The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting today. 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!
[E]ric Shelley, like both of his parents, was born and raised in Arizona. He grew up in Mesa and graduated from Westwood High School, after which he received a degree in psychology from Arizona State University. Since then, Shelley has worked for the same employer — a large health benefits company — for the duration of his career. His current role involves planning budgets and determining the number of new employees the company needs to hire. Shelley says this makes him “a true job creator.”
“Legislators … are not doctors and should not insert themselves into decisions that patients and doctors should make.”
According to his website, after more than 20 years in the private sector, Shelley “understands the challenges faced by employees and employers alike.” Additionally, Shelley’s role as a community activist has brought him into contact with Arizonans who have fallen on hard times. Shelley refers to them as “Arizonans who have worked hard, played by the rules, and yet still find themselves losing their jobs, their homes, their dignity and their security.” People like these have inspired Shelley to want to “work hard to help our neighbors find solutions to these challenges and get our state back on track.”
Eric Shelley is running to represent the newly drawn Legislative District 28, which includes Paradise Valley and parts of Phoenix. He took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 7, 2012.
How will your career in the field of health benefits inform your decision-making process when considering health-care-related bills?
My experience in health care goes beyond the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I grew up around health care professionals. My mother is a nurse practitioner and my sister is a physician’s assistant. I understand that medical issues are complex and highly personal. Public policy makers should take steps to increase access to the entire range of health care services.
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) — and your opponent, Adam Driggs, voted in favor of all of them. Do you feel that his views are consistent with the majority of Arizonans?
Sen. Driggs has cast many votes that are completely out of touch with the views of Arizona voters. With his votes on less money and more guns for Arizona schools, votes to cut 47,000 Arizona children from KidsCare, and these crucial votes on reproductive-rights issues, Sen. Driggs has been a rubber stamp for the tea party legislature the voters of Arizona have had to endure the last few years. I will work to make sure the Arizona legislature will focus on the right priorities for Arizona.
In a survey submitted to the Center for Arizona Policy, Adam Driggs indicated opposition to adding “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” or “gender expression” as protected classes in Arizona antidiscrimination law. Particularly with respect to school bullying, how would you respond to that?
Bullying is bullying. The reason for the bullying should not make a difference. Parents and community leaders should work to protect all of Arizona’s children.
Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices?
Arizonans know what’s best for their families. Legislators (for the most part) are not doctors and should not insert themselves into decisions that patients and doctors should make.
Do you support comprehensive sex education in our schools?
Yes, age-appropriate sex education should be made available to our students.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
The mission of Planned Parenthood — to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings that preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual — is something every public policy official should want to embrace.
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.