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Several leaders throughout northern Arizona sign joint statement condemning D.C. takeover
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Several leaders throughout northern Arizona sign joint statement condemning D.C. takeover

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Congress Electoral College

People shelter in the House gallery Wednesday as rioters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

A violent insurrection in the nation’s capital Wednesday may have taken place on the other side of the country, but the tremors were still felt in northern Arizona.

Over a dozen local leaders and several organizations signed a joint statement Thursday condemning the violence as well as what the statement referred to as attacks on the nation’s founding documents.

Those who signed the letter spanned the political spectrum from Democrat Eva Putzova, who recently lost out on her bid for the House of Representatives, to Republican Jeff Oravits, a former Flagstaff city councilmember and talk radio host.

The letter came after a pro-Trump mob forced its way into the capital building, occupying chambers of Congress for hours Wednesday in an effort to stop the certification of votes from the November 2020 election.

“This attack succeeded for several hours in blocking, through threat of violence, the American constitutional process for certifying presidential electors. Representing Northern Arizona from across the personal and political spectrum, the signatories of this letter sharply condemn that assault,” the letter reads.

Among those who signed the letter were Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy and former Mayor Coral Evans as well as several current and past members of the city council including Becky Daggett, Adam Shimoni, Miranda Sweet, Jamie Whelan, Charlie Odegaard, Celia Barotz and Kara Kelty.

Additionally, the letter was signed by the Flagstaff Education Association, the Flagstaff Law Enforcement Association, the Northern Arizona Interfaith Council and the University Union of Northern Arizona-American Federation of Teachers, among others.

“We may not always agree about the virtues or failings of the U.S. Constitution, but we recognize that our hope of living decently with one another rests in shared respect for it. We are proud to join, across our many differences, in affirming our founding document against its attackers this day,” the letter reads.

Coconino County Attorney William Ring also issued a statement condemning the events and accusing President Donald Trump of encouraging “a mob that invaded the citadel of our democracy.”

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“The purported cause for the protest -- that the losing presidential candidate actually won in a landslide -- has no basis in fact or law,” Ring’s statement read. “We at the Coconino County Attorney’s Office are grateful for the heroism of law enforcement that put down the insurrection -- commenced at a time when Arizona’s votes were being counted.”

The Coconino County Board of Supervisors also released a statement late Thursday night condemning the takeover.

“We are all appalled and distressed at the events on Wednesday at the US Capitol building," the statement read. "Democracy depends on the sanctity and safety of processes and the public square of debate, compromise, and decision-making. Coconino County denounces any seditious effort to subvert the lawful and constitutional duties of any elected official in all levels of government.

“As we embark on this new year, with new leaders in our federal, state, and local communities, we encourage every resident of the County to engage in the hard work of civil discourse and compromise for the betterment of our country and communities. The future ahead is a test of our American values and our cherished freedoms and responsibilities. Let us rise to that challenge and succeed together.”

Farther afield, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer released a statement Wednesday condemning the events, as did Governor Doug Ducey.

But not every northern Arizona politician sang the same tune.

In response to Wednesday’s events, Senator-elect Wendy Rogers, who will represent Legislative District 6 after she is sworn in next week, falsely claimed that the mob was made up of “Antifa” members or anti-fascists.

Since the November 2020 election, Rogers has continuously promoted unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, including that “the election was stolen by the Democrats.”

Rogers attended a pro-Trump demonstration coinciding with the events in the capital Wednesday. That event was also attended by Rep. Walt Blackman, according to reporting by the Arizona Mirror.

Blackman has so far been silent on Wednesday’s events on social media and didn’t respond to a request for comment by the Arizona Daily Sun. But over the weekend, he released a podcast episode in which he promoted the idea that the election had been stolen and discussed ways Trump could remain in office.

Updated at 11:21 a.m. for more information. 

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