Carlos Galindo-Elvira is hoping to be the next Jewish representative in Arizona’s House of Representatives.
He threw his hat in the ring on Monday, Nov. 29, to become the Democratic representative for Legislative District 27, which covers Laveen, parts of south Phoenix and Guadalupe.
“It’s a great day to announce that I’ve submitted my name for consideration, considering it’s the first day of Chanukah,” he said Monday. “Chanukah represents freedom, light, and overcoming darkness.”
The darkness he seeks to overcome is the national “assault” on voting rights.
“I believe that there is a direct connection between what happens on Election Day, and the issues that are decided or will be decided at the state Legislature,” Galindo-Elvira said.
“Arizona has a long history and a good track record on early voting,” he said.
“I’m concerned about the impact on vulnerable and marginalized communities, specifically the elderly, and of course, people of color and college students.”
The U.S. Supreme Court recently reversed a lower court decision and upheld two Arizona laws that banned collection of absentee ballots by anyone other than a relative or caregiver and allowed Arizona to throw out ballots cast in the wrong precinct.
A federal appeals court struck down both provisions, ruling that they had an unequal impact on minority voters and that there was no evidence of fraud that would have justified their use.
But in July, the Supreme Court reinstated the state laws, declaring that unequal impact on minorities in this context was relatively minor, that other states have similar laws and that states don’t have to wait for fraud to occur before enacting laws to prevent it.
“I am prepared to go neighborhood by neighborhood to inform constituents of the impact. It’s a duty that I’ll take to heart,” he said. “I will march with my mouth.”
Though he would be a fresh face in the Legislature, Galindo-Elvira isn’t new to politics. Raised in Arizona’s Copper Corridor, he served as mayor of the town of Hayden from 2003-2005.
During his tenure, he sponsored and wrote legislation for an anti-discrimination policy and a paid Martin Luther King Holiday. He authored Ordinance No. 88, Direct Election of the Mayor and was also the prime sponsor of the resolution designating a recognized holiday honoring César Chávez.
For most of the past 20 years, he’s lived with his family in LD 27 near 19th Avenue and Baseline. He currently works at Chicanos Por La Causa, Valle del Sol as chief development officer and was previously the Arizona regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, as well as the special assistant to former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini in the areas of immigration, civil and human rights and Hispanic and Native American affairs. He also worked for the Pinal County Recorder’s Office as the voter outreach program coordinator with a role overseeing voter accessibility, promotion of early voting and education and as a site coordinator for YMCA childcare program.
“I know what I will stand for, what I will advocate for and what I will lead on at the Capitol,” Galindo-Elvira said, noting he will continue his work at CPLC if elected.“I’m very grateful that there are 24 hours in a day and that sleep can take a backseat, because the work we have to do needs to be done.”
Despite his urgency to take some kind of action at a time of great discomfort for him politically, he does not have greater political ambitions.
“My concern is the immediacy of protecting the vote of combating Covid-19, and ensuring that families of the district are represented well and their concerns are voiced at the state Legislature,” he said.
The pandemic is far from over and it’s not enough to have vaccines available, he said. There also needs to be accessibility to the vaccines, especially in specific ZIP codes with rising numbers of infection.
The House seat became available after Diego Rodriguez, who is running for Arizona attorney general, announced his resignation Nov. 12 from the Legislature.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will choose a replacement from a list of candidates selected by Democratic precinct committee members from the district. As of Tuesday, Nov. 30, 13 hopefuls have applied. If appointed, Galindo-Elvira would join Jewish House members Rep. Robert Meza (L-30) and Rep. Alma Hernandez (LD-3), and few others.
The Legislature is out of session until January. JN