s heart,” said protester Rosa Matango in an interview with The Guardian. “I am happy as a mother, happy for our future. We indigenous people fought and lost so many brothers, but we’ll keep going forward.”

Caravans of cars roamed the streets early on Monday honking in celebration, passengers shouting, banging pots and waving Ecuadorian flags.

“The moment of peace, of agreement, has come for Ecuador,” said Arnaud Peral, the United Nations’ resident coordinator in Ecuador and one of the mediators of the nationally televised talks. “This deal is an extraordinary step.”

Wearing the feathered headdress and face paint of the Achuar people of the Amazon rainforest, the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nations, Jaime Vargas, thanked President Moreno and demanded improved long-term conditions for Indigenous Ecuadorians.

“We want peace for our brothers and sisters in this country,” Vargas said. “We don’t want more repression.”

The protests started when the President affirmed his support for an IMF-backed agreement, known as Decree 883.

The move sparked nationwide protests as prices rose overnight by about a 25% for gas and double for diesel. A state of emergency was imposed on Thursday. Truck and taxi drivers forced a partial shutdown of Quito’s airport and roadblocks have paralyzed major roads across the country.

Images from Quito showed protesters hurling gas bombs and stones, ransacking and vandalizing public buildings as well as clashing with the police in running battles late into the night.

Some protests became so violent that the government was actually forced to flee the capital of Quito for the coastal city of Guayaquil.

All of this was in response to Decree 883 which would have ended fuel subsidies that many of the country’s poorest citizens have come to rely on.

Other indigenous demands included higher taxes on the wealthy and the firing of the interior and defence ministers over their handling of the protests.

In a shift from the heated language of the last 10 days of protests, each side at the negotiations praised the other’s willingness to talk as they outlined their positions in the first hour before a short break.

“From our heart, we declare that we, the peoples and nations, have risen up in search of liberty,” Vargas told The Guardian. “We recognize the bravery of the men and women who rose up.”

This Is How Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Plans To Tackle Poverty In The US

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This Is How Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Plans To Tackle Poverty In The US

Since making her way to Capitol Hill at the start of the year, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the most progressive voices in Congress — and her recently-unveiled policy package to tackle US poverty assures that her vision for the country hasn’t gotten any less bold.

“I am both energized and humbled to introduce legislation today to build upon the most transformative programs of the last century,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.

The first-year lawmaker’s legislative package is called “A Just Society,” and it includes six individual bills.

ocasio2018 / Instagram

First, the Puerto Rican congresswoman aims to update the way the US government currently calculates poverty and determines eligibility for welfare. At the moment, a single person is considered “poor” in the US if they make less than $12,500 a year. If someone makes more than that, then they are unable to benefit from programs like Medicaid, even though they could still be struggling gravely economically.  Through the proposal, called the Recognizing Poverty Act, Ocasio-Cortez would prompt the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to modify the equation so that it takes more details into account, including a person’s geographic cost of living, what portion of their income they spend on health insurance or child care, and spending toward utilities. This act would undoubtedly result in a rise in the number of people who live at or below the federal poverty level and would widen people’s eligibility to welfare programs, like Medicaid, food stamps and family planning services.

According to the U.S. Census, about 40 million Americans live in poverty, a harrowing reality that the congresswoman doesn’t think many people in the country know or understand. “If we can acknowledge how many Americans are actually in poverty I think that we can start to address some of the more systemic issues in our economy,” she told NPR.

Her policy bundle includes proposals that could help the country’s most marginalized communities, including immigrants and people who were formerly incarcerated. For instance, her Mercy in Re-entry Act proposes that individuals who have been convicted of a criminal offense would be ensured access to all federal public benefits. Presently, many states ban people with felony drug convictions from receiving welfare and food stamps.

Even more, formerly incarcerated individuals often struggle to obtain government-issued IDs. 

ocasio2018 / Instagram

Additionally, her so-called Embrace Act would guarantee federal public benefits access to anyone, regardless of their immigration status. Currently, undocumented immigrants, including DACA holders, are not eligible to receive most federal public benefits, including benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), regular Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). They’re also ineligible for health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are prohibited from purchasing unsubsidized health coverage on ACA exchanges. Still, these individuals might be able to take advantage of some benefits that are deemed “necessary to protect life or guarantee safety in dire situations,” such as emergency Medicaid, access to treatment in hospital emergency rooms, or access to healthcare and nutrition programs under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). However, rumors that the Trump administration is considering blocking immigrants using public benefits from getting their green cards is currently halting the most vulnerable in these communities from using those life-saving benefits.

“From the New Deal to the Great Society, we have shown time and again that our nation is capable of implementing big ideas and bold solutions that match the scale of the challenges we face,” Ocasio-Cortez, 29, said in her statement. “We must once again recognize the breadth and consequences of poverty in this country and work together to ensure a path forward to economic freedom for everyone.”

Her wide-ranging proposal also considers tenants and workers.

ocasio2018 / Instagram

The Place to Prosper Act would tackle the housing crisis by introducing a 3 percent national cap on annual rent increases, among other provisions. Meanwhile, the Uplift Our Workers Act would prompt the Department of Labor and the Office of Management and Budget to create a “worker-friendly score” for federal contractors.

Finally, the congressional freshman also proposed a resolution dubbed A Just Society Guarantees the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for All that would request the Senate to ratify the U.N. Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

While critics have called Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal a “radical, extreme-left agenda,” the congresswoman believes it could effectively tackle the US’ poverty crisis and help the people of one of the wealthiest nations in the world to live a life beyond destitution. 

“In a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no person should be too poor to live,” Ocasio-Cortez says in a video introducing her legislation. “That’s what a just society means to me.” 

Ocasio-Cortez’s legislative package is her latest ambitious proposal. Back in February, when the congressional newbie was just one month on the job, she introduced the much-talked-about Green New Deal, a series of proposals backed by leading Democrats to tackle climate change.

Read: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Made A Student Loan Payment During Meeting To Prove A Point About Corruption