Richard Elias is a Supervisor Pima County, District 5, Arizona.
Supporting striking copper miners
You are not alone” was the message from Tucson Mayor elect Regina Romero to striking copper miners in Southern Arizona. She was addressing rallying strikers and supporters who came to picket their bosses at ASARCO’s corporate office lair on Tucson’s east side on Nov. 17 2019. Romero called out the company for refusing to bargain with the copper unions in good faith. She condemned ASARCO for offering only takeaways to workers, most of whom who have gone ten years without a raise, and wanting to more than double their workers’ out of pocket healthcare expenses. She also pointed out that German Larrea, CEO of Grupo Mexico, the multinational that owns ASARCO, is worth $13 billion, but won’t invest in his employees.
United Steelworkers Arizona Sub-district Director, Manny Armenta, thanked the community for their support and explained that after five weeks of refusing to sit down with the union, ASARCO finally met with the unions but offered only the same old nothing. Armenta urged the striking unions and supporters to maintain their unity. Armenta also introduced a railroad switchman visiting from Seattle who brought a check for $350 that his union collected for the strike fund as “a stand against corporate tyranny.”
Romero, who was elected earlier this month, will become Tucson’s first woman mayor, and the Tucson’s first Mexican American since 1876. Joining her at the rally were State Senator Victoria Steele, and representatives of County Supervisor Richard Elias and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, as well many trade unionists and community supporters.
About 2,000 union copper workers, represented by Steelworkers, Teamsters, Electricians, Operating engineers and four other unions walked off the job October 13 at three open pit copper mines in Arizona, a refinery in Amarillo Texas, and a smelter in Hayden, Arizona. The strike has forced ASARCO to cease operations at the smelter and refinery, but is still operating the three mines with scab labor.
The Mission and the Silver Bell mines are near Tucson so striking miners have been joined by union and community supporters, especially at the time of shift changes. The Pima Area Labor Federation and it’s member locals have been particularly active in support of the strikers, as is the local Jobs with Justice coalition, but it’s clear that the struggle needs to be broadened. ASARCO/Grupo Mexico is a corporate predator that has viciously and mercilessly attacked workers and their unions in Mexico and South America.
Arizona District Communist Party USA leader Joe Bernick wrote an article "Peoples campaign is a winning strategy" for the November 16, 2002 edition of People's World, covering the 2002 Raul Grijalva campaign.
- A model peoples’ campaign in Southern Arizona swept Raul Grijalva into Congress and helped elect Democrats Janet Napolitano as governor and Terry Goddard as attorney general.
- Beginning in early summer, volunteers spread out through the neighborhoods, knocking on doors, registering new voters and talking about the importance of electing candidates who will represent the interests of working people.
- The campaign for one of Arizona’s two new congressional seats concentrated on the section of the district inside metropolitan Tucson consisting of the city’s predominantly Chicano South and West sides and the predominantly white neighborhoods surrounding the University of Arizona.
- The Grijalva campaign energized volunteers and led to a much higher than usual voter turnout in minority neighborhoods. Arizona’s newly elected Governor, Janet Napolitano, squeaked through on the strength of these new voters. She is the first Democrat elected as Governor of Arizona since Bruce Babbitt won 20 years ago. The campaign helped many other progressive candidates get elected. Richard Elias, who ran a joint campaign with Grijalva, managed a good primary victory to succeed Grijalva as a progressive County Supervisor. Elias faced no opposition in the general election.
Hired Keith Bagwell
In March 2002 Richard Elias' appoint Keith Bagwell as his top aide - now executive assistant. Bagwell, longtime environmental reporter who fled the mismanagement at the Arizona Daily Star a couple of years ago, gives Elias instant green credibility. He will be paid at the annual rate of $55,000.
- Bagwell, 51, grew up in Phoenix and joined the Star in 1986. He is an absolute ideologue, a dedicated liberal who protests military action in Afghanistan, the death penalty and rapacious development. He is professional, dignified and not given to the malicious game-playing enjoyed by Grijalva's staff. That will be a welcome change that will help the District 5's advocacy of environmental issues. And Bagwell doesn't just regurgitate. He actually understands the science of ecology. He and his wife, Carolyn Trowbridge, a nurse and fellow longtime protester, live in Armory Park in Eckstrom's District 2.
Eva Carrillo Dong reception with communists
On Wednesday, 15 September 2010, a reception in support of Eva Carrillo Dong was held Rigo's Mexican Restaurant 2527 South 4th Avenue Tucson, AZ.
Key attendees included Salvador Barajas, Sunnyside School Board Member Magdalena Barajas, Rolande Baker, Joe Bernick, Mary Carmen Donaldson, Hon. Dan Eckstrom, County Supervisor Richard Elias, Tucson City Council Member Richard Fimbres, TUSD Board Member Adelita Grijalva, James Hannley, Rigoberto Lopez, Raul Nido, Laura Portillo, Manuel E. Portillo, Tucson City Council Member Regina Romero, Albert Siqueiros, Janet Valencia and Steve Valencia. Baker, Bernick, Hannley and both Valencias were all affiliated with the Arizona District Communist Party USA.