May 6, 2018

Howdy, Friends O’Farley…

Wow. 

That was what democracy looks like. 

And there’s a whole lot of educators all over the state who are utterly woke because of the events of the past week. 

Turns out this RedForEd movement wasn’t just about finally reinvesting in our public schools after years of devastating cuts, it was about changing Arizona political engagement forever. 

Teachers showed up and learned a whole heckuva lot about how our government works or doesn’t work. And as they head home from the Capitol and share that knowledge with their classrooms and communities all over our state, we’re going to see a new flowering of civic activity everywhere, starting at the ballot box in August and November, as I told Arizona Republic columnist Linda Valdez.

We officially ended the session Sine Die just after midnight on Friday, so this 300th Farley Report will be the last weekly version until I write it as Governor next January. They’ll be monthly until then. Some thoughts on the last week of session follow.

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But first, the Pledge Break.

—> According to our polling, we are now in a statistical tie to beat Doug Ducey in November. This is the election we win.

I need three things right now:

1) Please contribute what you can. You already have seen Ducey’s dark-money ads all over TV. They will continue nonstop. We need to have the funds to get our message out, and already have more than $1,000,000 raised (more than another other statewide candidate except Ducey), but we need more to compete.

2) Please sign my nominating petition to help me qualify for the ballot in November 2018.  Please tell your friends and ask them to sign my petition. The first step to bringing change to Arizona is to put me on the ballot! 

3) Tell ten friends there is hope for Arizona — there’s a leader named Steve Farley who can govern from Day One and knows how to win. And ask them to tell ten friends. This is our best chance in years to create positive change in Arizona, but we all need to pitch in.

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This is the Senate Lobby Third Floor Crew around 4am Thursday morning after 8 hours of debate on the budget bills. These educators are my heroes and my inspiration. 

As the son of two public school teachers and the father of two Arizona public school students, I have railed against cuts to public education for my entire twelve years in the Arizona Legislature, usually in the middle of the night to an empty gallery. That’s the way it’s been here. But not this year. 

Here’s what I posted on Facebook at 5:15am Thursday:

“I am utterly inspired by the focused presence of the educators in the gallery and the first floor and third floor lobbies and their determination to change our government from here on in. They are not going away, and there is much more to do, so I am grateful for that.

Just three weeks ago, Governor Ducey said a 1% raise was the best he could do. The budget was a done deal. Then there was a huge walk-in across the state involving tens of thousands of educators. The next day, the governor announced he was acceding to their demands for a 20% teacher raise.

“But the plan was structurally unsound. And it stole funds from things like developmentally disabled programs, universities, and the arts. Then there was a walkout with more than 50,000 educators marching from Chase Field to the Capitol. Now we have a budget that is structurally balanced and provides $405,719,100 in actual new funding for K-12 education in Fiscal Year 2019 alone, over and above inflation and enrollment growth. And it no longer robs Peter to pay Paul.

It does not meet all demands at once. It does not solve all problems at once. But I have never seen that level of new money to our public schools in the twelve years in which I have served in the legislature.

“I fought on previous budget nights against cut after cut, privatization after privatization, tax credit after tax credit, year after year. And then the Red For Ed movement arrived.

“And they got this done. In their honor, I proudly voted yes on the K-12 budget bill. And I will be working side by side with educators and all Arizonans to elect new leaders in November who are committed to fully funding public education, and carrying out the full plan next year.

“With your help. I am deeply grateful. Stay strong.”

Here’s Arizona Daily Star cartoonist Fitz’s take in his weekly column from the Arroyo Cafe, entitled “Rosa’s return from teachers’ strike inspired, energized.” Turns out that fifth-grade teacher and part-time waitress Rosa was watching me from the gallery on budget night too. 

This is a video taken by teacher Nick Halonen from the Senate gallery of my 4:45am floor speech on how galvanized educators in the RedForEd movement — and their courageous act of walking out FOR their students and our future — created this groundbreaking moment. 

These brave educators forced a previously unwilling governor and legislative majority to agree to invest more than $405 million in new money (over and above inflation and enrollment growth) to our K-12 public schools in the next fiscal year. 

At the same time we stopped a new $200 million annual corporate sales tax loophole on Digital Goods, halted an attack on the Independent Redistricting Commission, ended an effort to repeal and replace the private school voucher bill and take away our vote on Prop 305 in November, and killed a new expansion of private school vouchers. 

We are finally starting to undo the damage wrought by more than a decade of cut after cut by this governor, the previous governor and legislative majority. 

We all owe so many thanks to all of the educators who attended every legislative session and meeting at all hours for a week and watched with rapt attention the nearly 10-hour final budget floor debate — from the Senate gallery, on television from the first and third floor lobbies, and on the Internet in the plaza and at home. Your courage and tenacity and determination utterly inspire me. 

We did this. Together. 

Yes, there is much more to do. And the only way we assure continued progress is to elect in November a governor and legislators who truly understand the importance of public education and act accordingly. 

Which we will do. Together.

This past week, we proved we can do anything. Tens of thousands of educators took part in the largest civics lesson in Arizona history, and they will share that knowledge with their classrooms and communities throughout the state as they return home. This shared knowledge is creating a renewal of civic activism that will transform our state for the better for decades to come.

I would be honored to help you by leading this state over the next four years. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

—> Missing a couple of sleep cycles can’t slow the Farley campaign down.

In between frenzied legislative days, we continue to speak to gatherings of folks ready for change all over Arizona. This past week I met with folks in Sun City Grand, Phoenix, Arcadia, Tucson, Chandler, Oro Valley, and Rancho Vistoso. This is an unstoppable movement to create true change, and I feel the energy building everywhere I go.

Wherever you live, you, too, can join our campaign so we can finally get the leadership we deserve right here in the state we love.

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Senator. 

Steve

Steve Farley

Senator, District 9, Tucson

If you like my representation and want to keep me in office, CONTRIBUTE TODAY! 

Paid for by Farley for Governor 

May 6, 2018