Arizona’s United Campus Workers backs Miranda Schubert for Tucson city council
Miranda Schubert, candidate for Tucson city council in Ward 6. | Courtesy of Miranda Schubert campaign

TUCSON, Ariz.—In a big step for organized labor in Arizona, United Campus Workers—the union representing graduate students, staff, and faculty at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona—entered the political arena with the endorsement of Miranda Schubert for Tucson’s Ward 6 city council seat.

Schubert is the only union member, queer person, woman, and self-described democratic socialist running for Ward 6 in the primary on Tuesday, Aug. 3. Schubert decided to run for office following her experience organizing with UCW and CAJUA (Coalition for Academic Justice at the University of Arizona). Schubert told People’s World, “UCW showed me that we can do scary things like push back against power if we stand together in solidarity!”

Schubert is running on a progressive platform which seeks to address the concerns of thousands of Tucson residents. In conversations with voters, Schubert notes, “Housing affordability is definitely at the top of the list; this goes for people in the most affluent neighborhoods in the ward, as well as the lower-income areas.”

If elected, Schubert listed a series of steps the city council should take to alleviate the rising costs of housing.

“I’m interested in things like adaptive reuse of old buildings, such as schools that have closed, as well as looking at our zoning and land use to support more density and infill development.” Schubert noted that city-owned land should be used to create affordable and quality housing. The solutions Schubert proposes are applicable not only to Tucson but also to the whole state of Arizona.

Another issue which voters have raised concerns about with Schubert is crime. “A lot of voters also talk about crime in the same breath as homelessness, substance abuse, and harm reduction. I see these all as systemic failures,” Schubert said.

Homelessness is a major issue in Arizona, with more than 10,000 going unhoused in the Grand Canyon State on any given day. In tackling these issues, Schubert advocates a care-based approach rather than punitive measures. She is pushing for more access to union jobs with high wages and benefits, improvement of public transportation, and an increased supply of housing—as opposed to the alternative of increasing the staffing of police departments to deal with homeless persons.

Schubert is set to take on incumbent Steve Kozachik, the once Tea Party Republican turned Democrat. Although Kozachik has switched parties, his financial donors support thoroughly Republican legislation. His donors include auto dealer tycoon Jim Click, who has also contributed to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and FreedomWorks, a conservative think tank which advocates against removing the filibuster.

Schubert’s campaign heralds a new era of progressive politics in Arizona. The prospect of unions playing a larger role in the state’s political arena signals a departure from the current trend of privatization and slashed budgets across the state.

As Schubert correctly noted, “The time has come to be more innovative about how local levers of power can work for the people, by providing more access to housing that’s affordable, truly addressing the climate emergency, restructuring public safety and investing more funds in social services and public works, and encouraging economic development that centers union jobs, sustainability, and social and racial justice.”


Josh Bacopulos
Josh Bacopulos

Josh Bacopulos writes from Arizona.