Meet Our Candidates: Patty Kennedy for State Senator, LD 20

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 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 general election, you must register to vote by October 6 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Patty Kennedy bricks[P]atty Kennedy is running to represent the 20th legislative district in the state Senate. LD 20 encompasses Northwest Phoenix, including parts of Glendale and Moon Valley. Ms. Kennedy stands strong for reproductive health and justice, opposing legislation like HB 2284 and recognizing the fundamental right of an individual to choose what is best for herself or himself when it comes to health care.

LD 20 is currently represented in the state Senate by Kimberly Yee, whose record on reproductive health and rights is abysmal. She has consistently voted against Planned Parenthood’s mission, supporting bills that attempted to reduce access to birth control and preventive services at Planned Parenthood Arizona. In 2012, she sponsored HB 2036, which not only threatens doctors with criminal penalties for performing abortions after 20 weeks, but also goes so far as to define pregnancy as beginning two weeks before conception. Kimberly Yee has signed the Center for Arizona Policy’s statement denouncing Roe v. Wade and was rated by Salon as one of the Top 5 most extreme anti-abortion lawmakers in the United States.

Because so much is at stake in this senate seat, and because Patty Kennedy is such a passionate advocate for reproductive rights, we are proud to endorse her campaign. Ms. Kennedy was kind enough to talk to Morganne Rosenhaus on September 12, 2014.

“The right to make health care decisions in one’s best interest is vitally important and fundamental to our society.”

Tell us a little about your background.

I grew up and have lived in the area that is currently LD 20 most of my life. I have raised my family in this district and own a small business that is located in the district. I have served on the Governing Board of the Glendale Union High School District for the past four years and have served as the board president for the past two years. I will be serving on the Board again for the next four years, as only two candidates turned in valid signatures and there are only two seats up for election.

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 this new law? In contrast to bills like HB 2284, what kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it is important to fight for it?

HB 2284 is not a good piece of legislation. It is both unnecessary and possibly illegal on the grounds of being a possible invasion of privacy for those patients who are at the facility at the time of an unannounced inspection. This bill should be repealed and I would work toward that end.

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?

I do support comprehensive sex education. There remains a higher dropout rate for teens who become pregnant, though it is far easier for teens to stay in school while pregnant than it has been in the past. Part of my responsibility, as a current school board member and as a possible future state legislator, is to do everything within my power to help students stay in school, graduate from college and be career-ready, and become active and productive members of their communities. That is what I work at every day.

Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?

The right to make health care decisions in one’s best interest is vitally important and fundamental to our society. This fight is about so much more than just abortion. The restrictive laws that are being passed, nationwide, can be interpreted so broadly, and to so many situations that go far beyond that one issue.

Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?

I have been a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood. I believe in their mission to bring affordable health care and family planning services to all women. I look forward to standing with Planned Parenthood when I am elected to the Arizona Senate.

Find out more about Patty Kennedy’s background and platform at her website. You can also keep up to date on Patty Kennedy’s campaign by liking her on Facebook or following her on Twitter!

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.