The Veridus Weekly 11-2-18


The Veridus Weekly


Check out the Purple Book at www.purplebookaz.comand remember to vote in the Arizona General Election on November 6th.


In Focus

In the words of a once-popular ‘80s hair band . . . it’s the final countdown.

One of the most high-stakes, high-dollar and high-turnout election seasons in recent memory will soon be in the rearview. While early ballot returns have provided some insight into Tuesday’s midterms, key questions remain as we head into Election Day. Answers to these questions will help determine which political party will be celebrating after results come in Tuesday evening.
  1. Will a “blue wave” wash over Arizona? Arizona Republicans typically outnumber Democrats at the polls by 10-12 percentage points during midterm elections like this. While the GOP began early voting with a significant edge, Democrats have steadily eaten into that advantage over the last 10 days. As of Friday, the GOP turnout edge was down to R+ 7.9. Get ready: If this trend continues, that object on the horizon may be a wave.
  2. Will young voters show up? Millennials are the wildcard of this cycle. Historically, youth turnout has been abysmally low, particularly during midterms. Billionaire mega-donor Tom Steyer has spent millions of dollars in Arizona to register and activate young voters. There’s potential for millennials to have a real influence on this election … if they show up.
  3. Will Latino voters show up? Ah, the sleeping giant of the Arizona Latino electorate. Arizona politicos have long pondered when Latinos – representing fully 1/3 of the state population – would vote in proportion with their numbers. If this is the year, it will further benefit Democratic candidates.
  4. Immigration or Education? Education has dominated as the state’s biggest political issue of 2018, but there have been signs of that changing in recent days. News of the migrant caravans in southern Mexico, and President Trump’s deployment of thousands of troops to the southern border, has helped put the issue of illegal immigration back in the headlines. If immigration plays a lead role in driving voters to the polls Tuesday, Republicans will benefit.
  5. Is #RedForEd dead? The education movement appeared to peak last Spring with tens of thousands of Arizona teachers and advocates storming the State Capitol. After Governor Doug Ducey and legislators awarded public education a sizable budget boost – and handed teachers a 20 percent pay hike between now and 2020 – the movement seemed to lose much of its energy. That was compounded with the Invest in Ed initiative being removed from the ballot. Democrats have counted on #RedForEd being a turnout mechanism, but it’s not certain this will come to fruition.

Five things Arizonans should know about upcoming ACA open enrollment for health insurance
Arizona Republic

Open enrollment for Arizonans who purchase their health insurance on the individual Affordable Care Act marketplace starts Thursday.

This year's sixth annual Affordable Care Act enrollment goes through Dec. 15 for insurance that begins Jan. 1, 2019.

ACA open enrollment should not be confused with Medicare open enrollment, which began Oct. 15 and goes through Dec. 7.

Most Arizonans don't get their health insurance on the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, marketplace. As of February 2018, nearly 11 million Americans, including about 155,000 Arizonans, had ACA plans, federal data shows.

The health-insurance marketplaces, sometimes called exchanges, were created by the ACA (also known as "Obamacare") to offer insurance plans to working-age individuals and families who are not covered by other insurance such as Medicaid or employer-sponsored coverage.

While some states operate their own exchanges, Arizona uses the federally facilitated marketplace, which operates via the website

Here are five things to know:

1. More insurers are in the marketplace this year, though 13 of Arizona's 15 counties still have only one choice.

[...] 2. Don't pay for help. Free help is available.

[...] 3. People who don't think they can afford to buy insurance on the marketplace should run the numbers on anyway — it  may be more affordable than you think.

[...] 4. There are no federal penalties for being uninsured, or for buying a short-term plan, but weigh the options carefully.

[...] 5. Read the fine print of any plan you buy and look to see whether your doctor or hospital of choice is in-network.

A plan may have a low premium, but the annual deductible is $7,000. Someone with a chronic health condition may opt to pay a little more per month to lower their out-of-pocket costs for care.

Also, make sure to check whether the plan you are buying includes your doctors and hospital of choice as in-network.

[...] Read more HERE.

Governor open to requiring childhood vaccinations
Arizona Capitol Times

Calling it a matter of public safety, Gov. Doug Ducey wants all youngsters in Arizona public schools to be vaccinated against various childhood diseases.

But the governor isn’t ready to mandate it – or take away the right of parents to opt out for personal reasons – at least not yet.

In an interview Wednesday with Capitol Media Services, Ducey said there has been a “slight uptick” in the number of kindergartners and sixth graders who do not have the required inoculations. And in virtually all of those cases, the reason is personal: The parents simply don’t want their children vaccinated.

That is their right under current Arizona law. All it takes is parents signing a form.

But it also puts Arizona in the minority of states that allow opt-outs for personal reasons.

[...] Read more HERE.

More Than 20 States Have Never Had a Woman as Governor
Associated Press

The record number of women running for governor this year highlights a surprising fact: Some of the largest and most progressive states have never elected a woman as governor, including California and New York.

ATLANTA (AP) — The last time a historic wave of women ran for office, in 1992, California became the first state to send two women to the U.S. Senate.

A quarter century after setting that milestone, the state known for its progressive politics is still waiting for its first female governor. This year's candidates are two white men.

Other populous states, including New York, Florida and Illinois, also have never elected a woman as governor.

On this, one of the most progressive states may be a surprise — Kansas.

The reliably conservative state in the nation's heartland has elected two female governors and could elect a third, Democrat Laura Kelly, on Nov. 6.

[...] Another conservative state, Arizona, has had four women serve as governor — the most of any state. Texas has had two.

In all, 39 women in 28 states have served as governor, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

[...] Even name recognition and party bona fides are no guarantee of success. Gwen Graham, a congresswoman and daughter of a former governor, lost her bid for Florida governor in this year's Democratic primary despite outraising the eventual winner, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

In New York, actress Cynthia Nixon lost her Democratic primary battle against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a formidable incumbent expert at working the levers of the party machinery. His campaign repeatedly dismissed Nixon's campaign as the frivolous work of an amateur.

The losing experiences of female candidates this year in California, Florida and New York show why there is no clear answer about why women have struggled running for governor in some states.

"There are so many factors that are influential in both who becomes a candidate and who becomes the ultimate winner, it's hard to isolate gender in these races," said Kelly Dittmar, a Rutgers University professor who studies gender and politics.

Read more HERE.
Veridus clients in the news

Eileen Sigmund departing Arizona Charter Schools Association
Board of Directors thanks Sigmund for her work, dedication on behalf of charter movement

Phoenix, AZ (Oct. 31, 2018) - Arizona Charter Schools Association President & CEO Eileen Sigmund announces she will be leaving the organization, effective Nov. 30, 2018.

“It has truly been the honor of my career to lead this organization and help provide a voice for Arizona charter leaders, educators and families. I am so proud of what we as an organization and movement have accomplished together on behalf of the Arizona public charter schools, families and students we serve,” Sigmund said. “Now, after more than 11 years at the helm, it’s time for a new leader to guide this Association and Arizona charter schools into the future.”

Eileen began her leadership of the Association in 2007, building it into Arizona’s leading advocacy organization on behalf of the state’s rapidly growing sector of public charter schools. Arizona’s 550 charter schools now account for almost one-third of all public schools in the state – the highest penetration rate of any state – and serve 185,000 students. Nearly 1 in 5 Arizona students choose to attend a public charter school.

“Eileen has made a lasting impact on the quality of education in Arizona. She has led the advance of an Association which now represents some of the best schools in Arizona and indeed the best in America,” said Jay Heiler, Chairman of the Board of the  Arizona Charter Schools Association. “Eileen’s work in building and strengthening charter schools is recognized around the country. She has given of herself in the great cause of educating Arizona’s children and securing their futures.”

Arizona charter schools have also experienced significant academic improvement over the last decade. The latest NAEP exam demonstrated Arizona charter students outperform their district peers in each grade level and subject area tested, and a record number of charter students passed the most recent AzMERIT assessment. For the 2nd straight year, the Arizona charter sector leads the state in terms of its percentage of A-and B-rated schools.

“Everyone in Arizona who cares about education owes Eileen a debt of thanks,” Heiler said. “She will be missed, and in whatever she chooses to pursue next, she will succeed.”

Arizona’s oldest citizens cannot afford Prop. 127
Chamber Business News

Non-profit agencies that help Arizona’s neediest older citizens say they are seeing an increase in requests for assistance. A renewable energy initiative that is projected to raise electric bills is a financial burden they cannot afford, they said. The American Association of Retired Persons also is voicing concerns for its 900,000 members in Arizona.

“We just came out of a very tough economic period and there is a larger, disproportionate number of folks who have not retired well and have not had the resources needed to make that happen,” said R. Tony Penn, president and CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona that opposes the initiative, called Proposition 127. “We’re very concerned about it.”

United Way of Northern and Southern Arizona are among numerous non-profit agencies opposing the initiative on the general election ballot because of its potential harm to populations like the elderly on low- and fixed-incomes. If approved by voters, the initiative would change the state constitution to require electric utilities to provide 50 percent of their power, “irrespective of cost to consumers,” from renewable energy by 2030. Currently, utilities are required to provide 15 percent by 2025. The initiative also mandates how much of each power source must be used including 10 percent from rooftop solar. It leaves no flexibility or consideration of the cost to ratepayers or utilities, opponents said.

Mark Clark, president and CEO of the Pima Council on Aging, said its clients already are parched financially. About 10 percent of elderly Pima County residents live at or below poverty level, he said.

“We’re seeing an increased number of older adults coming to us asking for assistance with utility bills, food, rent and other financial emergencies and, at this point, we have waiting lists to see our advocates,” Clark said. “Based upon estimates from the Arizona Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO), those living at that income level could see 3.7 percent more of their annual income go to an increase in utility bills, a very difficult financial burden.”  

AARP, a nonprofit, members-only organization with 900,000 members in Arizona, just published a list of concerns about the ballot initiative in Arizona.

“We do favor cost effective efforts to increase the percentage from renewable energy,” the AARP statement says. “However, we want to make sure additionally mandated renewable energy is affordable and useful to ratepayers.”

[...] More than 100 diverse organizations and 300 elected officials have joined to oppose the initiative for similar reasons, including elected officials in communities with large elderly populations.

“This would would have a huge negative impact on our senior citizen population,” said the mayor of Youngtown, Michael LeVault. “This amendment to our constitution would effectively usurp a lot of the authority the corporation commission has and require hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment. I really think it would be ruinous to our economy.”

Read more HERE.

Uber to pay ASU tuition for some drivers or their family members
Arizona Republic

Uber will offer free tuition at Arizona State University to its most seasoned drivers, or their family members, the ride-sharing company and ASU announced Thursday.

The program is similar to a partnership between ASU and Starbucks, where employees of the coffee giant can attend the university for free. That program has been in place since 2014, and about 2,000 Starbucks employees have received ASU degrees so far.

Both of the companies' tuition perks apply to ASU online programs. The Uber program will initially launch in eight locations, including Phoenix.

Uber’s tuition offer will apply to drivers who have completed more than 3,000 trips and who also have platinum or diamond status. Drivers earn those statuses based on the number of trips they do, and by having at least a 4.85 rating from passengers and low cancellation rates, Uber said.

The tuition plan is part of a larger roll-out from Uber on Thursday of a program the company is calling Uber Pro, where drivers will be able to get rewards by earning points and moving up in status levels, from partner to gold to platinum to diamond.

Drivers who use the tuition program will be able to choose from more than 80 undergraduate degree programs at ASU Online. They also can take non-degree-seeking courses in English or entrepreneurship.

[...] Read more HERE.

Celebrate with your Community this Small Business Saturday®

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Are you ready to shop, eat and celebrate with the small businesses in your neighborhood this holiday season? Today, American Express (NYSE:AXP) revealed its lineup of community programs for the ninth annual Small Business Saturday, taking place nationwide on November 24. Small Business Saturday, founded by American Express in 2010, is held each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to shop at independently-owned businesses online and at storefronts across the country.

This year, Lin-Manuel Miranda, American Express Global Brand Ambassador and creator of hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” is joining in to help bring awareness to the Shop Small movement and expand its presence in Puerto Rico. Miranda shares American Express’s values of building enduring relationships and supporting communities through small businesses.

[...] American Express is expanding its Small Business Saturday support to Puerto Rico this year, as local businesses continue to get back on their feet after last year’s storms. American Express will be supporting the island’s businesses in partnership with the Government of Puerto Rico through its Trade and Exports Company and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Puerto Rico District Office1, Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, LGBTTQ Chamber, and the Puerto Rico Product Association (Hecho en Puerto Rico).

[...] November 24th is the ninth annual Small Business Saturday, proudly backed by American Express. Dedicated to supporting the diverse range of local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy, and enhance neighborhoods around the country, Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: getting more customers. Learn more at and connect with us on,,

Read more HERE.
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