Meet Our Candidates: Dustin Cox for State Representative, LD 9

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 28, 2012. With so many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of this election year can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates,” spotlighting each Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona-endorsed candidate. To vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 30 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

[D]ustin Cox is one of three candidates running in the primary for the new Legislative District 9. This district covers midtown Tucson, the foothills area from I-10 to Sabino Canyon, and as far north as southern parts of Oro Valley in the Oracle Road corridor. With all the redistricting that’s taken place this year, you might not even know what legislative district you’re in — but you can click here to find out!

“No government or legislature should be allowed to dictate health care decisions that should be made by individuals in consultation with their doctors.”

Cox has received much recognition and several awards for his service to the community. He was a Flinn-Brown Fellow in the inaugural class of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. In 2008 he was one of the youngest ever recipients of the Hon Kachina Volunteer Award for a lifetime of volunteer service and improving the health of the Arizona community. He has been a nominee for the Champion for Children and Families Award, and named one of Tucson’s “Top 40 Under 40” community and business leaders. What follows is an exclusive interview conducted with Cox in July 2012.

Tell us a little about your background.

Five generations of my family have called Arizona home. I think that has fostered in me a great love for my community here. It is a big part of what drives my desire to improve this state and fight the extreme measures coming out of our state legislature. It pains me to think that Arizona could be worse off for the next five generations of my family who will call this place home, and that is why I feel I must stand up and say, “Enough.”

I believe my background and experience will help me in serving in the statehouse. I’m a small business owner, I served as executive director of one of Arizona’s oldest nonprofits, and have worked in various other community-focused roles, serving seniors, young people, non-English speakers, low-income earners, and more. I think all of these diverse experiences have given me a valuable exposure and connection to the parts of our communities that need a champion the most.

And, of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am a proud Wildcat alumnus.

What women’s health care issues do you think should be addressed in the legislature?

We must address a whole range of women’s health care issues at the legislature, unfortunately, because so many terrible pieces of legislation were able to slip through in the past sessions. I believe it is imperative that we roll back restrictions to a woman’s right to choose — including, but not limited to, the most extreme definition of the beginning of pregnancy in the United States. I also believe that any restrictions concerning birth control must be repealed.

Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices?

It is a fundamental human right to be able to govern one’s own body. Simply put, no government or legislature should be allowed to dictate health care decisions that should be made by individuals in consultation with their doctors.

Why do you support comprehensive sex education in our schools?

It is imperative that our young people understand their bodies and the health risks associated with sex. It has been shown time and again that comprehensive sex education in schools lowers teen pregnancy rates, lowers transmission rates of STDs, and leads to more responsible actions by our young people.

Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?

It was important to me to have my allies stand next to me in these elections and at the state legislature, as it will take all of us working together to move Arizona forward. Planned Parenthood stands for the same rights and principles that I do, and I am honored to be endorsed by our state’s most prominent and effective defenders of women’s rights.

If you are interested in donating to Dustin Cox’s campaign or learning more about his positions on other important issues, you can visit his website at Remember, regardless of which legislative district in Arizona you live in, you can contact us if you’d like to volunteer for an endorsed candidate in your legislative district.