Meeting city, state, faith and education leaders on Thursday, Sen. John McComish, of District 18, voiced his continued support for Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to expand Medicaid in the state at a panel hosted by the Valley Interfaith Project (VIP).

Though a recent poll by Magellan Strategies showed the governor’s plan is lagging behind on registered voter support — and heavy conservative opposition still looms against the expansion — McComish and Rep. Heather Carter, of District 15, pushed the expansion that would give Medicaid to about 300,000 low-income Arizona residents.

Brewer was part of a series of rallies at the State Capitol earlier that same day.

VIP’s crowd included nearly 800 people from surrounding churches, school districts and organizations.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Kyrene School District Superintendent Dr. David Schauer also made an appearance to talk about education and immigration reform along with other local government and school representatives.

Schauer told the crowd he plans on meeting with VIP to discuss how to work together for the sake of education, and explained the district’s biggest challenge for capital funding.

“I’d be very excited about having our school leaders come together and really work for community dialogues like this,” Schauer said.

Other organizations represented Thursday included various Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist churches along with Gateway Community College, Arizona Career Pathways and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ahwatukee resident McComish said the event served as enthusiasm for the organizations.

“I don’t think anyone changed their mind, I think they were reinforced in their beliefs about education or Medicaid expansion,” he said. “If you don’t have these kinds of gatherings, organizations lose momentum.”

For more information about VIP, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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