The East Valley NAACP

Some ideas get better the more you consider them. A perfect example: The East Valley NAACP’s December 5 call for a boycott of the city of Prescott over a years-long string of racist remarks and vile musings spewed by the area’s state House representative, David Stringer.

I’ve written about Stringer, a 70-something coot who clearly despises anyone a shade darker than himself, several times before. The representative made headlines again last week when a recording surfaced of a conversation he had with several Arizona State University students. Among the gems contained in this go-round: Stringer’s denunciation of recent immigrants to America on the grounds that they simply aren’t white enough for his taste.

As he put it, “That’s not the case with African-Americans and other racial groups because they don’t melt in. They don’t blend in. They always look different.”

Just so we’re clear, I personally appreciate people who don’t resemble Stringer. A wave of immigrants in horrible toupees should have been made illegal by our Founding Fathers back in 1776.

Stringer’s tonsorial poor judgement  aside, his prejudicial views have never been a secret, not during his first campaign in 2016, nor during his re-election primary and general election campaigns this year. Even so, Stringer easily coasted to victory in 2018.

In the August primary, Stringer earned 25,476 votes, beating his conservative Republican challenger, Jodi Rooney, by more than 10,000 votes. Rooney certainly was qualified to join the state House, having served on the Prescott Valley Council. She’s a fierce Second Amendment supporter and a self-described Daughter of the American Revolution whose campaign raised and spent nearly $40,000.

Still, she was swamped by Stringer, who loaned his own campaign $140,000 this election cycle.

That’s right: The man spent $140,000 to win a job that pays $24,000 a year.

Buying a seat in the State House paid off handsomely on Election Day. Stringer received more than 67,000 votes, easily beating his Democrat challenger, Jan Manolis, who got less than half Stringer’s tally.

In a letter to Rusty Bowers, the incoming House speaker, East Valley NAACP President Roy Tatem Jr. wrote, “A strong example must be made to Arizona, that, in no way, shape, form or fashion will racism, bigotry or intolerance be accepted in our political spaces and from our elected officials. … Until Rep. Stringer is removed from office, the NAACP will recommend a travel advisory on the City of Prescott advising our members, supporters and allies to discontinue any shopping, travel, and lodging in hotels in Prescott, AZ effective immediately.”

My first thought was, gosh, why punish the whole city for the actions of one man – especially after the Prescott City Council on Wednesday, December 5, called for Stringer to step down. Then I thought about it some more. If David Stringer didn’t have 67,000 voters on his side, he wouldn’t be in the State Legislature. These are Prescott residents and business people who in Rooney had an equally conservative alternative to Stringer but absolutely rejected it. Then they voted for him again in November knowing full well they would be sending a racist to represent them beneath the Copper Dome.

Prescott is a beautiful little city, one I’ve visited many times. I’ve had drinks on Whiskey Row, spent the night at the Hotel St. Michael and the Hassayampa Inn, and enjoyed many a meal in the restaurants across from the Courthouse.

That stops now. Why, you ask? Oh, I can think of 67,000 good reasons why none of us should spend a thin dime in Prescott so long as Rep. David Stringer serves in the Arizona Legislature.