Projects with leaders from various nations within the same region provide diverse perspectives for professionals in our state. They too learn how similar one another are and aim to ask questions benefitting each other’s research and understanding. It is truly a unique interaction that takes place during International Visitor Leadership Program’s with multiple nations. This group from countries throughout Central and South America is a perfect example.
The group was given three, very different, perspectives from three leaders of different party affiliations: Democrat, Republican and Independent. Having the opportunity to discuss Arizona’s political system from the point of view of three of the most popular parties in the state, enabled them to further understand the impact and dynamic of a North American partisan government.
Their first meeting was with Ms. Barbara Lubin, the Political Director of the Arizona Democratic Party. She oversees all operations for grassroots campaigning, voter targeting, messaging and communication strategies for the party. She provided the group with a general overview of our state’s most closely watched elections and the party’s strategy for recruiting support for Hilary Clinton in our state.
The Founder and President of Somos Independents had a vivid discussion of her view of the presidential election and mobilization of key independent groups at the state and national levels. Somos Independents is a national group of key swing independent registered Independent voters led by Mexican-American / Latina women voters who support bipartisanship in our government helping to solve tough issues. They are organizing the growing independent registered voter group by getting out the vote with millennial voters. Somos Independents believe in putting people before Party politics.
The Friday before the Presidential election, the group visited with political directors at the Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP). They were able to witness live phone banking at the party’s headquarters as volunteers made a final push for President elect Donald Trump. In a conversation focused on social media, volunteer recruitment, coalition building and voter targeting, the group was able to further understand how party leaders highlight the the positive and negative characteristics of individual candidates.
The International Visitors also participated in one of our Global Encounters event with students from mesa community college and Global Tie Arizona members. Global Encounters are casual conversations with members of Global Ties Arizona. This is an opportunity for our members to engage with the visitors we host and converse in subjects of international interest.
The group also met with Turning Point USA’s National Victory Director, Mr. Tyler Bowyer. TPUSA holds a presence on over 1,000 college campuses and high schools across the country, they are the largest and fastest growing youth organization in America. Turning Point USA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded on June 5, 2012 by Charlie Kirk. The organization’s mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles official responsibility, free markets, and limited government. Mr. Bowyer provided a general overview of the groups many programs and metrics on the scale and strength of their efforts to have youth 18+ turn out to vote and encourage others to join their conservative movement through grassroots organizing. Just days before the election when the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office is receiving 1000s of ballots from across the state, our South American visitors sat down with Maricopa County Recorder, Ms. Helen Purcell. They discussed how ballots are counted, polling stations, registered voters and the early ballot process. They were also given a tour of the recorder’s office and had the opportunity to watch live ballot counting for early ballots turned in for the United States General Presidential Election.
Senator John McCain’s reelection to the United States Senate has been one of the most closely watched campaigns in the state. The group had the opportunity to watch grassroots organizing in action as they showed a group of student volunteers conducting door-to-door get out the vote activities. The host for this event was also able to communicate with the group in Spanish! This was quite the experience for McCain’s Federal Political Action Committee team in Mesa and our group from all over South America. They spent the entire morning watching young volunteers discuss the upcoming election with registered voters in neighborhoods across Mesa.
Global Ties Arizona always tries their best to include cultural excursions during each of our International Leadership Visitor Programs. For this group, we arranged an afternoon activity at the POW WOW on the Salt River Pima Indian Reservation. They met with Indian jewelry makers and watched as people weaved baskets by hand. It was truly a unique event for this group to attend and to understand the many different cultures of our state.