Freedom Fighter

Dee Dee Blasé, founder of the Somos Republicans, talks with Senator Dick Lugar. Photo courtesy Dee Dee Blasé.

“This guy is toast!” says Dee Dee Blasé, walking into a Scottsdale coffee shop.

She hurriedly grabs a laptop and Googles Colorado State Sen. Dave Schultheis, a Republican who questioned her organization as being a true Republican group.

“In an attempt to continue to increase their favorability quotient with Colorado’s Hispanic population in the hope of increasing their voting base, Colorado’s Democrats have introduced SB 11-126,” Schultheis wrote on March 19 on his blog.

Blasé doesn’t waste anytime in responding to Schultheis.

“What is holding you back from increasing the favorability quotient with Latinos?” she writes in a letter dated March 21.

Blasé takes offense to this Colorado senator, not only because Schultheis undermines Somos Republicans, a local group Blasé founded, but also because the senator disapproves of Senate Bill 11-126, a proposal in the Colorado State Legislature that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition in colleges. This is the type of activism that Blasé, 39, has been involved with since she quit her finance job over a year ago.

Blasé is a petite woman with long black hair. She has a smile that spans from ear to ear and on this Saturday afternoon she wears tennis shoes, blue jeans, a gray blouse and a blue baseball cap. She just had dropped her son off at home from baseball practice.

When she’s not talking about “crazy right-wing” Republicans or trying to recall Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, Blasé spends time with her sons at baseball practice.

She is a political-activist juggernaut who doesn’t agree with most Republicans, and is out to isolate them from the “real” Republicans. “I want to point out the racists, and put them in a corner.” she says.

The day before Pearce presented the birthright citizenship bill, which would take away so-called “anchor baby” rights and define an Arizona and U.S. citizen as someone who has at least one parent who is a U.S citizen of a legal permanent residence, Blasé partnered up with Halina Reed, founder of Arizonans For a Better Government.

“I ask for information and what I need to recall [Pearce],” Blasé remembers saying to the clerk at the office “I fill out the forms and that’s how it started.” It was birthright citizenship bills that triggered Blasé to go into a full-on effort to try and get Pearce out of office.

“I think we can really do it,” Blasé says. So far Somos Republicans has collected 2,100 signatures. In order to have a successful recall election, the organization needs 7,756 signatures from Legislative District 18, which is Pearce’s senatorial jurisdiction. Blasé has until May 27 to collect the signatures and turn them in to the Secretary of State’s Office.

But like most of Somos Republicans’ volunteers, Blasé works for free — a criticism that Randy Parraz has of the organization’s efforts.

Parraz, an ASU professor at the School of Social Transformation, is also conducting his own Pearce recall efforts with the group Citizens for a Better Arizona.

However, what separates Blasé’s group from other local Hispanic organizations is that the volunteers advocate for Hispanic causes as much as they do for Republican causes. Blasé’s group supports gun rights, is pro-life and against big government and most unions. But Blasé bumps heads with other Republicans on immigration reform. While the official stance of Somos Republicans is to legalize most of the undocumented workforce in the U.S., as well as the undocumented students, she also believes in immigration enforcement.

“I just want to bring my people out from the shadows of society,” Blasé says.

Reach the reporter at uriel.garcia@asu.edu