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!
Dr. Randall Friese, a Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona repeat endorsee, represents Legislative District 9 in the Arizona House. The incumbent is one of three Democrats running in the primary for two LD 9 seats.
Dr. Friese, a trauma surgeon, helped save the life of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, one of 18 people shot during a meet-and-greet with constituents outside a Tucson supermarket in 2011. The U.S. Navy veteran has said that he became interested in politics after the shooting.
“The Legislature has no role legislating medical practice for the care of an individual.”
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona recommend LD 9 voters cast their ballots for both Rep. Friese and fellow incumbent Rep. Matt Kopec. Rep. Friese generously took the time to answer our questions on July 6, 2016.
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?
I remain fully committed to serving our state in the Legislature. I am running for reelection for a second term to build in the relationships and trust that I built with fellow Democrats as well as my Republican colleagues.
I believe that I can contribute significantly to the legislative process because of the experience I gained from my first term. I get hope for the future from the recent 5-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating a Texas law limiting access to abortion. We have laws in Arizona similar to the ones struck down in Texas. We may be able to change these laws here in Arizona.
In the most recent legislative session, SB 1019 would have repealed legislation forbidding teachers from presenting same-sex behavior in a positive light or educating LGBTQ students about safer sex methods.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?
The best way to stop discrimination against the LGBTQ community is to teach our children to be accepting of diversity. If at a young age we teach kids about people with different sexual orientations then it won’t be abnormal to them. They will be more accepting and less likely to exclude the LGBTQ community. Also teaching safe-sex practices just makes sense. Kids should know how to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
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?
The Legislature has no role legislating medical practice for the care of an individual. That is between the individual and their physician. There is a role, however, for public policy and legislation that addresses public health issues and public safety, such as seat-belt use, motorcycle helmet use, mandatory vaccination, and responsible gun ownership legislation.
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, I voted against 2599 because I felt it singled out Planned Parenthood as a reproductive health care provider and held them to a standard that was impossible to meet. Asking Planned Parenthood to separate all funds that go to providing abortion services is not a reasonable request.
To learn more about Dr. Randall Friese’s views on abortion access and sex education, check out the interview he gave us in 2014. For more information on Dr. Friese’s campaign and his positions on other issues, visit his website. You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.