Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

AZ Republicans deny extension of unemployment benefits: Hold them accountable!

Last week, Governor Jan Brewer called the Arizona Legislature into special session to make a one-word change in state law which would allow extension of unemployment benefits to the chronically unemployed in Arizona– at no cost to the state.

Legislators argued and grandstanded for two days and, in the end, changed nothing. As the Arizona Daily Star said, Legislators showed “indifference to struggling Arizonans.”

State lawmakers wrapped up their special session Monday and went home without making the one-word change needed to continue funding unemployment for people out of work for at least 79 weeks.

Extending long-term unemployment insurance for another 20 weeks is a no-brainer. It would have extended a safety net to thousands of Arizonans on the brink. It would have continued to inject $3.2 million of federal money into the economy each week. And it should have been easy to do. All lawmakers had to do was change the number “two” to “three” in a formula used to grant the 20-week extension.

Most importantly, it would have been the right and moral thing to do.

These are extraordinary times. The unemployment rate has dropped to 9.3 percent, which is roughly double what it was 10 years ago. While extending unemployment benefits by another 20 weeks would have helped 15,000 people stay afloat, cutting them off will affect an additional 30,000 people who will hit the 79-week mark later this year. So in essence, state lawmakers have ripped away the safety net for 45,000 jobless Arizonans. That’s roughly the size of the crowd at a UA football game. [Emphasis added.]

It’s sad but not surprising that Republicans did this. After all, Arizona right-wing ideologues are just following the lead of right-wing Congressional ideologues like our own Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, who have voted against extending unemployment many times. And, all of them are more interested in handing out corporate welfare and tax breaks for the rich than helping citizens in need.

Lest we forget the names of the people who passed corporate welfare in the wink of an eye but denied a no-cost extension of unemployment benefits, the Arizona Democratic Party has provided the following list of names and the unemployment rates in their districts.

“Rather than help jobless Arizonans, they punished them. Rather than strengthening our economy, they sapped it of another $3 million a week,” said Andrei Cherny, Arizona Democratic Party chairman. “Weakening our economy and middle-class families is not what we deserve from our state legislators. Even Governor Brewer’s top political advisor agrees that voters in 2012 will remember this outrageous action from the out-of-touch Russell Pearce Republicans.”

These lawmakers should be held accountable for their actions. Here is a list of Republican lawmakers who voted not to extend unemployment benefits. We should fire them all.

AZGOP lawmakers and unemployment rates in their regions:

Legislative District 1
Sen. Steve Pierce
Rep. Andy Tobin
Rep. Karen Fann
Unemployment rate in
Prescott MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area): 9.5%

Legislative District 3
Sen. Ron Gould
Rep. Doris Goodale
Unemployment rate in
Lake Havasu-Kingman Mohave County MSA: 10.1%

Legislative District 4
Sen. Scott Bundgaard
Rep. Jack Harper
Rep. Judy Burges
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA 8.1%
Yavapai County: 9.5%
Glendale: 8.3%
Peoria: 5.7%
Yavapai County: 9.5%

Legislative District 5
Sen. Sylvia Allen
Rep. Chester Crandall
Rep. Brenda Barton
Unemployment rate in
Gila County: 10.2%
Graham County: 10.5%
Greenlee County: 9.1%
Holbrook: 8.0%
Pinetop-Lakeside: 8.2%
Show Low: 7.5%
Snowflake: 8.5%
Winslow: 7.1%

Legislative District 6
Sen. Lori Klein
Rep. Amanda Reeve
Rep. Carl Seel
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Phoenix: 9.4%

Legislative District 7
Sen. Nancy Barto
Rep. Heather Carter
Rep. David Burnell Smith
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Phoenix: 9.4%
Scottsdale: 6.0%

Legislative District 8
Sen. Michele Reagan
Rep. Michelle Ugenti
Rep. John Kavanagh
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Scottsdale: 6.0%
Carefree: 2.8%
Cave Creek: 3.7%
Fountain Hills: 4.0%

Legislative District 9
Sen. Rick Murphy
Rep. Rick Gray
Rep. Debbie Lesko
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Glendale: 8.3%
Peoria: 5.7%
Sun City: 9.4%

Legislative District 10
Sen. Linda Gray
Rep. Jim Weiers
Rep. Kimberly Yee
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Phoenix: 9.4%
Glendale: 8.3%

Legislative District 11
Sen. Adam Driggs
Rep. Kate Brophy McGee
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Phoenix: 9.4%
Paradise Valley: 3.7%

Legislative District 12
Sen. John Nelson
Rep. Steve Montenegro
Rep. Jerry Weiers
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
El Mirage: 12.1%
Goodyear: 5.8%
Buckeye: 10.1%
Surprise: 10.0%
Litchfield Park: 7.4%
Glendale: 8.3%

Legislative District 18
Sen. Russell Pearce
Rep. Cecil Ash
Rep. Steve Court
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Mesa: 7.4%
Gilbert: 4.6%

Legislative District 19
Sen. Rich Crandall
Rep. Justin Pierce
Rep. Justin Olson
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Mesa: 7.4%
Gilbert: 4.6%

Legislative District 20
Sen. John McComish
Rep. Bob Robson
Rep. Jeff Dial
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Phoenix: 9.4%
Chandler: 6.2%
Tempe: 7.0%

Legislative District 21
Sen. Steve Yarbrough
Rep. Tom Forese
Rep. J.D. Mesnard
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Mesa: 7.4%
Gilbert: 4.6%
Chandler: 6.2%

Legislative District 22
Sen. Andy Biggs
Rep. Eddie Farnsworth
Rep. Steve Urie
Unemployment rate in
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA: 8.1%
Mesa: 7.4%
Gilbert: 4.6%

Legislative District 23
Sen. Steve Smith
Rep. John Fillmore
Rep. Frank Pratt
Unemployment rate in
Pinal County: 10.6%

Legislative District 24
Sen. Don Shooter
Rep. Russ Jones
Unemployment rate in
Yuma County: 25.3%

Legislative District 25
Sen. Gail Griffin
Rep. David Stevens
Rep. Peggy Judd
Unemployment rate in
Cochise County: 8.2%
Santa Cruz County: 14.7%
Pima County: 7.9%

Legislative District 26
Sen. Al Melvin
Rep. Terri Proud
Rep. Vic Williams
Unemployment rate in
Tucson MSA: 7.9%
Pima County: 7.9%
Oro Valley: 5.6%

Legislative District 30
Sen. Frank Antenori
Rep. Ted Vogt
Rep. David Gowan
Unemployment rate in
Tucson MSA: 7.9%
Cochise County: 8.2%
Pima County: 7.9%
Santa Cruz County: 14.7%

Source: AzDOA Office of Employment and Population Statistics – Special Unemployment Report 2010-2011

5 comments on “AZ Republicans deny extension of unemployment benefits: Hold them accountable!

  1. shane
    June 15, 2011

    great info!  I didn’t know how bad the unemployment rate is in so many places. Time to get out and vote for some new folks who are more sympathetic to the plight of the average Arizonan.

  2. Kim Dreibach
    June 17, 2011

    As someone who has been unemployed in AZ for over a year, I’m heartbroken.  I have had no luck finding a new job, no matter where I’ve tried, being told that my credit rating keeps businesses from hiring me–that I might be a theft risk.  I have never missed a payment, and have never stolen from anyone, but because my balances are high (since I’m not working, I can’t pay them down), that hurt my credit rating.  I ask you, what am I supposed to do?  I can’t pay off the cards without a job, and I can’t get one because of employers’ insurance for internal theft calling me a potential risk because of them.  Unemployment benefits were not enough to keep us going, but it helped.  Now what am I supposed to do? Arizona Republicans apparently keep getting paid even though they are not doing their jobs–they are representing their party and themselves, not their constituents.  Since I have so much time on my hands, and no money, maybe I’ll devote myself to exposing their opulent lifestyles at our expense.  And I will be loud to everyone I meet until voting day.

    • Pamela Powers
      June 17, 2011

      I sincerely feel for you. I was laid off from the UA a few years ago– luckily for me it was before the big crash. It was a devastating experience that resulted in widespread downscaling of my whole life (which in the end was a good thing for me). I think it is an abomination that they are now using those frickin’ credit scores against people. They are such a scam. Good luck.

  3. leftfield
    June 17, 2011

    How is it that Republicans so firmly believe that giving money to people in need makes them “dependent” and “lazy”, but giving money to rich people makes them “competitive” and “thriving”?

  4. John Wilson
    June 17, 2011

    Wake- up , Rep. party , you all cry about Dems. in office…and you will all be crying  more  now….because you dont care about the needy ever….you will lose you jobs soon….

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About

The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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At the #PRSA digital communication workshop today, Joshua Surridge from #canyonranch was a presenter. I was lucky enough to win a week at Canyon Ranch in 2001. It changed my life and helped me escape my family history of diabetes. For many years, I drove around town with Canyon Ranch’s “Don’t Postpone Joy” bumper sticker on my car. #tucson #spa #wellness #healthylifestyle
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