Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ-04) and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego will host a re-election campaign fundraiser for President Joe Biden later this month.
The reception will take place Sept. 28 through the Biden Victory Fund. Tickets range from a $3,300 minimum to $100,000. The location of the event is confidential, for attendees only.
The fundraiser will occur the day after the first Republican Party presidential debate in Simi Valley, California.
The contact for the event, Guicela Sandoval-Lopez, is a political consultant with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Susie T. Buell Foundation.
Gallego told reporters that she’s confident Arizona will remain a blue state in 2024.
The pair are also on the campaign trail defending their incumbency. Though Stanton entertained a challenge to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), he announced at the start of the year that he intended on remaining in the House.
The mayor and her council — along with her former husband and Stanton’s fellow congressman, Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03) — have been petitioning for the Biden administration to declare the desert heat as an emergency. Such a declaration would ensure a consistent and ample source of federal funding for various municipal projects.
The Biden administration appears to be heeding that request. In July, Biden issued several heat relief directives in a joint call with Gallego and San Antonio, Texas Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
Biden’s directives resulted in a Heat Hazard Alert outlining federal heat-related protections, as well as increased enforcement mechanisms by the Labor Department.
Despite those actions and the administration’s estimation of $50 billion in funding to counter heat due to climate change, Gallego told Biden that Phoenix needed more.
“We would love it if Congress would give you the ability to declare heat a disaster,” said Gallego. “We think that could really save additional aid, and that would even more multiply the impact of FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance and Building Resistant — Resilience Infrastructure — the BRIC programs, which are a good start to building long-term solutions, such as energy redundancy for cooling centers.”
The Phoenix mayor has remained a steadfast supporter of the president. She helped his initial campaign as well.
In 2021, Gallego was one of eight mayors invited to the White House to weigh in on proposed infrastructure funding, some of which reportedly went to combating climate change.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego heeded the call of Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner, urging for the addition of a public railroad to the city.
Gallego said that the railroad, or passenger railway, would make long-distance travel easier for both locals and visitors.
“An @Amtrak connection in Phoenix would make long-distance travel easier for Phoenicians and bring more visitors. Let’s get it done!” said Gallego.
The renewed calls for a public railway came after Gardner singled out Phoenix in recent public comments on his company’s intent to expand nationally. Gardner said it was an “embarrassment” that Phoenix doesn’t have his passenger railway company.
“(It is) frankly an embarrassment that we don’t serve such a major, prominent city,” said Gardner.
Amtrak applied for $716 million in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to launch 16 projects nationwide, including Phoenix. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) submitted a proposal to the federal Corridor Identification and Development Program (Corridor ID Program) to assist in the expansion. Additionally, ADOT provided $3.5 million.
Another proponent of the Amtrak expansion into Arizona, Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ-04), claimed that passenger railway would reduce the number of cars and therefore result in significant emissions reductions.
In a press release, Stanton also claimed that a public railway would provide an economic boost for the state.
“[It’s an] opportunity to connect our communities, make them more accessible and productive, and more internationally competitive,” said Stanton. “Opportunity to boost our regional economies with better access to jobs and more private investment along the route. Opportunity to ease congestion along Interstate 10 and help reduce air pollution.”
Likewise, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) said Phoenix needed to join the other major cities in the country served by Amtrak.
“Phoenix is the largest city in the country not served by Amtrak, but thanks to our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re working to fix that,” said Kelly. “This support for the Return to Phoenix Project will finally bring together Arizona communities, the railroads, and Amtrak to develop a comprehensive plan to connect Phoenix and Tucson with passenger rail and connect Phoenix to Amtrak’s nationwide network.”
Public railway, like other forms of public transit, suffers from high crime rates. According to Amtrak police, there were around 6,000 incidents and over 456,400 calls for police assistance in 2021. That’s based on the latest National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data from the FBI.
That’s compared to about 5,000 incidents and 412,000 calls in 2020; around 6,700 incidents and 419,700 calls in 2019; around 6,100 incidents and 254,700 calls in 2018.
Amtrak has 30 routes consisting of 500 stops along 46 states. Based on their latest crime data report (2021), that’s about 12 incidents and 912 calls to Amtrak police at each stop annually.
In a press release on Monday, Amtrak explained that their applications were submitted through the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) programs funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA): the Corridor ID Program and the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program. The essential goal of the programs is to establish a comprehensive national passenger rail network.