Ousting of Senator Leah Landrum Taylor from Democratic Leadership Post Leaves Black Leaders Fuming, Feeling Disenfranchised

Categories: News

Senator Leah Landrum Taylor speaks at a rally supporting Pastor Warren Stewart for the District 8 City Council seat.

A move by Arizona's Democratic senators that booted Senator Leah Landrum Taylor from her post as the Senate minority leader on Tuesday has infuriated leaders of the black community.

The decision is causing further strain on the relationship between black and Latino leaders in Phoenix.

See also:
-Black Leaders Struggle to Retain Power in a District They've Historically Controlled

About 25 black leaders had gathered on the steps of the Calvin C. Goode Municipal building to rally African-Americans to vote on November 5 -- and to support Pastor Warren Stewart, the only black candidate in the District 8 race.

A loss by Stewart would mean no black representative on the Phoenix City Council. With that weighing on their minds, leaders then learned about Landrum Taylor's fate.

After the press conference, several leaders fumed in heated conversations about Landrum Taylor -- the state's highest and only black representative -- being removed.

"She's done nothing wrong," said Luther Holland, a retired pastor who's ministered to the community for about 45 years.

He and other black leaders are calling on the Arizona Democratic Party to demand that its state senators apologize.

That's unlikely to happen anytime soon.

DJ Quinlane, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, said they, too, were caught off guard by the unexpected leadership change.

"I don't think a lot of us really know yet what happened," he said. "It's premature to label this as racism or sexism. Clearly, the caucus made a decision, we don't know the reasons for that yet."

He's confident things will be smoothed over by the next session, and Democrats will come together because "the policies that Republicans are pushing out hurt all Arizonans."

"We're here to bring together our very diverse coalition," Quinlane said, adding that leadership battles within political parties were not uncommon. "We're here to heal the wounds that occur after these types of battles."

Holland, however, had no problem calling it blatant racism.

"Am I playing the race card? Yes," he said to New Times. He explained that it was because the state's Dems are "treating me like I am a member of their reservation. I'm not on their reservation. I'm not on their plantation. They did to Senator Leah Landrum Taylor what I would expected they would do 75 years ago. But not in 2013."

Black leaders said that Landrum Taylor has been a loyal member of the party and has done nothing to disgrace it.

It all started when the state's Democratic senators met Tuesday morning to select a replacement for Senator Linda Lopez of Tucson, who was stepping down form her post as assistant minority leader.

There was "robust discussion" at a closed-door meeting where Senator Steve Gallardo of Phoenix made the motion that promoted Senator Anna Tovar of Tolleson to Senate minority leader.

After the initial vote, several members walked out.

Senator Lynne Pancrazi of Yuma ended up being selected as the assistant minority leader, and Gallardo stepped in as minority whip.

Gallardo insists that it wasn't personal.

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That is BS, I have read her CREDENTIALS 's,  she is MORE than Capable ,what for ? I hope she SUES

ExpertShot topcommenter

Ms. Taylor has since apologized for her comments - Next time "Try a little tenderness!"

ExpertShot topcommenter

I was shocked to attend various community meetings in the black community prior to the elections in November and hear the people in those meetings talk about "our people" deserve representation as if they were separate from us all.  I was the only pigment challenged person there and if a black person had been at an all white meeting and heard what I heard, they'd have probably pointed out that this kind of language stinks, when it's used by any ethnic group to motivate their members.  The fact is, people of all colors live in our community and people need to get together because there are a whole lot bigger enemies we have to face than each other.  Maybe the folks will realize that if they don't get off their butts and start working for serious change, their concerns will become irrelevant.

APS, for example, is waging an all out war on our future and whether or not we have to face the dirty polluted air, water and land which they want to produce, or do we have a smart, strong, reliant renewable energy system. 

There's also the auto and metal recycling centers in our South Phoenix community which have polluted our air, water and land to such an extent that it's ridiculous. 

Now that one of the major actors has been busted for money laundering and running a chop shop, maybe we can focus our attention on these grease pits and demand that they clean up their own mess and not leave it for the taxpayers.


Arizona has over 6 million people, with over 2 million LATINOS.....welcome to the boom town" ....about  time  they flex there political muscle !


Disenfranchised ? Mr. Holland needs to practice what he preaches. peace


I think Steve Gallardo does, indeed, need to get into "that", whatever this new direction could be, if this is the justification for throwing Taylor under the bus.

valleynative topcommenter


I'd feel better about that if you could spell "their" correctly.


@valleynative @FRONTERA This a major issue and you are worried about one spelling mistake? This is a fine example on how people's sense of priority are sorely lacking.

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