Kyrsten Sinema

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Kyrsten Sinema


Kyrsten Sinema, entered Congress with the 2012 elections, as an (Arizona Democrat, District 9).

Kyrsten Sinema was a far left, first term State Senator from Arizona. She previously served as the Assistant Leader to the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives and represented central Phoenix in the Arizona Legislature District 15. In her third term as a State Rep., she was the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee and the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.[1]

Background

Sinema was born in Tucson, Arizona, in 1976 and was raised in the Dobson Ranch area. As a child, Sinema's parents divorced; when her stepfather lost his job, the family lived for two years in an abandoned gas station with no running water or electricity.

Sinema was raised in a conservative Mormon family.

At 16, Sinema graduated as her high school’s valedictorian and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from Brigham Young University, followed by a master’s in social work, a law degree and a doctorate in justice studies from Arizona State University.[2]

While advocating for "marginalized and oppressed communities in the state", she earned her master’s degree in Social Work and later went on to graduate cum laude with her juris doctorate from Arizona State University. In addition, she was hired as an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work at ASU at the age of 26 to teach master’s level courses in fundraising and political and social policy. Kyrsten Sinema was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004, after nearly a decade of professional practice as a social worker and social justice advocate.[3]

Sinema was a social worker from 1995 to 2002; she practiced in the Washington Elementary School District before becoming a criminal defense lawyer in 2005. Sinema has also been an adjunct instructor in the Arizona State University School of Social Work since 2003.[4]

Education

Kyrsten Sinema holds both a law degree and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at ASU. She is an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work at ASU and practices law when not in session.[5]

Service

Sinema serves on numerous community and national boards, including as Board President of Community Outreach and Advocacy for Refugees, the YWCA of Maricopa County, the Center for Progressive Leadership, and the Young Elected Officials’ Network. She is the recipient of awards for her political leadership, including the NAACP Civil Rights Award, AZ Hispanic Community Forum Friend of the Year, Planned Parenthood Legislative CHOICE Award, Sierra Club’s Most Valuable Player, and the AZ Public Health Association Legislator of the Year.[6]

In 2010 Kyrsten Sinema was serving her second term in the House, teaching at Arizona State University, practicing criminal defense law, consulting with states on LGBTQ legislation and initiatives. She also serves on a number of national and local boards, including as a board member of the Progressive Democrats of America (as the only state legislator on the board), a member of the Steering Committee of HRC Arizona, as Board President of Community Outreach and Advocacy for Refugees, board member of the Arizona Death Penalty Forum, board member of Girls for a Change, and others.[7]

"Peace" activism

Sinema has rallied against America’s war on terrorism and, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, led demonstrations against the military’s hunt for Osama bin Laden.

In 2003, she recalled “singing and spiraling” in a “pagan” dance pit during an anti-war protest rally.[8]

Anti-Israel activism

Kyrsten Sinema's anti-Israel activism began in the early 2000s when she organized for the Arizona Alliance for Peace and Justice, a group whose members have denounced Israel’s “disproportionate” use of “violence and oppression.”

The group also decried U.S. military aid to Israel as well as the expansion of Israeli settlements “into Palestinian lands.”

Sinema later urged supporters of the AAPJ to deluge the phone lines of a radio show hosted by “an unapologetic unconditional supporter of Israeli policy.”

To this day, AAPJ continues to take a hardline stance against Israel, aligning itself with the far left Occupy AIPAC movement and sponsoring various speeches “against the Israeli occupation.”

Another of Sinema’s creations is Local to Global Justice, a grassroots advocacy group that has positioned itself as one of Arizona’s leading critics of the Jewish state.

In February 2004, the group brought the anti-Israel bus tour Wheels of Justice to Tempe—a junket that the Anti-Defamation League described as “distinctly anti-Israel.” The AAPJ cosponsored the event.

Like the AAPJ, Local to Global Justice has continued to sponsor events singling out Israel for undue criticism. Sinema’s headshot remains displayed on the group’s website.

The organization has advocated in favor of the Palestinian “right of return.”

Sinema formerly served as a spokesman for Women in Black, an anti-war group that was founded in part to support Palestinians during the Intifada.

Sinema became a Democratic Arizona legislator in 2005 following a stint, in the early 2000s, as the spokesperson for Ralph Nader’s Green Party USA, which has advocated ending U.S. aid to Israel.

As a lawmaker in the State House, Sinema continued to fraternize with Israel’s fiercest opponents, including the anti-war group CODEPINK, which has promoted conspiracy theories claiming that the so-called “Israel lobby” exerts ultimate control over U.S. foreign policy.

In 2006, Sinema penned a laudatory missive to the Israel critic Marwan Ahmad, a native Palestinian who was booted from a Phoenix political committee for “promoting messages of intolerance against Israel [and] the Jewish community.”

Though Sinema later condemned Ahmad after local Jewish newspapers applied pressure, she initially praised him for “13 years of service to the mosaic ethnic communities here in the Valley of the Sun.”

Since that incident, Sinema has continued to align herself with Ahmad, sending him videotaped messages of support and allowing her image to be featured on his website.[9]

Communist Party USA connection

zoomed in selection of Communist Party USA paper People's Weekly World May 4, 2002 May Day and Cinco de Mayo greetings (click here for the full page)

Kyrsten Sinema was a signatory to an advertisement "May Day and Cinco de Mayo greetings" placed in the Communist Party USA paper People's Weekly World May 4, 2002. Such ads were traditionally placed in the Communist Party paper every May Day, sponsored by local party clubs, members or supporters.

Arizona's progressive community extends May Day and Cinco de Mayo greetings to all our friends across the country. We commit ourselves to resist the Bush Administration's drive for ever increasing military spending and a neverending state of war. We must redouble our efforts to build a people's coalition that will drive the ultra right out of Congress next November.

Co-signing the advertisement with Sinema were Communist Party USA members Joe Bernick, Jack Blawis, Lem Harris, Lorenzo Torrez, Anita Torrez, Carolyn Trowbridge, Steve Valencia, the Tucson and East Valley Clubs of the Communist Party USA and party fronts the Arizona Peace Council and the Salt of the Earth Labor College.

Scan-410x750.jpg

This support for the communist cause was not not a “one off’ or an aberration. In 2003 Sinema again put her name to the Arizona Communist Party’s May Day greetings page.

Arizona Together

Shortly after her election in 2004, Kyrsten Sinema and former State Representative Steve May formed Arizona Together, the statewide coalition to defeat Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban. During the course of the two years leading up to the 2006 election, Sinema led the campaign’s effort to raise nearly $3 million, research, craft, and deliver a winning message, and build a broad-based, statewide coalition of community leaders, organizations, and businesses. [10]

Arizona made history Nov. 7 2006, when its voters became the first in the nation to reject a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Wrote Arizona Communist Party USA leader and Arizona Together activist Joe Bernick;[11]

Why Arizona? How come voters in more liberal states have voted for similar hateful laws while conservative Arizona voted no?
If you were to believe the pundits in the corporate-owned press, our rejection of Prop. 107 was due to the western libertarian traditions, the spirit of Barry Goldwater — you know them, those right-wing Republicans who are against government interference in our personal business and our bedroom...

But a quick check of election returns would have demonstrated to these so-called pundits that Prop. 107 was defeated in working-class and liberal university precincts while passing in Goldwater Republican precincts. In suburban Tucson precincts, the vote for 107 corresponded closely with the vote for the ultra-right, anti-immigrant GOP congressional candidate Randy Graf.
So how did we do it? The answer is: educating, organizing and mobilizing.

As soon as proponents started circulating petitions to put 107 on the ballot, opponents brought out their own clipboards, signing up thousands of volunteers. Arizona Together emerged as the campaign committee, chaired by progressive state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
If passed, Prop. 107 proposed to outlaw same-sex marriage as well as nullify domestic partnership laws and registries which covered a majority of Arizona municipal and county workers. Since same-sex marriages are already not legal in Arizona, Arizona Together organizers realized that this was a stealth campaign to play on peoples’ prejudices and turn out Republican voters, and before anybody noticed thousands of unmarried couples would lose their health and other benefits.
Arizona Together called their bluff. It concentrated its educational campaign on the harm 107 would unleash on tens of thousands of working families.

The campaign enlisted the support of Mayors Phil Gordon of Phoenix and Bob Walkup of Tucson. These are Arizona’s two biggest cities, both of which have domestic partnership provisions for their employees. The state AFL-CIO joined the campaign with especially strong support from public employee unions. Tireless educational work eventually won the editorial support of all major Arizona newspapers.

Most important was the grassroots work. More than 18,000 volunteers spent countless hours on education and outreach. Volunteers mailed out over 1 million pieces of literature, more than 100,000 pieces were distributed door to door and tens of thousands of phone calls were made to voters. Money left over was used for three weeks of TV educational ads.

Congressman Raul Grijalva appeared on radio ads calling Prop. 107 an attack on working families. The Grijalva campaign worked closely with Arizona Together, using its literature in their extensive door-to-door canvassing. Also collaborating was the campaign of Gabrielle Gifford, who defeated Graf for an open congressional seat. I didn’t see any of those Goldwater Republicans handing out “No on 107” literature.
Arizona Together lived up to its name. It was able to defeat 107 because its educational campaign showed working-class Arizonans that this was an attack on working people. Almost every working person knows — or is him- or herself one-half of — an unmarried couple, often with children. They are our friends, co-workers, relatives, and they are us. When working people learned that 107 was an attack on all working people, they responded with a resounding “no.”

"Progressive Caucus"

Circa 2008, four members of the Arizona state legislature joined together to form a "Progressive Caucus" for the House of Representatives of the Arizona State Legislature.

They were;[12]

  • Dr. Ted Downing, Tucson, State Representative, Legislative District 28
  • Ben Miranda, Phoenix, State Representative, Legislative District 16
  • Phil Lopes, Tucson, State Representative, Legislative District 27
  • Kyrsten Sinema, Phoenix, State Representative, Legislative District 15

Obama delegate

Sinema-and-Obama-540x405sinema.jpg

Kyrsten Sinema, was a Barack Obama delegate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[13]

Helped craft Obamacare

Sinema was part of national team of state elected officials who worked to help craft America’s new health care law to "meet the needs of states, not the federal government".

Thanks in part to her work in "improving the bill", Sinema was invited by the President to attend the signing in March, 2010.[14]

Take Back America Conferences

Kyrsten Sinema was on the list of speakers at the 2008 Take Back America conference, which was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future.

On March 17, 2008, Rick Perlstein, Cliff Schecter, State Representative Kyrsten Sinema and Mike Zielinski spoke in a session entitled "The Crackup of Conservatism". [15]

America's Future Now Conferences

Kyrsten Sinema was on the list of speakers at the 2009 America's Future Now conference, which was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future.[16]

Progressive States Network

In 2010, Kyrsten Sinema served on the Board of Directors for the Progressive States Network, an organization which seeks to "transform the political landscape by sparking progressive actions at the state level".[17]

Supported Progressive Health Care Reform

In late 2009, Kyrsten Sinema was one of more than 1,000 state legislators to sign a letter entitled "State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform". The letter was a project of the Progressive States Network and was developed in consultation with national health care reform advocates, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Community Catalyst, Families USA, Herndon Alliance, National Women's Law Center, Northeast Action, SEIU, and Universal Health Care Action Network. The letter reads in part,[18]

"Failure to pass national comprehensive health reform now will further jeopardize state and local budgets, undermining public services like education, public safety, and transportation infrastructure... We, the undersigned, call on President Obama and the Congress to enact bold and comprehensive health care reform this year – based on these principles and a strong federal-state collaboration – and pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of guaranteed, high quality, affordable health care for all."

"Unite and Conquer"

Kyrsten Sinema’s first book, Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions that Win and Last, was released in July 2009 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers.[19]

Texas Stonewall Democrats

Members of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus from all across the state met in Austin on March 5 and 6 to assess the “ass-whipping” Democrats took at the polls last November and to develop messaging and other strategies for winning in 2012.

Participants heard two powerful keynote speeches from openly bisexual Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema and national transgender activist Mara Keisling.

In her speech, Sinema illuminated how Arizona is the breeding ground for all the anti-immigrant, anti-choice, anti-worker’s rights and anti-children’s health care legislation that is being proposed in many state legislatures, including Texas. She warned that “Arizona is coming to a state near you” and characterized this as an attempt by the so-called Tea Party to “mainstream hatred in this country”. She stated that the Tea Party has been around for 20 years and is just another name for Republicans.

Sinema outlined ways that Democrats can build coalitions to stop these bad bills from becoming law and encouraged LGBT Democrats to reach out to allies, even unlikely ones, and support their issues in exchange for their support of ours. “After all, LGBT people make up only 4 percent of the electorate and you need 50 percent plus one to win,” she said.

After her speech, attendees jumped to their feet to give Sinema a rousing ovation and then formed a line to have her autograph copies of her book, “Unite And Conquer: Building Coalitions That Win – And Last”.[20]

2012 CLW Senate victories

2012 Council for a Livable World House Victories were;

Ron Barber (D-AZ), Ami Bera (D-CA), Tim Bishop (D-NY) Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Lois Capps (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Joe Garcia (D-FL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Denny Heck (D-WA), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Brad Schneider(D-IL), Carol Shea-Porter(D–NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mark Takano(D-CA) and John Tierney(D-MA)..[21]
Sinema.JPG

According to the Council for a Livable World website;

Kyrsten Sinema is running for Congress in Arizona’s newly created 9th Congressional District.
Outside of state government, Sinema has been a leader in Arizona’s anti-war movement. In the days after the 9/11 attacks, Sinema helped to organize Arizona progressives who were alarmed by widespread calls for invasion. Sinema was at the forefront of Arizona’s grassroots opposition to the war in Iraq.

Sinema’s principled opposition to war extends to the movement for a world free of nuclear weapons. As an Arizona state legislator she actively lobbied Senators John McCain (R) and John Kyl (R) for ratification of the New START nuclear reductions treaty. She supports ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Testing Ban and opposes the development of new nuclear weapons.

LIBERT-E Act

June 18, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus, and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to address National Security Agency surveillance.

H.R. 2399, the Limiting Internet and Blanket Electronic Review of Telecommunications and Email Act (LIBERT-E Act), restricts the federal government’s ability under the Patriot Act to collect information on Americans who are not connected to an ongoing investigation. The bill also requires that secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court opinions be made available to Congress and summaries of the opinions be made available to the public.

A coalition of 32 Members of Congress joined Conyers and Amash in introducing the bill. After introduction, Conyers and Amash issued the following statement:

The following Members of Congress cosponsored the legislation:

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) Rep. William Enyart (D-IL) Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) Rep. Rush Holt, Jr. (D-NJ) Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) [22]

References

  1. Kyrsten Sinema's website: About (accessed on Sept. 1, 2010)
  2. Nation Journal, Arizona, 9th House District
  3. CPL board bio, accessed Feb. 21, 2010
  4. Nation Journal, Arizona, 9th House District
  5. Americans United for Separation of Church and State. bio
  6. Americans United for Separation of Church and State. bio
  7. CPL board bio, accessed Feb. 21, 2010
  8. The Washington Free Beacon, Adult Sinema, BY: Adam Kredo April 20, 2012
  9. The Washington Free Beacon, Adult Sinema, BY: Adam Kredo April 20, 2012
  10. CPL board bio, accessed Feb. 21, 2010
  11. PW How Arizona defeated the hatemongers, by: Joe Bernick December 8 2006
  12. Progressive Arizona website PROFILES IN VISION ARIZONA STATE REPS FORM PROGRESSIVE LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS, accessed Feb. 21, 2011
  13. The Washington Free Beacon, Adult Sinema, BY: Adam Kredo April 20, 2012
  14. Sinema for Congress, Making Quality Health Care Affordable, accessed Jan. 30, 2013
  15. Campaign for America's Future website: Take Back America 2008 - Agenda (accessed on May 11, 2010)
  16. Confabb website: America's Future Now 2009 Speakers (accessed on July 13, 2010)
  17. PSN website: Board of Directors (accessed on Sept. 1, 2010)
  18. Progressive States Network: State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
  19. Americans United for Separation of Church and State. bio
  20. Q San Antonio, Texas Stonewall Dems plot strategies for 2012 elections QSanAntonio.com, March 12, 2011
  21. Meet the Candidates, accessed April 10, 2013
  22. NSA Surveillance: Amash, Conyers Introduce Major Bill, Bipartisan Coalition of 34 Members of Congress Propose LIBERT-E Act, Jun 18, 2013