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.” Make your voice heard in 2012!
[D]ave Joseph is running for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 11. He is the only Democratic candidate, running against two Republicans, Steve Smith and Adam Kwasman. Although there are two seats open, we are recommending “single shot voting” in this district. This means that we recommend voting only for Dave Joseph, which actually benefits him, as that vote will be weighted in his favor.
Joseph was interviewed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 6, 2012; our questions and his responses are recorded below.
“Just as I wouldn’t want a politician to perform surgery on me, I certainly don’t want them directing caregivers how to speak to and treat patients.”
Tell us a little about your background.
I am a successful business owner and job creator. Over my long career, I have acquired and run local television stations in Arizona, Missouri, and Mississippi. By re-investing and re-focusing resources, I was able to skillfully turn around stations that had been on the verge of bankruptcy. The result was more jobs, better pay and benefits for the staff, and a large return for investors. Recently I have been consulting with the Regional Transportation Authority of Pima County, which has given me an appreciation for the people and processes that make government function.
My wife, Michele, and I have been Oro Valley residents for over 20 years. As the father of three exceptional daughters, I know the value of a great educational system and the importance of unrestrained access to health care.
In the previous legislative session, there were a lot of bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control (HB2625), funding for family planning (HB2800), abortion (HB2036), and unbiased information about unintended pregnancies in public schools (SB1009). What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?
The primary function of government is to protect its people. We should be working to move health policy forward in this state, innovating to lower costs while improving outcomes. The demonization and defunding of Planned Parenthood is another example of the irresponsible choice of serving ideologues over effective and efficient health care. Government has no business intruding in the freedom of our citizens to privately choose medical providers. Planned Parenthood plays an important role in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies by providing access to education, information, and affordable birth control. Further, the recently passed 20-week abortion ban is so intrusive that it is applicable two weeks before conception even occurs. Government and business must refrain from interfering between a woman, her doctor, and her faith.
Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices?
One’s health care is intensely personal. Interference in the process drives people away from seeking care. Just as I wouldn’t want a politician to perform surgery on me, I certainly don’t want them directing caregivers how to speak to and treat patients.
Why do you support comprehensive sex education in our schools?
Knowledge is power. Studies have shown time and time again that comprehensive sex education reduces not just unintended pregnancies, but the spread of potentially deadly sexually transmitted diseases. While I respect the right of parents to opt out, providing accurate comprehensive information provides vastly better results.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
I have been horrified by this current attempt by conservatives across the nation to try to drag us back to a time when women had no options for health care. I do not want my daughters to have to disclose their private life to their employer or be prohibited from making decisions that are right for them. Planned Parenthood has stood strong for women’s health, not just in advocacy — but in providing everyday care to women (and men) across our state. It’s an honor to have their support.
One of your opponents, Steve Smith, sponsored HB1494, which was not passed, but which would have required doctors to inform women seeking abortions that their fetus was a complete and separate human life whom she already had a relationship with, and would have required doctors to give women the address of a crisis pregnancy center, which provide no medical services and work to convince women not to have an abortion. Would you please comment on these ideas?
Mr. Smith’s signs proudly proclaim he is 1776 in 2012, and his legislative record proves it. The concept of the liberty our forefathers fought for includes women. Every woman faced with this difficult decision has the freedom to learn about her options without state interference. As a talent agency manager I do not know what medical training Mr. Smith has to dictate to doctors what they must tell their patients, but it is critical that the integrity of our medical system be protected from this sort of tampering. Women must be able to trust their doctors.
Your other opponent, Adam Kwasman, says on his website that he is 100 percent pro-life. He also says that he thinks parents and not “bureaucrats” should decide what their children should learn and where they should go to school, which means taking money away from public education. I know that you strongly support public education. Do you see this position relating to the health and well-being of women and girls? How so?
The entire Republican slate for LD 11 claims they support education, even as they have supported almost $3 billion in cuts. But they do support education — private education — and are doing everything they can to cripple and crush the public education system in our state.
Our responsibility is exactly the opposite — to find innovative ways and reasonable funding to make our public schools the most effective in the nation. In business, I know how hard it is to recruit and retain talented people. If we really want to build our economy and attract business, we must be able to provide a good educational opportunity to the families we want to come here.
I support the notion of school choice, but we must make sure that charter and private schools play by the same rules and regulations that our public ones do.
Human capital is our most important asset, and providing all our children with the best tools possible will improve the quality of life for us all. For women and girls, these tools allow them to be great contributors to society and to build a successful life for themselves.
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.