Two scholars and two interpreters participated in an outstanding tour of Arizona politics and the Presidential Preference Election. Accompanied by Austin Jack, Austin detailed the political landscape of Arizona and was a resource for the international visitors regarding policy, party preference, presidential candidates, function of state government versus federal government and many other aspects of Arizona politics.
Throughout their stay, the visitors attended events truly impacting the political process in our state. With over 35 hours of programming during their stay, the visitors witnessed and compared U.S. government proceedings during elections and legislation against the Tawain and Shanghai governments. Visitors provided a tremendous amount of information in his comparisons of our state functions to other nations.
Our visitors began their tour of the Arizona political landscape at a press conference with Secretary of State Michelle Reagan and Maricopa County Recorder, Helen Purcell. Press from all over Arizona fielded questions about the Presidential Preference to both office holders and provided information. The visitors were then permitted on the grounds of a polling station where they were able to witness live voting. Although not allowed to enter the building, they were able to see the long lines of participants in the Presidential Preference Election.
Ms. Purcell, although receiving considerable criticisms from the media after the election, still met with the visitors on Wednesday after the election to discuss polling stations, public records and much more within the recorder’s office. This was an insightful conversation for the visitors because of their interaction with the recorder over the past two previous days. After a tour of the recorder’s office and viewing of live ballot counting, visitors recorded all information gathered during this meeting to further his political research.
In addition to the Presidential Preference Election specifically, the international visitors were able to meet and discuss the infrastructure of the two Political Parties in our state at each of the Democratic and Republican Party headquarters. Totaling two hours at each headquarter, our guests toured each of the facilities and discussed how the two Parties conduct coalition building, volunteer outreach, attack pieces, voter registration and candidate support.
Chad Heywood, Director of the Arizona Republican Party spent the most time with our visitors and discussed the process of the national convention, precinct committeemen and possible resolutions for an open convention. Both scholars were enthralled with this programming and spent over an hour and a half at a whiteboard with Mr. Heywood as he described the election process and national convention. Both visitors were extremely complimentary of Mr. Heywood and appreciated his answers to their many complex questions.
Barbara Lubin, State Democratic Party Director, discussed what it is to be a democrat and issues facing their party. The international visitors continued to ask questions regarding the complexities of recruiting democrats in such a conservative state. Ms. Lubin detailed her outreach for coalition building and candidate support, but focused mainly on issues facing their party as a whole.
In addition to the exceptional professional programming during our visitors’ trip to Arizona, we planned a variety of events evoking American culture and Arizona history. A tour of the Museum of the West was guided by a painter and large contributor to the museum which yielded information regarding the Lewis and Clark expedition as well as western history. Our visitors thoroughly enjoyed this tour and purchased souvenirs in the gift shop to remember their visit. Another exciting event they attended was a Spring Training baseball game with seats donated by
Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp of Scottsdale. It was quite an experience for the visitors to enjoy American hot dogs and enjoy an exceptional view in the City’s lounge and sky box seats.
On the evening of the Presidential Preference election, our visitors were taken to an election results watching party in Gold Canyon where they were greeted by over fifty supporters of the AZGOP and candidates for Congressional races. Visitors thoroughly enjoyed this evening and spent a great amount of time discussing Arizona and federal politics with attendees. They had such a great time even, that we did not leave the watching party until 9:30PM when the visitors were ready to leave. This was both an exciting tradition to experience as well as an opportunity for our visitors to earn a new perspective from voters and candidates on the edge of Maricopa County district lines.
During the middle of our programming, the visitors were able to sit in the Arizona House Floor viewing room to watch a two hour debate of State Representatives. Both visitors were fascinated by the capability of our state leaders to maintain order and cooperativeness throughout the proceedings. Later, they were invited to the House Floor for a tour and discussion with Representative Kate Brophy McGee. Representative Brophy McGee indulged the visitors with an explanation of the debate and proceedings in hearing a bill presented to the House.
One of the last aspects of our programming for our Chinese visitors was with two consultants, Kyle Moyer of Kyle Moyer & Company and Jess Yescalis of Candidate Marco Rubio’s Presidential Campaign. Mr. Moyer provided insight on political campaigns and experience with issues facing our state in terms of policy and city government infrastructure. He discussed his experiences and background pertaining to initiatives our citizens advance at the capitol and ways consultants act as lobbyists at the State Capitol. Our visitors were fascinated with Mr. Moyer’s knowledge of local and state politics and applauded his efforts on being a man working in both policy and campaigns. The visitors found it interesting how consultants play such a key role in elections and policy formulation. In the visitors’ discussion with Mr. Yescalis, our scholars discussed the turmoil of the Presidential Election and the likelihood of the National Convention turning into one of open nominations. The visitors discussed the negative affects of media on elections in the United States and entertained the idea of regulating media in the United States as other nations currently do. Mr. Yescalis provided his views and criticisms of media regulation while maintaining knowledge of the Presidential Election. An exciting aspect of this meeting was Mr. Yescalis has traveled to over 130 countries in the world and has observed politics on nearly every platform known by highly intellectual scholars. The national visitors were complimentary of his experiences and appreciated asking tough questions that only someone of such international experience would be able to answer. The visitors took pages of notes during this meeting and was able to detail how a Presidential campaign works and the support needed to garner a nomination at the National Convention. He was fascinated with the possibility of Mr. Trump running as a third party candidate in the event he was not the GOP nominee.
Overall, the scholars from the People’s Republic of China and their interpreters, thoroughly enjoyed their stay in Arizona. Immersed in American culture and politics, these individuals had a first-hand look at issues facing our nation and the importance of our elections. Whether elections be for President or a City Council seat, our visitors witnessed democracy in action. They were extremely thankful for having met so many professionals in our state and invited many to take a tour of Shanghai in the event they ever make it to China.