The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November 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 spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” To vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 9 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!
Voters first elected Dr. Eric Meyer to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2008, where he has served on the Education, Government, and Transportation committees. Once again, he seeks to represent the constituents of Central Phoenix, Sunnyslope, and Paradise Valley — the newly redrawn Legislative District 28 — in the Arizona House of Representatives.
He was gracious enough to agree to an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, which took place on September 17, 2012.
“Sex education … should be comprehensive and based on facts and peer-reviewed research.”
Tell us a little about your background.
I attended Cocopah Elementary School and Chaparral High School. I earned a degree in economics from the University of Southern California and a medical degree from the University of Arizona Medical School. My post-graduate training was in the specialty of emergency medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University. I practiced medicine in Portland’s Providence Emergency Department, eventually becoming director of that department.
I returned to Arizona 15 years ago with my wife, Sarah Snell, also a physician, and our two children. While Sarah concentrates on her practice, I serve on the Scottsdale School District Governing Board and in the Arizona State Legislature.
As a member of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix Board of Directors and the Scottsdale Unified School District All-City Athlete Banquet Board, I am a dedicated advocate for children. I have also served as a legislative liaison for the Scottsdale Parent Council, PTO president for Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center, and Scottsdale Unified School District budget committee member.
I believe strong public schools are the bedrock of Arizona’s future. As a school board member for the past eight years, I have gained intimate knowledge of our schools’ needs, and have developed a plan to move our schools forward.
My background in economics and medicine gives me the tools to address the growing problem of access to quality, affordable health care, especially for our children, and to identify ways to diversify and strengthen our economy.
One of your Republican opponents, Kate Brophy McGee, voted both to deny public funding to Planned Parenthood and to prevent taxpayers from being able to claim donations to Planned Parenthood as part of the “working poor donation tax credit” program for charitable organizations. How would you respond to this?
One in five Arizonans is uninsured, well over 1 million residents. Planned Parenthood plays a critical role in providing care to a large group of women in our state that have nowhere else to turn for their health care needs. With the loss of the working poor tax credit, fewer women will get their yearly exams for breast and cervical cancer as well as many other treatments. This is shortsighted and wrong. As legislators, we should be looking at cost effective ways to provide care and detect disease early. Unfortunately, elimination of the tax credit will lead to the opposite. We should not be playing political games with people’s lives; we should be working to ensure that every Arizona resident has access to quality health care.
Your other Republican opponent, Amanda Reeve, voted against Planned Parenthood and reproductive health interests throughout the 2012 legislative session, including a vote for Senate Bill 1009, which effectively requires school curricula to provide biased information to students in promoting childbirth and adoption over abortion as pregnancy options for teens. Do you believe this is the correct way to approach sex ed for students in Arizona public schools? Why or why not?
Sex education in our schools should be comprehensive and based on facts and peer-reviewed research. If we fail to adequately educate our children, we continue down the current path of one in four sexually active teens with sexually transmitted diseases and more than 50 percent of teen pregnancies unplanned. Abstinence is a component of a comprehensive sexual education, but without all options and information being dispensed without judgment, we are doomed to failure.
In contrast to the bad bills supported by your opponents in the previous legislative session, what kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?
Fund education, fund KidsCare, restore AHCCCS funding, remove the broad range of bills that have placed restrictions on women’s reproductive choices, keep guns out of schools, get guns out of bars. The list could go on and on. The legislature has an approval rating in the single digits. The majority and the governor have taken us down the wrong path.
Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices?
Every individual should have the right to choose their own health care path. During this last session, we legislated health care standards, basing this decision not on the safety of our citizenry, but instead on the personal beliefs of lawmakers. We made it a crime to practice standard of care medicine. We should not impose our values on others through legislation, but should instead provide education and an equitable and accessible system that allows Arizona citizens to choose the care that meets their own needs.
Because of the views of the other candidates in the LD 28 House election, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is recommending a “single-shot vote” for Eric Meyer. With a single-shot vote, voters vote for one, and only one, candidate in an election, even though they can vote for as many as two. This increases the chances of the chosen single-shot candidate being elected. Since every voter gets two votes for state representative, if some of the voters use only one, then the candidate receiving that single vote automatically receives a greater percentage of the total votes cast, giving him or her a better chance at winning the election.
In single-shotting a candidate, you are in essence giving both of your votes to one candidate by not giving the second to another.
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! And, 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.