By: Paul Giblin, East Valley Tribune
Congressional candidate Annie Loyd largely laid out her political agenda 18 months ago when she founded the online magazine One Planet. The e-zine, which calls itself a “social entrepreneur publican,” serves as a forum on topics that includes the arts, education, economics, water policy, justice, energy and more.“We’ve had such a focus on what the problems are, but very little focus on what good solutions are. And that’s why we created it,” said Loyd, who serves as co-publisher.
This month’s cover story: “Gratitude: Maintaining Moments of High Resolve.”Her political campaign is built upon similar principles. Loyd, a 43-year-old Phoenix resident, is running as an independent in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District. Republican incumbent John Shadegg and Democratic challenger Bob Lord also seek the U.S. House seat.Loyd said she plans a serious campaign in the urban district that takes in central and north Phoenix, plus Paradise Valley, Cave Creek and Carefree. She formally launched her campaign with a rally at Paradise Valley Park in Phoenix last weekend, but she essentially has been on the campaign trail meeting and greeting voters since February.Shadegg and Lord may spend more than she will during the next 12 months, but she promises she’ll campaign harder. She said she has a core committee of 30 volunteers and a broader network of 300 volunteers already in place.“Nothing seems insurmountable to me,” said Loyd. “It’s not that I’m not realistic, and it’s not that I’m not pragmatic.
There’s an old saying that says you don’t know what’s possible unless you reach for what is seemingly impossible.” The idea of voters electing an independent candidate to a major office seems more possible all the time.Voter registration records compiled by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office show that independents comprised 27 percent of all voters in the district on Sept. 30.That marked a 1 percentage point increase for independents, and conversely, a 1 percentage point drop among Republicans since June 30.Independent voters are engaged with their communities, but they’re fed up with the current state of politics, Loyd said. She plans to reach out to independents, at school board meetings, charitable events, cultural actives and youth sports events.“From the two-party system, the political spin has been independents don’t care, that they’re not active, that they’re not affiliated because they don’t want to make a commitment.
That’s not what they’re saying at all. They’re saying, ‘Neither party represents fully what I believe.’”The very fact that voters are ditching the established parties to re-register as independents illustrates that they care deeply about politics, she said.Loyd’s primary goal is bridging the partisanship among sitting elected officials. Republicans and Democrats alike, she said, are at fault for creating gridlock that has stalled progress on any number of national issues ranging from education to Iraq, immigration, health care and taxes.“It’s not what you typically hear from political consultants. ‘It’s taxes. It’s the war.’ All of those issues are of concern, but No. 1 on people’s minds is how ugly politics has become,” she said.She plans to take what she calls a “transpartisan” approach — and she has experience in that realm. She has worked on both sides of the aisle for years.In addition to working in the public and mental health arenas mostly in California, and running a design/build residential construction firm in Arizona, she has served as a volunteer, paid consultant and staff member for more than 20 years in local, state and national campaigns for both Democratic and Republican candidates.Now, she said, it’s time for a fresh perspective.