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 need to have been registered to vote by August 1. Missed the deadline? You can still register online for November’s general election. Make your voice heard in 2016!
Legislative District 18 sits just south of Phoenix, stretching west from Chandler to Ahwatukee. The 18th district is currently represented in the Senate by Jeff Dial, whose voting record belies a lack of support for contraception access — his vote for HB 2599 helped lay the groundwork to deny state Medicaid recipients the right to receive preventive health care and birth control from Planned Parenthood — as well as his opposition to abortion — as illustrated by his vote in favor of SB 1324, which put severe restrictions around the use of medication abortion, which don’t even comply with FDA regulations. In 2014, he voted in favor of SB 1062, which would have given businesses the right to discriminate against LGBTQ folks — or anyone else against whom they could claim a religious justification for discrimination.
“The Legislature should not be in the business of meddling with a woman’s relationship with her doctor.”
Sean Bowie seeks to oust current Sen. Jeff Dial from the Arizona Senate, and due to his outspoken support for reproductive justice and LGBTQ rights, Mr. Bowie has earned our endorsement. His website highlights the importance of recognizing LGBTQ rights in the state of Arizona, and he voices support for an employment non-discrimination act that would protect people from employment or housing discrimination, regardless of their sexual orientation. He also supports reproductive rights and Arizonans’ access to the full range of reproductive health services, as he explained to us in his interview.
After moving to Chandler during his childhood, Mr. Bowie graduated from Mountain Pointe High School and then Arizona State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree with a double major in political science and history. Afterward, a stint in Pittsburgh saw him earn a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to launching his Senate campaign, Mr. Bowie has put his energy behind education reform, health care access, and protecting Social Security. As an employee of Arizona State University, he works to expand needs-based financial aid, expanding access to higher education for all Arizonans.
Mr. Bowie generously took the time to answer our questions on July 19, 2016.
What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?
My first priority will be to improve our state’s education system. I will fight to restore education funding at both the K-12 and university levels above all else if elected. Another important priority is to pass a statewide comprehensive non-discrimination act to protect our LGBTQ community. Arizona is one of only 27 states that does not have an act in place, and it is past time that Arizona enacts a law that says we are open for business to all. We also must continue this inclusiveness into our schools by striking our shameful “no-promo-homo” law from the books. I will join my Democratic colleagues this year who fought on the Senate floor to get this done. Finally, one of the great advantages to having a tie or majority in the state Senate would be to stop the unconstitutional attacks on Planned Parenthood and focus on more important priorities, like the ones I outlined above.
Your opponent, Jeff Dial, supported 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. Why do you think it’s important that people be able to choose their own health care provider and make their own health-related decisions?
I believe access to health care is a basic human right. Women should not be intimidated or prevented from seeing their doctor and receiving the health care services they need. Planned Parenthood provides essential resources for women across Arizona, and the Legislature should not be in the business of meddling with a woman’s relationship with her doctor.
Recently, Tucson Unified School District voted to include comprehensive sex education in their classrooms, but progress has been slow. How would you like to see sexuality education addressed on a statewide level?
I would support the efforts of local school boards to adopt comprehensive, inclusive sex education. One of the barriers for local schools is the shameful “no-promo-homo” law in place; this law prevents teachers from speaking to the LGBTQ students in their class about how they can stay safe. We must get rid of this law so that local school boards can choose to adopt inclusive sex education curricula. These decisions should be made by local leaders in the community, not by career legislators at the state Capitol.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
The work that Planned Parenthood does is critically important. We need more legislators at the Capitol to stand with Planned Parenthood and protect the vital resources it provides for Arizona women and their families. All Arizonans deserve access to health care and responsible family planning, and Planned Parenthood helps provide that access.