The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 28 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!
[A] competitive House race is underway in Legislative District 29, a West Valley district that includes Glendale and West Phoenix. Four Democratic candidates are competing in next month’s primary election, and the two winners will go on to face Republican challenger Aaron Borders in the November general election. Mr. Borders proudly touts his opposition to abortion rights, so it will be important to support our endorsed candidates in November.
The Democratic candidates are preparing for the primary election, which will be held on August 26. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed three candidates running for House in LD 29: Richard Andrade, Denice Garcia, and Ceci Velasquez. Below is an interview with Richard Andrade — watch this blog for interviews with Ms. Garcia and Ms. Velasquez, both of whom we hope to feature in the Meet Our Candidates series!
Mr. Andrade took the time for an interview on July 16, 2014.
“Our government has no business interfering in a person’s health care decision.”
Tell us a little about your background.
I am a native of Arizona, an Air Force veteran, proud union member with SMART, a certified locomotive engineer. The reason I am running for state representative in LD 29 is I believe we need better paying jobs with benefits and health care. We need to take care of working families, who are struggling every day to make a living. They need the tax breaks, not big corporations and big businesses. Our education is near the bottom and we need to invest more into our education to prepare our children for the 21st century, which was evident in the recent court ruling on Prop 301, where the state has to pay back education in the sum of $316 million to start. Another deciding factor to run for office, legislation that gets introduced, which targets certain groups of people and our rights.
Earlier this year, the state legislature passed HB 2284, the warrantless inspection bill, which permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. What do you think about the need for heightened privacy and safety for patients seeking reproductive health services?
Once again our rights are being targeted. The need for heightened privacy and safety for patients is needed due to HB 2284. Legislation will have to be introduced in order to keep a patient seeking reproductive health services private and safe.
In contrast to bills like HB 2284, what kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?
Every year, legislation gets introduced that targets our rights. Bills, such as voter suppression, SB 1062, and many more. We need to introduce legislation that protects our freedoms and does not take them away.
Although Arizona was the first state to defeat a ballot initiative against marriage equality, it still doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage today. Earlier this year, the legislature passed SB 1062, which would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. It was unpopular among Arizonans and vetoed by the governor. Where do you stand on LGBTQ issues, and do you believe Arizona is ready to make substantial progress in protecting the rights of its LGBTQ citizens?
Members of the LGBTQ community contribute so much to our society. They pay taxes and work amongst us. They are people who should have the same rights as everyone. Yes, I believe we can start protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community such as marriage equality, and they cannot be subject to discrimination.
Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?
Our government has no business interfering in a person’s health care decision. People should have the right to make their own decision when it comes to health care, because they know what is needed in order to have a healthy life.
Arizona Mayors released a report stating that high school dropouts cost the state $7.6 billion over the course of their lifetime. What do you think about the connection between teenage pregnancy and high-school dropout rates? Do you support comprehensive sex education?
Yes, I support comprehensive sex education. Education would reduce the number of high-school dropouts due to teenage pregnancy, which would in turn reduce the cost.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
Planned Parenthood [Advocates of] Arizona promotes and protects people’s freedom to make responsible reproductive choices, which will lead to healthy, strong families.
You can learn more about Richard Andrade’s positions on his website.