Meet Our Candidates: David Garcia for Superintendent of Public Instruction

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

dg4az-0315In his campaign for the statewide office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. David Garcia has declared that he will work for innovation in Arizona’s public schools. Backed by appropriate resources — including positive leadership and responsible funding — this would provide better future opportunities to all Arizonans. Included is his commitment to ensure that students are getting the comprehensive, relevant information they need to best make decisions about all aspects of their lives.

As a public high school teacher, I know that my students’ sexual and reproductive health care education is an integral part of their overall education and empowerment. For instance:

  • If I never have another student ask me, “Miss, do you need to be a certain age to buy condoms?” or, “Where can I buy a pregnancy test?” — it will be too soon.
  • In my decade of teaching, I have seen more and more students being comfortable openly identifying as gay — and that’s awesome. But certain portions of our health curriculum, by law, do not allow health teachers to say that being gay is OK — or to give these students the complete and accurate information that is necessary to ensure their sexual health and safety.
  • I have had too many students who were abused as younger children and simply never had the correct words — in terms of consent, in terms of bodily autonomy — to name the wrong for what it was. Consequently, the abuse was long-lasting and the healing slow in coming.

When we empower our children to feel secure in their bodies and their identities, we empower them to pursue their educations, goals, and ambitions. In that light, I am pleased that PPAA has endorsed a candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction — because who we have in that office matters — and even more pleased that they endorsed David Garcia.

Dr. Garcia was kind enough to take the time for this interview on July 25, 2014.


“Planned Parenthood Advocates has taken a bold stance on changing state level leadership. I greatly admire and respect an organization that has the courage to call out policymakers not working for the greater good of Arizonans.”


Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve devoted my career to improving public schools because I believe public education is the great equalizer in society and the reason I obtained the American Dream.

My dad was a commercial painter and my mom a factory worker. I grew up in Mesa, in a neighborhood where my parents still live. I wasn’t a great student, and it took enlisting in the Army for me to turn my life around and get serious about school. After the Army, I attended Arizona State University, becoming the first in my family to graduate from college. I went on to earn a doctorate in education policy studies from the University of Chicago. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Lela Alston for State Representative, LD 24

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

photo of Lela - headshot 4-2014 copyWhen we first interviewed Rep. Lela Alston two years ago, she’d made both reproductive justice and educational reform key issues of her campaign. Now, as she seeks her third term in office, representing the part of Phoenix that is Legislative District 24, her commitment to those issues has not wavered.

Ms. Alston was gracious enough to take the time for a telephone interview, transcribed below, on July 23, 2014.


“It’s wrong for lawmakers to be making medical decisions for people that they don’t even know.”


How has your commitment to serving Arizona grown over the past two years? On the policy level, what has happened during that time to give you hope, and what has happened to strengthen your convictions?

Well, I think what’s happened over the last couple of years is a breakthrough in the relationships between and across party lines. I spent some time in the Senate, way back when, and now I’ve served four years in the House. My first term, back in 2010, was very partisan in nature; there was not much working across the aisle. And, what has happened in the last two years, because of the issues that have come up and the circumstances, there has been a lot of bipartisan interaction and results. For example, we got the expansion of Medicaid passed; we killed bad bills like [SB] 1062. So all of those are hopeful signs to me.

That does strengthen my convictions about participation by individuals in the process. I see more people stepping up, being involved. When I see this, it’s not hopeless.

Last legislative session, you voted against HB 2284, which now permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. How do you explain to constituents the unique nature of abortion care and the need for heightened privacy and safety for patients?

I think that’s very easily explained, due to the past behavior of those people who opposed an individual’s right to choose. By that, I mean their behavior in the past has been to picket medical facilities, harass women who are perhaps alone or nearly alone, going in for advice or procedures or whatever. The harassment has been horrible.  Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • bathroomHobby Lobby continues to be terrible — this time they’re discriminating against a transgender employee who simply wants to use the restroom that corresponds with her gender identity. (Slate)
  • President Obama is decidedly not down with discrimination and is signing an executive order to protect LGBTQ workers — and there will be no religious exemptions for those who think their god gives them a right to discriminate. (NYT)
  • Bill Moyers had Planned Parenthood’s fearless leader, Cecile Richards, on his show for an enlightening discussion about the right wing’s crusade against reproductive rights. Definitely worth a watch! (Bill Moyers)
  • Only in modern-day America would a nurse, who is anti-contraception and refuses to dispense contraceptives, sue over not being hired to do a job in which dispensing contraception is an integral part. (Wonkette)
  • A group of protesters (anti-abortion, of course) interrupted a church service to demand that the worshippers there “repent” for supporting reproductive rights. So yeah, now churches aren’t even safe from these clowns. Ironic coming from people who claim to “serve God,” dontcha think? (Think Progress)
  • More states are recognizing that new mothers on Medicaid who wish to prevent pregnancy aren’t being served well under current rules — and they’re finding new ways to help them. (NPR)
  • Do women perceive other women differently when they’re taking the birth control pill? (Salon)

Meet Our Candidates: Richard Andrade for State Representative, LD 29

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 28 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Rich AndradeA competitive House race is underway in Legislative District 29, a West Valley district that includes Glendale and West Phoenix. Four Democratic candidates are competing in next month’s primary election, and the two winners will go on to face Republican challenger Aaron Borders in the November general election. Mr. Borders proudly touts his opposition to abortion rights, so it will be important to support our endorsed candidates in November.

The Democratic candidates are preparing for the primary election, which will be held on August 26. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed three candidates running for House in LD 29: Richard Andrade, Denice Garcia, and Ceci Velasquez. Below is an interview with Richard Andrade — watch this blog for interviews with Ms. Garcia and Ms. Velasquez, both of whom we hope to feature in the Meet Our Candidates series!

Mr. Andrade took the time for an interview on July 16, 2014.


“Our government has no business interfering in a person’s health care decision.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I am a native of Arizona, an Air Force veteran, proud union member with SMART, a certified locomotive engineer. The reason I am running for state representative in LD 29 is I believe we need better paying jobs with benefits and health care. We need to take care of working families, who are struggling every day to make a living. They need the tax breaks, not big corporations and big businesses. Our education is near the bottom and we need to invest more into our education to prepare our children for the 21st century, which was evident in the recent court ruling on Prop 301, where the state has to pay back education in the sum of $316 million to start. Another deciding factor to run for office, legislation that gets introduced, which targets certain groups of people and our rights.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed HB 2284, the warrantless inspection bill, which permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. What do you think about the need for heightened privacy and safety for patients seeking reproductive health services?

Once again our rights are being targeted. The need for heightened privacy and safety for patients is needed due to HB 2284. Legislation will have to be introduced in order to keep a patient seeking reproductive health services private and safe. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Martín Quezada for State Senator, LD 29

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 28 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Martin Quezada 2014The 29th legislative district’s current state senator, Steve Gallardo, is not seeking reelection, and now Martín Quezada and Lydia Hernández are vying for the open seat in the Democratic primary election. Martín Quezada has deep roots in Legislative District 29, a West Valley district that includes Glendale and West Phoenix. He has used his background in law and passion for public service to represent the interests of his constituents, standing strong against bad bills that have been introduced over the past several years.

In so doing, he’s stood up for reproductive-health patients’ right to privacy, fought for the dignity of the LGBTQ community, protected the right to receive an abortion after 20 weeks, and fought to keep state funding for preventive health-care services provided through Planned Parenthood Arizona.

Mr. Quezada and Ms. Hernández have served alongside one another as seatmates representing LD 29 in the House; however, when it comes to reproductive rights, they could not be more different. This race could very well be decided in the primary election, highlighting why it’s so very important to vote in every election — including the primaries!

Mr. Quezada generously took the time to answer our questions on July 19, 2014.


“My opponent differs from me in several areas, but women’s rights and women’s health choices is one of the clearest distinctions.”


It’s great to talk to you again! How has your commitment to serving Arizona grown over the past two years? On the policy level, what has happened during that time to give you hope, and what has happened to strengthen your convictions?

My commitment to serving Arizona has grown tremendously over the past two years since I’ve gained a deeper understanding of how to be an effective legislator. During my first full term, as a “rookie,” I’ve used this time to learn as much as possible and improve my skills as a legislator. I’ve been hugely successful in that regard and my performance reflects that. Through that learning process, my appreciation and love for public service has only deepened.

On the policy level, we saw Democrats make significant achievements with the help of a few moderate Republicans to pass significant legislation that would benefit the entire state. Those achievements, though politically difficult, gave me hope that more successes and better policy could be enacted in the future.

Yet, my convictions were strengthened because of some of the extreme and hyper-partisan bills pushed by the Republican Party. Some bills this past year that were extremely homophobic or blatantly discriminatory in nature reminded me that despite our advancements, that type of hatred is still alive and well, and we need to be vigilant in our efforts to defeat those efforts. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Rich Bauer for State Representative, LD 24

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 28 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

RichBauer2014Rich Bauer has spent his entire life involved with the area that makes up Legislative District 24, which encompasses portions of both Phoenix and Scottsdale. Because of this, he feels a deep commitment to the place he calls home and the people within it, which is why he seeks to represent those people in the Arizona House of Representatives.

Mr. Bauer took the time for this telephone interview (transcribed below) on July 11, 2014, to discuss his positions on some issues most relevant to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.


“I can promise you that I’ll have your backs.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I was born and raised in Central Phoenix, District 24. I raised my children in Central Phoenix. I was raised by a small businessman; he owned a chain of optical stores. And I’m married to a woman who is a small business owner. I spent my entire adult life with the Phoenix Fire Department; I just retired a couple months ago. I retired as a captain.

On my days off from working a 56-hour work week on a fire truck, I was director of community programs for Phoenix Fire Fighter Charities, where in the past 10 years, I was able to raise $12 million to put back in the community without using a nickel of taxpayers’ dollars.

One of the biggest accomplishments is that I took the highest ZIP code for drowning in the nation — we spec’d every pool in that ZIP code through contributions. We brought that drowning rate to zero, and it remains at zero today.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed HB 2284, the warrantless inspection bill, which permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. What do you think about the need for heightened privacy and safety for patients seeking reproductive health services?

I think they should notify every organization before they do an inspection when that organization involves medical care, because of HIPAA laws, privacy, and that person’s care. I think it [HB 2284] was a deliberate bill to go overboard, to do nothing but harass Planned Parenthood. And I truly believe that they’ll win their day in court. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Ken Clark for State Representative, LD 24

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 28 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

LampLeft.com-66-cropped-BWA longtime Arizona resident with previous legislative experience, Ken Clark seeks to represent Legislative District 24, located in Central Phoenix, in the Arizona House of Representatives. In addition to receiving Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s endorsement, Mr. Clark has made economic development, sustainability, and LGBTQ rights prominent issues in his campaign.

Mr. Clark graciously took the time for an interview on July 16, 2014.


“The constant and intentional confusion about science in order to win a political or moral debate is reprehensible.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I moved to Arizona in 1982, as an Air Force dependent. As a child in Southern Arizona, I learned to value the natural beauty of the state, as well as the need to protect the environment.

We moved to Germany in 1985, where I attended high school, followed by my undergraduate studies at Northern Arizona University. I completed my master’s degree at the American University in Washington, D.C., and I spent about two years after that in Sarajevo, where I produced radio programming all over Bosnia.

I returned to Arizona in 1998 and pledged to stay here, where I could work for positive change.

I ran for office and won in 2002, and served in the legislature for one term.

I chose not to run again in 2004, and was asked by Gov. Napolitano to direct the State Energy Office.

After directing that office for about a year and a half, I worked on several political campaigns. I reported to Kyrsten Sinema as the manager of the 2006 Arizona Together campaign [which successfully opposed an anti-marriage equality ballot initiative].  Continue reading