WEEK 2: Advocating for Yourself and Community

Toby C -

Hey! The project is progressing, slowly but surely; this week, I sent out invitations to several city council members asking for some of their time, so that they can share a little about their experiences running for office. One of these leaders, coincidentally, volunteers quite frequently for an anti-substance coalition called MATFORCE, that I’m involved with as well. Even though this project is centered around getting elected to office, I dedicated some of my time this week to exploring an issue that I hope to address once I’m in office.

The Federal T21 Act passed in 2021 prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. However, Arizona’s minimum age for tobacco use is still 18. While in theory, the federal law should trump the states, however, many cities, especially college towns like Tempe have witnessed a gray area when it comes to law enforcement and selling to underage users. In the rare case that they are caught, they’re only slapped with a negligible fine.

What several Arizona municipalities and what MATFORCE has explored doing in Yavapai is appealing to the local city councils to match local legislation with the Federal T21 Act, so that there is no disparity in jurisdiction. When Cottonwood did it before the T21 Act was even passed, they faced mass pushback from the tobacco industry. Even on a local level, it’s an uphill battle to get legislation passed, but I’d love to take this opportunity to delve into that process. This is an issue that’s important to me, and passing it may help strengthen the implementation of T21. Next Wednesday, I’ll be meeting with the Prescott Valley City Manager to discuss this proposition, as well as what it takes to get local legislation passed in general.

Last week, I talked a little about civil discourse (got to be in the Courier for the podcast episode that I mentioned!), and part of my efforts in the coming weeks is going to be working with The Launch Pad Teen Center and Prescott Indivisible to host an intergenerational roundtable to help promote that. In the spirit of sparking discussion around pertinent political topics, I want to do this to bring older folks and youth together to share and contrast viewpoints. After all, the world each generation grows up in is so different from each other, and all have a lot to learn from each other. This week, I met with several potential participants, and it sounds like it’s going to be happening in March. (Leave a comment if you’d be interested in joining~). Part of my goal this week is to solidify the format, topics of discussion, and dates; I’ll keep you posted! As always, thanks for reading, and I’ll see y’all next week!

The Daily Courier story that I got to be a part of!

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