Lasting effect of grassroots movements at Capitol questioned

A crowd of red-clad teachers, students and Red for Ed supporters could be seen from the top of a parking garage near Chase Field as they gathered there on April 26 before marching to the Arizona Capitol. /Photo by Katie Campbell/Arizona Capitol Times

By Paulina Pineda | Arizona Capitol Times

It was the year of the protests at the Arizona Capitol, but lawmakers and a professor disagree on whether the political movements that took hold this year will have a lasting effect.

Lawmakers conducted business for much of the session in front of fired-up audiences of students and teachers protesting for stricter gun laws and higher wages, respectively.

Tom Volgy, professor of political science at the University of Arizona’s School of Government and Public Policy, said the protests are “part and parcel” with what’s happening nationwide.

Volgy said while such movements are usually sparked in more Democratic states, the teacher strikes have all taken place in red states. He attributed that to what he described as a deadlock in Washington, and the increased role of special interests groups restricting public policy choices in state legislatures.

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