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!
A resident of Southern Arizona since 1973, Rosanna Gabaldón is knowledgeable about the people and priorities of the region. As a member of the First Things First South Pima Regional Council and a member of the Friends of the Green Valley Library, she has demonstrated her commitment both to families and to information access. Gabaldón is currently seeking to represent Legislative District 2 — an area that runs from South Tucson to Nogales — in the Arizona House of Representatives.
“I want to see legislation that we as a state can be proud of.”
Gabaldón took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 5, 2012.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Because my father served in the U.S. Air Force, I grew up with the rich experience of having lived in many different places. In 1973, when my family and I moved to Southern Arizona from Panama, I fell in love with the desert. I have traveled to many different places, but the desert has my heart.
I believe in community service, and it has been my honor to give my time and talents for local art projects, literacy programs, the community food bank, and in support of early childhood development. My biggest challenge and highest award was in 2009 when I won my election to serve as a council member for the town of Sahuarita. I look forward to serving the citizens of Southern Arizona as their next state representative for LD 2.
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?
I would like to see legislation that protects a woman’s right to choose her health choices; this is important to me because if I don’t stand up for what I believe — “Who else?” I don’t appreciate what the legislature has done. I want to see legislation that we as a state can be proud of.
Similarly, there were a number of potentially beneficial bills introduced — such as one that would require health care professionals to make emergency contraception available to rape survivors (HB2331) and another that would require Arizona schools to provide provide medically accurate, comprehensive sex education in grades 7 to 12 (HB2616) — on which no action was taken. Would you work to further legislation such as this, and if so, how would you do it?
Unfortunately, it appears that until we have a Democratic majority in the legislature, bills such as these will continue to have “no action taken.” As a Democrat I will support this kind of legislation and at the same time work to educate our voters. Many citizens are simply not aware of how the state Legislature impacts them every day; because we are outvoted in the House, we [have] to get our message to the streets.
In his Phoenix Arizona Election Questionnaire for State Legislature, your Republican opponent, John Christopher Ackerley, indicated that private or religious employers should be able to opt out of providing contraception coverage to their employees. In your own questionnaire from the same source, you disagreed. Can you expand on why you feel this way?
Employers should not be encouraged to dictate “a woman’s right to choose.” It is discrimination when economic controls are imposed to enforce someone else’s social values on another individual.
In that same questionnaire, you stated that you are “pro-child, pro-family and pro-choice.” Can you explain what each of these stances means to you — and how you believe each impacts Southern Arizona residents?
Pro-child: I have volunteered many hours in support of First Things First, and the lesson I learn over and over again is that children are worth our time and energy. With the right start in early childhood development our children are going to be successful and thrive.
Pro-family: My family is close and I understand how important it is to fill our world with love and understanding. When we stand together, we thrive; when we are unafraid, we are willing to reach out more; when we are confident, nothing can stop us.
Pro-choice: I don’t want the government to tell me what I will do with my body. There is a limit to the amount of control the government should have over my health decisions.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
I don’t always remember what everyone says but I know how they make me feel. Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet and work with volunteers and clients of Planned Parenthood. The response from them has been exceptional and that is why I support Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.
If you’re interested in learning more about or volunteering for Rosanna Gabaldón’s campaign, you can visit her campaign website.
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.