Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WHY was Leah Landrum Taylor ousted as Senate Minority Leader?

Tuesday's big story was the surprising ouster of Leah Landrum Taylor from her position as Minority Leader of the Arizona Senate. The Arizona Capitol Times picks up the story,
In a dramatic turn of events, Senate Minority Leader Landrum Taylor was ousted as minority leader by her party-mates following a closed-door meeting in the Senate today.
Sen. Anna Tovar, D-Phoenix, was elected as the new leader of the Senate’s Democratic caucus.
Senators cast private votes, 8-5, to remove Landrum Taylor and promote Tovar, who served as the minority whip during the 2013 legislative session.
Landrum Taylor and Sens. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, David Bradley, D-Tucson, Olivia Cajero-Bedford, D-Tucson, and Barbara McGuire, D-Kearny stormed out of the caucus room immediately following the vote...
Landrum Taylor was dumbfounded and furious about her ousting, telling the Arizona Capitol Times that the vote was “the most blatant, racist, disrespectful move I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Landrum Taylor said there is no valid reason to remove her, since her leadership team had been effective in the last session.
“This is the most arrogant, inconsiderate group of individuals I have been a part of and I will never set foot in that caucus room again,” Landrum Taylor said.
The Democrats had met to elect a replacement for Lopez, D-Tucson, who had resigned her leadership post to focus on a new job in Tucson.
But Landrum Taylor said Gallardo opened up the floor to elect a new leader and nominated Tovar to the position.
Additionally, the Capitol Times talked with Lopez who also played up claims of racism and sexism. Besides the fact that nearly the entire story was strangely set with one sentence paragraphs, one has to reflect on whether Landrum Taylor was the best person to determine whether there was "no valid reason to remove her."

Might it not have been a good idea to ask those who voted to replace her what they were thinking? I find it completely implausible that this action was taken for absolutely no reason. Furthermore, given the lashing out at her colleagues -- calling them the most arrogant, inconsiderate group of individuals I have been a part of -- anyone who has ever studied group dynamics at all would see that as an immediate RED FLAG and indicative of HER so-called leadership of that group.

Do you think that if she had held them in higher regard in the first place, they would have even considered removing her from leadership?

The Arizona Republic's Alia Beard Rau reported,
Landrum Taylor, who is running for secretary of state next year, appeared stunned by developments and said she was furious with the decision.
“They said I could not possibly run for state office and serve as the leader in the Legislature,” she said, adding that prior male leaders have done just that numerous times. “It’s disgusting and degrading.”
Landrum Taylor also alluded to possible racial motivations, saying some had alleged that she represents too small a percentage of Arizona voters. Landrum Taylor is the state’s only African-American state lawmaker. Tovar is a Latina.
At least Rau had the sense to not simply transcribe every last bit of Landrum Taylor's verbal tirade.

The New Times, however, threw gasoline on racial fires that have been burning for years between Hispanic and Black leaders in Phoenix. It posted a photo of Landrum Taylor speaking at a campaign rally for Phoenix City Council candidate Warren Stewart, at the top of the story.
A move by Arizona's Democratic senators that booted Senator Leah Landrum Taylor from her post as the Senate minority leader on Tuesday has infuriated leaders of the Black community.

The decision is causing further strain on the relationship between Black and Latino leaders in Phoenix.

About 25 Black leaders had gathered on the steps of the Calvin C. Goode Municipal building to rally African Americans to vote on November 5 -- and to support Pastor Warren Stewart, the only Black candidate in the District 8 race.

Stewart's political loss would mean the Black community would not have a representative on the Phoenix City Council. With that weighing on their minds, leaders then learned about Landrum Taylor's fate.

After the press conference, several leaders fumed in heated conversations about Landrum Taylor -- the state's highest and only Black representative -- being removed.
Are not journalists are supposed to ask -- Who, What, When, Where, How and Why? In politics, isn't the underlying cause -- the WHY -- often the most important thing readers need to know? 

A source familiar with the situation told me this evening that Landrum Taylor knew, for weeks, that this was coming. It also appears Landrum Taylor was given the opportunity to save face and mutually agree to a leadership change ostensibly to allow her to run a more focused campaign for Secretary of State.

It doesn't appear she was interested at all in taking her colleagues up on such an offer.

According to the New Times story, Black leaders are demanding the Arizona Democratic Party tell the Senate Democratic Caucus to apologize to Landrum Taylor.

Exactly who is supposed to be accountable to whom in this situation, anyway?

Going back to issues discussed and deliberated on during the redistricting process, I'd be asking whether just having a presence in the legislature is what Black leaders want, or do they actually want to have a say in determining public policy in Arizona?

And frankly, given the lack of composure demonstrated by Leah Landrum Taylor in this episode, I would say she has made it clear she is NOT a good candidate to become the top election officer in our state.


  1. KJZZ did a story on this too, but they basically just quoted the CT. I want to know what happened and hear all the sides.

  2. I missed this one, Steve. Thanks for the info. Geez.

    1. Gotta keep up with the Arizona Eagletarian in order to keep up with Arizona. Thanks for the feedback, dear friend. :)

  3. I hate saying this but I'll take a Democrat with whatever baggage Taylor has, over any Republican. No sensible, fair-minded person should trust a single one of them to be anywhere near an office that has influence over how our elections are held.

    1. LLT succeeded in disclosing that she is personally incapable of coping with the level of pressure that comes with campaigning for and serving in a statewide office.

      Her positions on issues of concern in current public policy and lawmaking debates were overshadowed... overwhelmingly.

      The specific statements she made are a dramatic reflection of the level of key interpersonal skills that are critical for success in representing the interests of others as a lawmaker but even more so as the top elections the state.

  4. Steve I for one am sick of the cry of racism when one faction or another does not win or get their way politically. The way I look at this is that a group of senators felt that Sen. Anna Tovar can do a better job. And knowing what a dedicated public servant Anna is I’m sure she will make the Democratic Party proud.