AZ Democratic Unity Caucus

From left, Rep. Jennifer Longdon, Rep. Diego Espinoza, and Sen. Andrea Dalessandro.

(The Center Square) – With nearly eight weeks until the election, Arizona House Democrats are assuming enough victories to take control of their chamber, volunteering for majority leadership positions, and announcing their agenda. 

In a series of tweets Wednesday, three state House lawmakers put their names in the hat for speaker, majority leader, and majority whip, calling themselves the "Democratic Unity Caucus." 

State Rep. Diego Espinoza, D-Tolleson, volunteered for Speaker of the House and Rep. Jennifer Longdon, D-Phoenix, wants to be Majority Leader. Sen. Andrea Dalessandro, D-Sahuarita, is assuming victory in her bid for LD 2 and is volunteering to be House Majority Whip. 

None of the three lawmakers are currently in a position of leadership within their caucus. Requests for comment from House Democrats and Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez were not returned. 

Republicans, who currently control the state House and Senate, did not respond to requests for comment on the announcements vying for their jobs. 

In a 12-page statement, the three lawmakers outline their plan. 

"We cannot wait until after Election Day to prepare for the step-change needed in our approach and strategy," they said in a mission statement. "We must be ready to hit the ground running and drive Arizona's policy agenda when the legislative session begins in January."

They propose a series of task forces based on core Democratic campaign issues; education, health care access, the economy, racial justice, and others. 

The three commented on the state's economy, saying they'll advance an economy that "requires that corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share for the collective good," possibly hinting at higher tax rates in Arizona's progressive income tax structure.

They say they'll create an Educational Equity Task Force, which will consist of "stakeholders from district and charter schools, employers, teachers, administrators, apprentice programs, and other community leaders who will advise the legislature on real ways to eliminate inequities in our current education system."

Private schools are notably absent from that description. 

They promise to create an Indigenous Affairs Standing Committee in the House, which they say will work with the state's Indigenous Peoples Caucus and tribal leaders. 

They say they'll work on other hot-button topics like gun control, labor laws, and reproductive rights but don't give any details about their plans.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.