Firecreek Coffee Company hosted a public discussion Nov. 5 involving City Council candidate Adam Shimoni and the Democratic nominee for Governor David Garcia. Locals asked them questions regarding policy and voter turnout.

The discussion began with attendants talking among themselves, asking each other why they believed why voting is important. One person, who chose to remain anonymous, explained why they value their right to vote.

“There are a lot of places where you don’t get to choose your leaders. Here in America, we get choose which laws to live by and how they are enforced,” said the anonymous source.

After this, Shimoni asked Garcia his own set of questions before opening the floor to public discussion. The first question pertained to giving local communities more independence and power. Garcia responded that he was an advocate for local control, saying that counties, cities, and even universities should be allowed more power to control their own fate. He plans on initiating a bill that would give local communities this freedom, saying that it would allow for diversification across the state.

Next, Shimoni asked Garcia about his views regarding the Arizona Board of Regents. Garcia answered that because the state cuts education funding, ABOR is forced to raise tuition or increase number of students enrolled to make up for lost funding. However, he said the blame is on ABOR as well, because they decide where the money goes. According to Garcia, people need to be appointed to ABOR who understand education, realize the purpose of higher education, and make a unique model for each university instead of the current cookie cutter model Arizona currently has.

Shimoni then asked Garcia about Proposition 418, and the threat of businesses leaving the city if they cannot afford to pay their employees. Garcia said this won’t happen if proposition 418 does not pass.

“Restaurants and tourism will continue to grow despite fears of economic failure. The leaders of Arizona have lost vision of what’s possible, but the people haven’t,” said Garcia.

The discussion was then opened to the crowd, where many topics were brought up. First, was government investing in public education. According to Garcia, teachers know they need to change the leadership, and believes that thousands of Arizonans want a dedicated revenue source for public education.

“I will challenge the legislature to put a dedicated revenue source on the ballot so that Arizonans have an opportunity to vote on an issue like this. We can’t hack away funding,” Garcia said.

Next, recreational marijuana was discussed by the nominee. Garcia is supportive of a two-step process regarding this issue. He wants to decriminalize it first, prohibiting users from being arrested for using or carrying the drug. Next is making it recreational, and is planning on talking to the state legislators about it.

Lastly, discrimination rights involving the LGBTQ+ community was conversed between the candidate and the crowd. Garcia said he is ready to sign a nondiscrimination order at the state level, and plans on implementing it early in his term as Governor if he is elected. Garcia closed this section of the discussion by stating his ultimate goal as a Governor.

“My goal is for citizens to see leadership that reflects Arizona. I want to set an example for future leaders of this state,” Garcia said.

Garcia also gave insight as to what he believed to be the biggest threat to public participation, saying that fear and apathy are the dynamic duo to worry about.

“People are afraid that what they do won’t matter, or become numb and exhausted from all the political ads. We have to overcome it, and I’m expecting historic turnout tomorrow,” Garcia said.

Transitioning into the next portion of the discussion, Council member Jim McCarthy spoke about voter turnout and increasing political awareness in the community.

“It is so important, especially at the local level, to urge neighbors to vote. Local government impacts people more frequently than state or federal government,” said McCarthy.

Shimoni then delegated the discussion, brainstorming with locals on how to increase voter turnout on election day. Suggestions and ideas included giving workers paid time to vote, carpooling with friends to polling stations and posting on social media to heighten awareness. The discussion ended as Shimoni shared his thoughts on the event, saying that talking openly about public issues keeps democracy going.

“As an elected official, I plan to continue hosting monthly events like these to bring guest speakers in, to bring politicians in, along with facilitating debates and discussions. We to work above party politics because our country and our community needs it now more than ever,” said Shimoni.

The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Don’t miss your opportunity to vote.