Athena Salman forced to apologize after “tampon pillow” fiasco

PHOENIX — State Representative Athena Salman was forced to apologize to her colleagues this week after sending them unsolicited pillows made out of feminine hygiene products.

Salman represents the state’s 26th legislative district, which includes the Tempe area. She and a group of political activists affiliated with various criminal justice reform organizations like #cut50 — founded by Van Jones, President Barack Obama’s “green jobs czar” — planned to distribute Kotex pillows to all members of the state legislature.

The demonstration, intended to mimic pillows strung together by female inmates, wasn’t received well by her fellow lawmakers.

“That was a mistake and I am sincerely sorry to any of my colleagues or staff who felt uncomfortable,” Salman told the Arizona Capitol Times. “It will not happen again.”

The apology came after several members of the state legislature submitted complaints about the unsolicited deliveries to their offices.

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard said that the interruption — during the middle of the legislative session — was compounded by Salman’s decision to be followed around by group of cameras, which was perceived by members as an unfair “‘gotcha’ moment,” according to the newspaper.

The House Democratic Caucus had previously bragged about the demonstration on Twitter, publishing a photograph of Salman and the activists in front of the capitol.

Salman is seatmates with State Representative Isela Blanc, who was arrested in Washington, D.C., last week during a protest in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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NRCC hits Tom O’Halleran for “no” vote on tax reform — to backdrop of new Cox bonuses

PHOENIX — Cox Communications announced this week that its employees in Arizona will be receiving pay increases, and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) took the opportunity to remind families that Congressman Tom O’Halleran voted against the tax reform package that made it possible.

The telecommunications company has 3,200 employees in Arizona and is offering bonuses between $1,000 and $2,000 to all of them.

“This change in the tax rate favorably affects our cash flow and allows us to accelerate investment in infrastructure, technology and product development,” the company said. “Sharing some of those tax reform benefits with our employees is the right thing to do and a way we can thank our employees for their hard work.”

But not all elected officials in Arizona support the legislation.

O’Halleran, a Democrat, represents the state’s first congressional district. He voted “no” on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, which President Donald Trump subsequently signed into law. The NRCC said that middle-class families across the state are “celebrating” the tax package.

“Who’s not so happy about it?” Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the organization, asked in a press release. “Tom O’Halleran, who voted with Nancy Pelosi against these tax cuts and bonuses.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi visited Arizona in February 2018 to make the Democratic Party’s case against the tax cut package. However, Pelosi skipped the Tucson part of the “tax scam” tour attended by Congressman Raul Grijalva, also a Democrat.

Tucson Electric Power, a utility in southern Arizona, recently announced that it is seeking ways to pass along the benefits of the legislation to consumers. Arizona Public Service (APS) did the same, requesting a $119 million rate decrease from the Arizona Corporation Commission.

According to a poll released three weeks ago, the tax reform package has significantly increased in popularity since its passage.

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