Our hosts talk to Jevin Hodge, who is running for office in Arizona’s 6th District against incumbent Republican David Schweikert. After losing his first political race by an incredibly narrow margin, Jevin was inspired to challenge the incumbent in his district. As a young Black man in Arizona, Jevin discusses what he’s seeing on the ground in terms of support and how to get young voters involved.
All episodes begin and end with the 2017 single “Rise” by rock group Betty (www.hellobetty.com)
People who feel disenfranchised from the process believe that they’re talked at and not talked with.– Jevin Hodge (22:12)
In this episode:
What the hosts are pissed about: (03:00)
About our guest, Jevin Hodge: (07:00)
Challenges to Jevin’s political ambitions (13:37)
Why the youth vote matters (18:59)
Getting involved (23:30)
The Hosts Start by Sharing What They’re Pissed About
Gloria is pissed that 60% of the voting eligible populate votes in the presidential elections and only 40% of voting eligible population turn out in the midterm election year.
Carol is pissed that young voters are not connected and they’re very dissatisfied and that they may stay home. The young Black vote was crucial in the Biden-Harris success, so that’s quite a concern.
Sherrye is pissed and worried that voters have nominated 108 Republican (more than 1/3 of primary races so far) candidates for statewide office or Congress who question the legitimacy of Biden’s presidency. The number jumps to 149 when it includes those who have been campaigning on voter suppression laws even in the absence of widespread voter fraud.
Betty is pissed that nine people, who are not elected, will make a decision that impacts women’s rights that flies in the face of what the majority of Americans, regardless of party, believe, which is that Roe v. Wade should be the law of the land.
Jevin Hodge Knows How Much Each Vote Counts
Jevin lost his first race for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors by 403 votes out of 470,000 votes. Instead of being deterred, he quickly declared that he’s running for Congress against Republican David Schweikert, who is a six-term incumbent in Arizona.
At 08:20, he says that democracy is a contact sport, and he commends all of our listeners for being willing to make that contact. Jevin discusses how he is deeply connected to the community in Arizona, where he was raised by a single mother. From Head Start to high school, Jevin participated in local programs and now works with those programs to support the community.
He was the youngest statewide Black official in the entire country when he chairman of the Arizona Democratic party representing 1.5 million Democrats in Arizona. He calls the Board of Supervisors (10:52) “the most important and impactful position in local government than most people have never heard of.”
Up Against Demographics
Carol brings up that Jevin is a young Black Democrat running in a district that is very Republican and overwhelmingly white, which means he’s at a demographic disadvantage. However, Jevin thinks folks are motivated, excited, and fired up for change.
His opponent has been embroiled in various scandals, and Jevin believes that Arizona is longing for change. The economy is a large concern for most Arizonans, and he believes that (15:45) “the most important color in this district right now is green.” People are passionate and worried about the economic situation in the state, and they’re looking for leaders who will protect them rather than harm them.
Despite the successes of the Biden-Harris administration, Jevin admits that the administration and the Democratic Party in general have a communication problem. Republicans take credit for the good things happening on the back of the Democratic party, and Jevin wants to seize the importance of this moment. He’s providing a narrative that highlights the importance of local investment, of creating American and Arizona jobs, and prioritizing basic human and civil needs.
Activating Young Votes
A large problem across the country is lack of participation in the electoral process. Jevin believes the reason behind that is because voters don’t see the government working for them, so it’s time to reinspire them to turn out the vote. In regards to the youth vote, Jevin wants to provide direct opportunities for young people. He offers fellowships to young people in his campaign, and he utilizes social media and college campuses to diversify what political engagement looks like. He’ll even canvass over-21 voters at the bar, if need be!
Getting Out the Vote in the Age of Voter Suppression
The only way to change laws is to change lawmakers, and Jevin calls back to the idea of democracy being a contact sport. At (23:41), he says each person has three things to offer:
All of these things can be donated to a cause or a candidate that you care about. Campaigns are businesses that need resources in order to engage so that they can have further reach, so help your chosen campaign get the message out there.
Voting, Equal, and Reproductive Rights – Yes!
Carol brings up the theme of the podcast, which is that voting, equal, and reproductive rights are all connected. Jevin talks about how there can be a disconnect for voters, and getting out the message for how related these issues are is a priority across the nation.
Jevin finds that when he’s talking to voters, he generally sees three reactions to reproductive rights:
- The base is fired up, even the men, and they’re turning that fire into votes and participation
- Newly engaged or young voters are surprised, which is flipping on a lightbulb that gets them involved in the process
- Unlikely allies, such as “reality Republicans” or “principled conservatives” are outraged by attacks on the Constitution and our inalienable rights but are mobilized around the issue of Roe v. Wade
Jevin is a problem solver – he helps businesses, non-profits, and governments solve their most pressing issues, like combating the COVID-19 pandemic or expanding access to high-quality public education. Born in Tempe to a single mother, Jevin Hodge saw first-hand how our government can help those who need it the most. Since then, he found meaning in public service and giving back.
At home, he leads organizations like the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center, the longest running Head Start in Arizona.