Activists who helped Arizona Senator get elected are holding her accountable. Good.
The Build Back Better Agenda has hit a roadblock thanks to Senator Kyrsten Sinema. She was elected as a Democrat, yet instead of governing like a responsible adult she’s lighting her own career on fire. From happily voting down a $15 an hour wage with a middle finger responding to her base, to skipping town before a vote on Biden’s Agenda to hold fundraisers who pay her to obstruct the President’s agenda, to snidely telling reporters when asked where she stands on the reconciliation package “Clearly I’m in front of the elevator” she’s done everything to piss off her own voters. And it looks like her constituents have had enough.
At Arizona State University activists from Living United from Change in Arizona (LUCHA) waited patiently outside the classroom. Sinema was speaking. They’d been trying to schedule an appointment with her for months, only to be met with rejection after rejection so they wanted to talk to her. As Sinema exited an activist asked to speak with her, the Arizona Senator refused and immediately bolted to the nearest bathroom. The activists kept their distance in the bathroom and articulated that they were her constituents who got her elected and encouraged her to pass the reconciliation package and support immigration reform.
“We need to hold you accountable to what you told us, what you promised us that you were going to pass when we knocked on doors for you,” Blanca says in the footage. “It’s not right.”
The next day her office released a statement whining about the whole event because her own voters had the audacity to ask her why she was willing to tank the whole Biden infrastructure agreement. How. Dare. They. If only they had given her a $2,900 check as a lobbyist for Aetna maybe they’d have gotten her undivided attention.
And that wasn’t the only instance where Arizonans who spent a lot of their time helping get her elected wanted to talk to her. Karina Ruiz was a Dreamer recipient who had the DACA program cancelled in 2017 under the Trump administration and spent all her energy getting Sinema elected. She saw Sinema on a flight and opened up to her about her past to see if she could persuade the Arizona Senator to vote for the reconciliation bill and back immigration reform. The Senator chose to look forward and pretend to read a book.
“I just want to know if you can commit…to passing a reconciliation that would provide a pathway towards citizenship for immigrants who have been waiting for this for too long…Can you commit to that Senator?”
The only time Sinema reacted was when Ruiz mentioned her dad passed away to say I’m sorry. But when asked by her constituent to please vote for the reconciliation bill on behalf of her late father the Senator slowly shook her head and refused to look at her. Ruiz with a calm clear demeanor patiently asked if she could get a commitment from her to vote for the package with millions of DACA recipients on the line? The Senator refused to even look at her.
The Democrats won the Senate by campaigning on a a bold vision that President Biden wanted: a living wage, lowering prescription drug costs, expanding Medicare coverage, climate change, funding preschools, making community colleges free, and taxing the rich. In the 2018 Senate election, Sinema was happily running campaign ads on lowering prescription drug costs for seniors and taxing the rich. Yet three years later in a state Joe Biden won she’s doing nothing more than sabotaging the President. While I have my own criticism of Joe Biden he’s right to call out two senators who are holding his domestic agenda hostage.
As much as I don’t like Manchin he’s at least given a number over what he want’s on the Infrastructure deal, the Arizona Senator doesn’t have one. And I suspect she prefers it that way if it means she gets that yummy cash from multinational corporations pumping money into her coffer. Sinema can either pass the agenda a reconciliation bill that is popular nationwide, or she can at least get out of the way.