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 midnight today (July 30) — and you can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!
Lorenzo Sierra is one of four Democratic candidates running in the primary in Legislative District 19, which covers the West Valley, Tolleson, and Avondale. Of these four Democrats, Sierra is one of only two, along with Mark Cardenas, to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona because of his positive positions on women’s health and choice issues.
“Planned Parenthood is just one organization that has been unfairly misrepresented by the current legislature.”
Sierra is an accredited business communicator and an experienced community leader who has served on several boards that have had positive impacts on the women and families of Arizona. One of the boards, Parenting Arizona, has worked to increase funding to parenting resources that strengthen home environments for children. Another, Xico, promotes indigenous arts and culture through community-based arts programs.
In July 2012, Sierra shared his views on women’s health and comprehensive sex education in this exclusive interview.
Tell us a little about your background.
I am an Arizona native who grew up in Tucson. I was the first person in my extended family to attend college. I even worked five part-time jobs my senior year at Arizona State University in 1992. I went on to have a successful marketing career with a few Fortune 500 companies. While working for those companies, I was able to serve on several statewide boards, including the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, Chicanos por la Causa’s Parenting Arizona, and Xico. I live in Avondale with my wife Rhonda. My son Adam is a freshman at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. My son Roman is an eighth grader in the Gilbert School District. And my stepdaughter Megan is a double major junior at ASU.
What women’s health care issues do you think should be addressed in the legislature?
In the last legislative session we saw an unprecedented attack on women’s health care. In the legislature, I will work to undo some of the regressive laws aimed at women. I will advocate for a health care program that does not discriminate against women and children. I will also work to ensure Arizona students receive age-appropriate sex education.
Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices?
As I learn more and more about politics, I understand that there are very few black-and-white issues. There are grays in just about every issue. Women’s health is one of the most misunderstood issues. It is my belief that most women do not conduct themselves wanting to terminate a pregnancy. There are circumstances, which, frankly, are not the government’s business. This is one of them. I can only imagine how devastating it is for a woman to have to terminate her pregnancy because of health issues. I believe that choice must be the woman’s alone, preferably with guidance from a loving family and competent medical professional.
Why do you support comprehensive sex education in our schools?
I have a preteen and have been preparing for “the talk.” My hope is to let him know that I trust him to do the right thing, but I want him to understand the ramifications of the choices he makes in his life. While I believe parents should be the primary source of information, I also believe families should be able to access accurate and comprehensive sex education materials and expertise. I support comprehensive sex education in schools because an informed young person is a safe young person.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
I am honored to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood [Advocates of Arizona]. Over the past few years, we have had the misfortune of watching the systematic demonizing of organizations that are providing great services to our community. Planned Parenthood is just one organization that has been unfairly misrepresented by the current legislature. There are only so many ways you can explain the numerous services Planned Parenthood provides. I have come to believe that certain legislators have little regard for the people who would suffer as a result of the dismantling of Planned Parenthood.
Unfortunately, we sometimes find our “friends” speaking out against or not speaking up for Planned Parenthood. I am not sure where my opponents stand on Planned Parenthood, but I know the endorsement process was fair, and earning their endorsement means that Planned Parenthood [Advocates of Arizona] believes in my candidacy and my vision. I will always work hard to reinforce Planned Parenthood [Advocates of Arizona]’s faith in me.
If you are interested in donating to Lorenzo Sierra’s campaign or learning more about his positions on other important issues, you can visit his website at SierraForAZ.com.
If you are not sure which legislative district you’re in click here to find out! 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.