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Award-winning political blogger, Steve Muratore, publisher of the Arizona Eagletarian.

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My political story

For the last 25 years, I've challenged the status quo by advocating for smoking bans in state-owned buildings and other labor related matters including exposing the dark side of privatization of governmental functions and services; as my children went through public schools, sat on site councils and advocated for improved education for all students; now retired after working for three years in a newsroom covering Arizona state government, I started blogging in December 2010 to provide detailed coverage of Arizona's Independent Redistricting process. In 2014, working with Safer Arizona and the Arizona Democratic Party (as a precinct committeeman and member of the ADP state committee), I wrote and spearheaded ADP state committee approval of a resolution to support that year's proposed citizens initiative to legalize and regulate sales and possession of marijuana for personal, not necessarily medical use.

Why I deserve a Netroots Nation Scholarship

The Arizona Eagletarian stands for Progressive populist issues, monitoring and exposing legislation and regulatory (capture) action at the Arizona capitol. The training sessions at NN15 will be magnified as I share insights learned with an ever growing readership. The Phoenix New Times, said, about my blog: Arizona Democrat Steve Muratore doesn't suffer fools gladly, whether he's wondering whether Attorney General Tom Horne is a "psychopath," accusing a spokeswoman for schools Superintendent John Huppenthal of polishing a piece of merde, or calling out the Capitol Times for kissing up to pro-plutocrat legislators. What makes him different from some online blowhard on a blog like, say, the Daily Kos is that he does a lot of his own reporting and research and offers unique analysis, not just fighting words. He's also fiercely local, focusing on issues such as redistricting that in these days of strained newspaper budgets, do not receive the attention they deserve. Cantankerous and principled, Muratore is a fighter whose motto "The KEYBOARD is mightier than the sword" is especially true when he's typing his latest entry.

What first inspired me to get involved

I have deep blue collar roots. But for blogging, the timing and opportunity was ripe to provide in-depth coverage of 2010 independent redistricting. My writing career began in the mid-1990s when local newspapers began publishing my op-eds and letters to editors on education, labor and Arizona state government. Former AZ governor Fife Symington was a favorite target at the time for my pointed rhetoric.

The blog post I am most proud of

The Arizona Eagletarian's (ongoing) and in-depth coverage of the 2011 independent redistricting cycle dramatically raised citizen awareness of this enormously important process for the people to take back lawmaking power from a legislature which enjoyed its ability to draw gerrymandered Congressional and legislative districts to protect its own interests. Coverage included more than 400 posts to the Arizona Eagletarian. The URL below is one example of the coverage. Further, identifying and calling attention to political shenanigans whereby monied interests act to deceive voters gives me tremendous delight.

More about my political involvement

An active precinct committeeman in Arizona's Legislative District 26, and a member of the Democratic Party's state committee, and on my blog, I advocate for everyday Arizonans consistently. Beginning in 2010 when I volunteered for the summer on John Dougherty's campaign for the Democratic nomination for US Senator, I've supported and worked with local Democratic candidates and members of the legislature to advance public policy and lawmaking that can and will protect the interests of Main Street Arizonans.

How I've gotten others involved

One example, calling on readers to engage in contacting lawmakers and governors, I was the first person to call attention to SB1062 in January 2014, the LGBT discrimination bill pushed by Dominionist/TeaParty Republicans.

Why I think participation in the netroots is important

Like a century ago, the antidote to Gilded-Age Plutocracy is populist activism. The camaraderie and inspiring messaging and training available at NN15 will strengthen the NETROOTS and cause the solidarity among disparate interests to skyrocket. This will serve as an unbreakable foundation for the popular revolution. This revolution of thought and civic involvement is crucially necessary so that We the People, shall strive to perfect the Union and secure the blessings of liberty to the 99 percent, expanding well beyond the 1 percent which now dominates government, lawmaking and public policy in Washington DC and in many state capitols.

My Twitter manifesto on online activism

As Americans increasingly ignore corporate media, we (via social media) reach out. Citizens are thus empowered, not discouraged.

If I could design a bumper sticker it would say:

Tell Congress: Pass Redistricting Reform Act of 2015

My wild idea for a cool new action

In 2014, I started a petition on CREDO that gathered tens of thousands of signatures calling on AZ Gov. Brewer to veto SB1062. Today, with the Kochtopus tightening its grip on state governments, calls to resist and change course are increasingly necessary on a number of topics related to state govt spending, including public k-12 and higher education, non-discrimination, economic justice and many more. To support my bumper sticker idea, I call the AZ gov Scrooge McDucey in honor of his Koch-inspired (charicatured by the Disney character Scrooge McDuck) activity to dismantle government in our state. Last week he signed the ALEC model bill SB1241 which prohibits municipalities from banning single-use plastic grocery bags. To help him understand the scope and magnitude of the problem, I call on citizens everywhere to send him their used plastic grocery bags, instead of making them into wind-blown litter or putting them in regular recycling where they gum up the sorting process.

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