Progressive groups from across the Valley converged last week on U.S. Rep. David Schweikert’s office in Scottsdale on the first day of the new Congressional session to present their policy agenda.
Representatives from LD 23 Democrats and groups affiliated with Indivisible, a national movement, showed up at Schweikert’s office Jan. 3 and presented Kevin Knight, the congressman's district director, with a gift basket for the new session and a banner outlining their agenda.
That agenda includes protecting and expanding voting rights and ending the government shutdown.
“We are also here to stand for reopening the government fully with no funds for the border wall,” said Judy Schwiebert of Desert Progressives Indivisible.
The groups also support H.R. 1, an anti-corruption and voting reform bill that was announced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi late last year.
Though Indivisible has shown disdain for Republicans – the organization’s website said its goal is to resist President Donald Trump’s agenda – Scottsdale resident Jenni Eisel said her group, Stand Indivisible AZ, has members from both parties and attracts many independent voters.
“We’re very issue based and not focused on whether you are a Democrat or a Republican,” Eisel said.
Many of the policies presented conflicted with Schweikert’s only policy platforms, but Knight said the Congressman is happy to see his constituents exercise their constitutional rights.
“David is human and when people come out to express their heartfelt opinions, he definitely listens to those people,” Knight said.
Eisel said that the groups, which did not protest at Schweikert’s office, chose to approach Schweikert in a non-combative manner in order to open up a dialog with the Congressman. That approach included putting a Starbucks gift card for the Representative in the gift basket because “he is known to love Starbucks,” Eisel said.
“We hope to build a relationship with Rep. Schweikert, so we can come talk to him and not yell at him,” Eisel said. “We think that is a better way to make change.”
Still, Schwiebert said the groups’ less combative approach does not mean they will not remain diligent.
“We’re letting him know that he can expect to here from us regularly as his constituents,” Schwiebert said. “We will definitely be back.”
The event was part of a coordinated effort across the nation. In Arizona alone, groups held similar demonstrations in Yuma, Tucson, Sedona, Flagstaff and the White Mountains.