The Arizona primary election will be held on August 30, 2016. 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 primary election, you must register to vote by August 1 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2016!
[L]egislative District 29, a West Valley district that includes Glendale and West Phoenix, is hosting a competitive House race this August — and that’s just the primary election, in which four Democratic candidates will be battling it out for two spots on November’s general election ballot. One of those candidates is incumbent Richard Andrade, who we endorsed in 2014 and are proud to endorse again.
Rep. Andrade is the great-grandson of Mexican immigrants, a third-generation railroader, a union member, and a U.S. Air Force veteran. On his website, some of the issues he prioritizes include health care, education, discrimination, and the struggles of working families.
Rep. Andrade generously took the time to answer our questions on July 4, 2016.
“Many working families are struggling to make a living and I have been fighting for them since I was elected.”
Since we last spoke, how has your commitment to serving Arizona grown? What has happened during that time to give you hope, and what has happened to strengthen your convictions?
Serving my first term in office has shown me the truth about politics in Arizona. Our Republican-led Legislature takes care of big businesses and corporations and not working families who need the tax cuts, but would rather cut programs for working families who need the assistance in order to survive. This has strengthened my commitment to run for re-election. I also have been very involved in participating in many actions against employers who have wrongfully terminated or harassed employees for wanting better working conditions, pay, and most importantly, access to affordable health care. Although there have been some victories, Arizona has a long way to go to protect working families.
In the most recent legislative session, SB 1019 would have repealed legislation forbidding teachers from presenting same-sex behavior in a positive light or educating LGBTQ students about safer sex methods. Why do you think it’s so important for sex education in Arizona to be inclusive of all students?
Thank you for asking me about legislation that I co-sponsored. Times have changed and we now have an LGBTQ community, including students, who should have access to education that promotes age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education that supports a healthy lifestyle. Which is why I proudly co-sponsored SB 1019.
Arizona made nationwide headlines when it passed a law requiring medication abortion to be administered using a protocol that is no longer supported by the FDA. As a lawmaker, what do you think your role is in legislating medical practices?
When the FDA no longer supports a protocol on medication abortion, the Legislature has no business passing legislation that says otherwise.
You voted against HB 2599, which lays the groundwork for Arizona to kick Planned Parenthood out of AHCCCS, our state Medicaid program. If that happens, AHCCCS patients couldn’t choose Planned Parenthood for their preventive health care and birth control needs. Do you think Planned Parenthood health centers play an important part in keeping Arizonans healthy?
Yes, Planned Parenthood has prevented unwanted pregnancies, promoted healthy lifestyles, and provided education to families.
Finally, how would you distinguish yourself from some of the other candidates in your August primary election race?
I support Planned Parenthood, because they are needed in my district, LD 29. Many working families are struggling to make a living and I have been fighting for them since I was elected. I know how important health care is for all working families, because my wife is a breast cancer survivor. It shows the need for organizations such as Planned Parenthood and many more.
To learn more about Richard Andrade’s background and views on reproductive health and marriage equality, read the interview we conducted with him in 2014. Then visit his website, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter!