Tucson’s election in November could make history for a few reasons. Voters could elect the city’s first female mayor or the first Green party and independent candidates. They could also decide to establish Arizona’s first sanctuary city with Proposition 205. The latter has its share of vocal supporters and critics. In Pima County, the Democratic and Republican parties positioned themselves on opposite sides of the issue. Christopher Conover discussed those differences with party chairs Alison Jones and David Eppihimer.
“There’s a three-legged stool of disaster coming to Tucson if this was to pass. There's a public relations disaster, there’s a public safety disaster, and there’s an economic disaster,” Eppihimer said. He called the Pima County Democrats “out of step” for passing a resolution in support of the initiative despite opposition from Democrats running for mayor and police chief Chris Magnus.
Jones defended the initiative and argued a voter initiative to create a sanctuary city wouldn’t be as vulnerable to lost revenue from the state and federal government as critics claim.
“As far as federal funds go, this has been decided in a number of courts and it’s been found that it is not legal to withhold federal funds based on a sanctuary status,” Jones said. “Do we really want our local police to be able to stop people based on the language they’re speaking, the way they dress, or whether they have window tinting? This is a civil rights issue for everyone.”
The conversation also covered Tucson’s mayoral race and the chairs’ views on the candidates that qualified for the ballot.