State representative candidate holds forum

Analise Ortiz is a state representative candidate running to represent Legislative District 24. (Analise Ortiz/Submitted)

Analise Ortiz, a state representative candidate running to represent Legislative District 24 (LD-24) in the Arizona House of Representatives, held a forum to hear the concerns of local small business owners on June 9.

Throughout the 90-minute forum, topics affecting Downtown Glendale such as rent pricing, community issues, staffing concerns, policy making, and the homeless issue were discussed.

Supporting small business is an important part of Ortiz’s platform.

“When I started coming down here to meet business owners, I realized that they had so much to share with me, there was a lot going on, that business owners care about, and that they want to see changed for the better,” Ortiz said.

“It compelled me to get everybody together in one place to hear about everyone’s concerns to see what common themes and the common threads were, and how we can work together in the future to address all of their needs, and make sure that our small business owners are thriving.”

Ortiz was very pleased to hear such a robust discussion among the business owners in attendance.

“I think people are very hungry to be heard, and for elected leaders to work in partnership to make and keep Downtown Glendale a strong, vibrant place that people across Maricopa County should want to come to,” she said.

Despite being held in the middle of the day, roughly 10 business owners were in attendance. Among them was Monica Ward. Not only did she attend, but she passed around flyers to the local business owners to help ensure the forum would have a good turnout.

Ward, the manager of the gift shop for the Cottage Garden, a local boutique that boasts an array of apparel, accessories, home décor and garden décor, once tried giving Ortiz a call on her cell phone after seeing her number on a flier.

To her surprise, Ortiz answered, and she has been in support of the potential state representative ever since.

“She was open to answer any questions or concerns that I had,” Ward said. “So, that’s why I’m standing with her. I feel it’s important that a lot of things she’s talked about are bipartisan, which is very important right now. She really would like to see this community thrive, and I really feel that she’s truthful about that.”

The Rev. Marcia Garland was another one of the business owners in attendance. Garland is the visionary and owner of the Black Business Coalition in Glendale, a local agency that provides business consultation to black business owners or individuals who are under 18 and have opened their own businesses.

Garland said the discussions were all very fair, and she is hopeful to see change in Downtown Glendale. Like Ward, she stands behind Ortiz.

“That’s all we can do with any arena like this, is that they listen, and when they get to where we want them to be, they’ll remember,” Garland said.

“I use the word hope, because I believe that is what we have to have for any of our elected officials, is that they will do the job that we’re expecting them to do. The question for me is how quickly.”

Ortiz sees Downtown Glendale as “a gem of the city.” The history and culture that the area has accumulated over the years is something that really drew her interest when redistricting put Downtown Glendale in the new LD-24.

Ortiz said that if she is elected, she would be looking forward to working on some “exciting things.”

“There is a lot of opportunity for growth,” she said. “There’s an opportunity for business owners who have been here a really long time to gain new clientele, and there’s an opportunity for new businesses to be here and open their doors and build a name for themselves.

“It is an exciting opportunity, and it’s also something that the community of Glendale really deserves in this time of growth.”

The overwhelming majority of the comments during the forum geared toward the way Downtown Glendale is currently being treated were negatively skewed. One business owner even said they felt the area has been treated like one of the “bastard stepchildren of Glendale.”

While Ward was among those showing her displeasure, she sees a light at the end of the tunnel if Ortiz is elected in August. For her, Ortiz is someone who can provide “proper representation” to the area.

“I would not have gone out and handed out fliers,” she said. “There’s been times that I’ve had a question and I’ll just text her and I always get her, and if I don’t get her immediately, I get her within 10 minutes. I’ve never had that happen in my 27 years of being constituent here in this Glendale community.

“I’ve never had anyone running for higher office that is concerned about this area and is willing to step forward and talk to you.”

A big want for Garland as it pertains to the future of Downtown Glendale is diversity, both racially and in terms of business types.

“It still is where my passion is, is to see real and more diversity,” she said. “Not only racial or socio-economic, but in terms of the businesses that are here (as well). We need a much broader range of businesses. That’s really what I’m hoping Analise -- and her age generation -- will really bring in.”

As far as the job of state representative is concerned, Ortiz knows legislation is challenging and tough conversations often have to be had, but she feels her extensive experience working in legislation advocacy will serve her well in bringing about the change discussed in the forum.

“We need candidates who have the experience and can hit the ground running on day one at the legislature,” Ortiz said. “But it also is an opportunity for us to change the way things are done and make sure that when we go to the state house to represent our communities, that we are there to get things done.

“We aren’t there to bicker to try and find the best media clip for ourselves, we are there to serve as public servants. That’s the approach that I want to take.”

Over the past several years, Ortiz had been working with bipartisan criminal justice reform initiatives at The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. She also played a key role in ensuring the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act be signed into law.

“It takes listening to people, and it takes being willing to come to the table with diverse groups. That’s something that I have experience with and that I’m looking forward to continuing to do as representative of LD-24.”

Due to the race for LD-24 exclusively featuring Democratic candidates, a victor will be decided at the Aug. 2 primary.

For more information about Ortiz and her campaign, visit ortizforaz.com/.