Meet Our Candidates: Jo Holt for State Senator, LD 11

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014, and early voting began on July 31. 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.”  Make your voice heard in 2014!

[A]rizona’s Legislative District 11 covers northwest Pima County, including Marana, Oro Valley, and Catalina, and parts of Pinal County, including SaddleBrooke, Casa Grande, and the town of Maricopa. Jo Holt, who is running for the Arizona Senate, lives in Oro Valley.

Dr. Holt is a retired research scientist with a background in biochemistry. More recently, she has been involved in Arizona politics; she previously ran for state Senate in 2012, when she was also endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. You can read the interview we conducted with her then to learn more about her background, as well as her positions on conscience clauses and sex education.

She was kind enough to answer some questions for me this year as well, on July 31.

“I believe in an America that lends a helping hand, not one that punishes at taxpayer expense.”

It’s great to talk to you again! How has your desire to serve Arizona grown over the past two years? On the policy level, what has happened during that time to give you hope, and what has happened to strengthen your convictions?

Thank you, Rachel. I am still very much committed to making a difference in the lives of the people of Arizona, and to becoming an effective advocate for those who live in my legislative district. The extension of Medicaid, the successful petition drive against the voter repression bill, and Gov. Brewer’s veto of the “religious liberty” bill all give me hope that the public is getting increasingly fed up with our state legislative majority.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed HB 2284, 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?

The purpose of this bill is to further harass and intimidate abortion providers and the women they serve, plain and simple. Abortion is legal. A woman’s right to this medical procedure should not be restricted, but there are many laws on the books that do just that under the guise of “protecting” the woman. Everything possible should be done to pass legislation that makes the restrictions themselves illegal.

In June, an appeals court affirmed the right to perform medication abortions up to nine weeks in accordance with an evidence-based protocol, when the state legislature wanted abortion providers to use a more restrictive, outdated method. Why is it important that politicians leave the practice of medicine to doctors?

Because politicians are using the practice of medicine to advance a political agenda, not really for practicing medicine.

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?

I believe that the public understands how critically important it is for our students to graduate from high school. For those who claim, remarkably, to have no compassion for a pregnant teenage girl, I wonder if they understand that they, the taxpayer, will have to foot the bill for assistance for her and her child for years to come. These young women deserve the freedom to choose to terminate their pregnancies. They deserve the education and assistance provided by Planned Parenthood to prevent unwanted pregnancies. I believe in an America that lends a helping hand, not one that punishes at taxpayer expense.

For more information about Jo Holt’s campaign, you can find her website at, and she’s on Twitter under the username @Holt4Senate.

If you don’t know what legislative district you’re in, you can click here to find out! You can also contact us if you’d like to volunteer for an endorsed candidate in your legislative district.