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!
Manuel Cruz, mayoral candidate in the City of Glendale, made time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona volunteer Liza Love on September 16, 2012. Read further to find out why we endorse his candidacy!
It speaks volumes that Manuel Cruz, a busy father, husband, businessman, and community leader who also happens to be in the full swing of his campaign, has also made us a priority. But it is through these many lenses that Cruz is fully able to understand the needs of Glendale residents and have the utmost regard for the people he seeks to serve. His comprehension of the issues ranges from Glendale policy and economics, to LGBTQ rights, health-care access, and family planning. There is no topic that this candidate is not ready to take on.
It is clear why Mayor of Phoenix Greg Stanton said the following when endorsing Cruz in July:
Manuel Cruz is exactly the kind of person that the people of Glendale need as their next mayor. He has the heart, passion, vision, and work ethic to lead the city beyond its current challenges and toward a strong future — and is committed to doing so in a transparent manner, engaging the citizens of Glendale every step of the way. When neighboring cities do well, we all do well, and I look forward to working with Manuel Cruz to build a robust, diverse regional economy that benefits us all.
“Choices made regarding one’s health care are best left to … the person making the choice and that person’s physician.”
“As a longtime Glendale resident, and fourth generation Arizonan, I am committed to my family, friends, neighbors, and citizens of Glendale,” Cruz told us. He currently serves as a volunteer commissioner on the Glendale Neighborhood Commission, Committee on Neighborhood Grants, Water and Sewer Rate Task Force, and as a volunteer board member for several area nonprofits, including the Arizona Advocacy Network.
Cruz, who has a blended family of five children with his spouse Valerie Revering, not only has a firm grasp on the economic and political needs in Glendale, he also has an understanding of what real families in Glendale are dealing with in every aspect of life, including health care and family-planning access, comprehensive sex-education reform, and domestic partnership rights for Glendale residents and city workers.
When asked about the importance of people being able to make their own health care choices, Cruz responded, “Clearly, choices made regarding one’s health care are best left to those who best know — the person making the choice — and that person’s physician [or] health care professional. Nobody else has all the necessary information.”
Family-planning access is an integral aspect of quality health care, and Cruz believes that “Planned Parenthood provides services to individuals who may not be able to independently afford such services. It is about a person’s health, not politics.” As part of his support for Planned Parenthood’s mission, Cruz has committed to assisting Planned Parenthood Arizona in opening a new health center as well as supporting the existing health center in Glendale.
At present, the City of Glendale has no LGBTQ employment protections and no domestic partner benefits for city employees. Cruz says that he will work to offer support for comprehensive health insurance for city employees (and their domestic partners) so that everyone is granted the same employee and health benefits. “I will work to ensure everyone is equal in the City of Glendale,” he told us. “And that means equal treatment for City of Glendale employees.”
The other candidate for Glendale mayor, opponent Jerry Weiers, is a former state representative (LD 12) who earned a failing grade from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona after voting in favor of the bad bills that were passed in the previous legislative session, including HB2625 (which restricts access to birth control), HB2800 (which restricts funding for family planning ), HB2036 (the 20-week abortion ban), and SB1009 (which requires public schools to give biased information about unintended pregnancies). Weiers’ positions are in complete opposition to LGBTQ rights; access to family-planning services; adding sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to antidiscrimination ordinances; and providing a domestic partner registry for unmarried couples, regardless of sexual orientation. Cruz, however, is for all of the above, and he will work within the city government and with Glendale residents to ensure that “everyone is equal.”
In response to Arizona’s sky-high teenage pregnancy rate and failed abstinence-only education policies, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, along with other mayors across the state, has cited a need for an education initiative that places a higher value on comprehensive sex education.
“Knowledge is power,” Cruz says in regard to evidence-based sex education programs. “Comprehensive sexual education has demonstrated for years that such programs provide knowledge that leads young people of both sexes to make informed choices. I fully support comprehensive sex education that is age appropriate.”
Given his strong background in the areas of occupational safety and health, mine safety, and hazardous materials handling, plus past experience as an explosives engineer, safety director, and miner, it’s no surprise that he also devotes time as the CEO and executive director for the Abandoned Mine Safety Organization, Inc. This organization is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing abandoned mine safety education to Arizona children, along with working to close dangerous abandoned mines in Arizona. Since spring 2011, when the nonprofit was founded, there have been no deaths at abandoned mines in Arizona — the longest stretch of time in more than 12 years.
From Glendale business owners to “ordinary” residents who care about the community in Glendale, support for Cruz reaches beyond politics as usual and gets to the core of what he believes is possible for the city and its residents. Amid the nuts and bolts of Glendale’s economy and day-to-day politics, it would be easy to disregard matters that are crucial to PPAA’s mission. This candidate is not only a master of all topics at the heart of Glendale’s concerns, but also his view is broad enough to encompass and actually embrace all of Glendale’s residents, and every issue that matters.
If you’d like to learn more about Manuel Cruz’s campaign — including endorsements and positions on other issues — you can check out his campaign website at CruzForMayor.com, his Facebook page, and Twitter @cruzforglendale.