Photo by Aaron Ricca.
KINGMAN – It was the third meeting in as many months, and the Kingman Progressive Alliance continues to grow.
Monday night’s meeting at Calico’s included a mix of about 30 Democrat, Libertarian, independent and maybe even a hint of Republican voters.
Sarah Ferry and her mother, Beth, organized the group earlier this year. What started out with eight people and commitments to bring friends has blossomed into an almost standing-room only fixture.
“It came about after the election,” Ferry said. “My mom felt like there was a group of people we could engage with locally.
“We wanted there to be another voice in the community and also to be nonpartisan so to make people feel welcome. Something different that anyone could get involved with.”
Ferry joined forces with her husband, T.J. Finn, to identify core values and avenues of action.
The core values include community, inclusion and diversity, education, empowerment and activism. Some of the possible actions on the horizon include Kingman Airport improvement, curbside recycling, conservation and downtown revitalization.
“We’ve had people come in to talk and express their views,” said Beth Ferry. “We just ask that you listen and respect those views.”
“Our motto is ‘Educate, organize and mobilize,’” she added. “We are multi-faceted.”
Pilot and airport business owner Paul Gaines was one guest speaker. He expressed his disdain for the way the Kingman Airport Authority has been handling, or lack thereof, airport assets.
Gaines is calling for a forensic audit of the KAA.
“The problem is that we have an underperforming asset,” he said. “We’re here to try to fix that.”
He passed around copies of letters directed at Mayor Monica Gates and city council for concerned residents to sign and deliver to city officials, mainly during Tuesday night’s city council meeting. It read:
“I have been following the issue of the Kingman Airport and Industrial Park management/contract for a while. Financial clarity is important. As a concerned citizen of our community, it is apparent that we need some answers. The physical appearance and lack of activity in our strategically placed asset has been disconcerting for quite some time. I think a FORENSIC audit is easily justifiable for this multi-million dollar resource, and I encourage this council to bring this up for a vote in a timely manner.”
He mentioned an as yet unnamed group of people willing to finance an audit should city council decide not to.
On a lighter note, Kingman’s next generation of voters were present to spread word of their efforts to inspire political interest in local government.
Kingman Academy High School senior Hailey Sealy spoke on behalf of area youth and encouraged meeting attendees to check out her KPA Youth Facebook page and pass the link on to teens and younger college-aged students hailing from Kingman.
Jonathan Winder, co-organizer of the Arizona Libertarian Party’s Mohave County branch, was another guest speaker. He spoke of efforts to fight the recently signed into law, Republican sponsored HB 2404, that affects the initiative and referendum processes by increasing requirements on paid petition circulators in Arizona.
“It’s already difficult to get an issue on the ballot without paid help,” Winder said. “The bill that (Governor Doug Ducey) signed makes it more difficult.”
He is, at the least, seeking petition circulators before the next major elections.
KPA has its work cut out, and Ferry is ready for action.
“We want to help Kingman become more progressive and empower people to be more involved and part of the decision-making process,” she said.
“We’ve become more involved locally. We’re just trying to have a sense of community,” she said. “If we come together on an issue, we can get things done.
Ferry said KPA welcomes everybody.
“We just want a positive environment. There’s so much negativity right now.
“In order to make progress, we have to come together,” she said. “If we’re divided, we can’t get anything done.”
The next KPA meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 5 at Calico’s, 418 W. Beale St. For more information, check out the Kingman Progressive Alliance for Positive Change Facebook page, or email Ferry at KPA4positivechange@gmail.com.