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!
Sen. Steve Farley, who faces no opposition in either the primary or the November election, told us that he’s been spending much of his time “working to try to get a pro-choice majority elected in the Legislature,” no surprise for the pro-choice stalwart and father of two daughters whom Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed multiple times.
The 53-year-old artist and businessman has represented Legislative District 9 since 2012. Initially elected to the Arizona Legislature as State Representative from District 28 in 2006, Farley went on to become House Assistant Minority Leader. In the Senate, Farley serves as Assistant Minority Leader, and is the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee. He also serves on the Appropriations, Financial Institutions, and Ethics Committees.
“All students are our future, no matter who they are or love.”
Recognizing Farley’s rising profile in the Legislature, the Arizona Republic named him one of 16 Arizonans to Watch in 2016. In a recent conversation, he noted with some surprise that readers and reporters of the Arizona Capitol Times voted him Best Arizona Democratic Elected Official in 2016.
“I didn’t expect it,” he told us, clearly pleased.
Sen. Farley has run a public art and graphic design business since 1991. He created the photographic tile murals around Tucson’s Broadway Underpass after he invented a process for converting photographs to glazed ceramic tile.
Sen. Farley was kind enough to take the time for a telephone interview on July 11, 2016.
What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?
The most important legislation that needs to be introduced would get rid of the bad legislation that’s been passed for eight years. They’ve been full speed ahead to attack women’s health. We need to restore the relationship between a doctor and that doctor’s patient. Don’t try to write scripts for them to read, or institute an abusive waiting period and make it as hard as possible for women in rural areas to access health care. Ensure that women have access to the full range of legal health services.
It’s the belief of Republicans that government should not be involved in any form of health care; it should all go on the private market. Combine that with Obama hatred, and it’s been a huge struggle to restore KidsCare and Medicaid expansion (KidsCare is health insurance for children under 19 who are ineligible for other Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System coverage). You’d think it was a no-brainer. We fought hard, and over the objections of the speaker and the governor, we got it through. Imagine what we could do if we end up with different majority in the Legislature.
In the most recent legislative session, you supported SB 1019, which 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?
Because all students need to understand and have education to know what they’re doing and what not to do. It has never been proven that by withholding information they won’t have sex. We might as well make sure they have good information. If you have sex education and it includes text that says LGBT students exhibit aberrant behavior, you’re at risk of alienating students who are at risk. All students are our future, no matter who they are or love.
Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?
Because I know better and my daughters (21 and 17) know better about how to treat their bodies than members of the Legislature.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
Because I think we have shared values, and it’s important for members of Planned Parenthood to understand that. The organization has been so important in enabling access to the full range of services to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get it.