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!
[A]rizona’s Legislative District 11 covers an area northwest of Tucson that includes Marana, Oro Valley, Catalina, and Picture Rocks, extending as far north as Maricopa City. The district is currently represented in the House by Republicans Mark Finchem and Vince Leach. The district — or the district that preceded it, which covered much of the same area — has in the past been represented by Democrats or by moderate-to-liberal Republicans, and I know that we can be again.
Corin Hammond is running for an LD 11 seat in the House. She generously answered our questions on July 25, 2016.
“The right to make decisions regarding one’s own body is essential to the American values of opportunity and freedom.”
Tell us a little about your background.
I am a 31-year-old finishing my Ph.D. in soil and water chemistry at the University of Arizona. I have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in inorganic chemistry from the University of Arizona. I was born in Corvallis, Oregon, but moved all over the country including Las Cruces, New Mexico, Fairfax, Virginia, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Narragansett, Rhode Island. Now I live in Marana, Arizona, with my husband, David, and my baby girl, Summer, who will turn 2 in September. We have two dogs, Winston and Hazel.
What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?
Allocating funding for public education at a nationally competitive rate will allow Arizona to achieve high-performing public education programs at all levels. High-performing public education for pre-K-12 is a cornerstone to reducing crime rates, ending the cycle of poverty, and developing a skilled workforce that will attract high-tech business development to Arizona and bring good, high-paying jobs to our state. State-funded all-day pre-K and kindergarten programs are essential to closing the gender wage gap.
The first step to improving our state public education rankings is to raise educator wages to be competitive on a national scale. One of the main reasons our public school performances are lagging is because our school districts are unable to fill teacher vacancies.
Comprehensive sexual health education should be required for middle school and high school students in the Arizona public education system. Arizonans should have access to safe and affordable reproductive health care. Comprehensive health education and medical care are essential to reducing the occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies, making them key components to ending the cycle of poverty in Arizona and closing the gender wage gap.
Some Arizona school districts, like Tucson Unified School District, are beginning 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?
It is unacceptable that comprehensive sexual health education is not currently a statewide program. When comprehensive sexual health education is offered at public schools, parents should have the right to opt their children out of these programs, but it is unacceptable that current sexual health education programs in Arizona are by law only provided on an opt-in basis.
Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?
The right to make decisions regarding one’s own body is essential to the American values of opportunity and freedom.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
I am honored to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona as a candidate for the state House of Representatives in Arizona’s Legislative District 11. Legislative District 11 stretches from the northwest suburbs of Tucson to the southern suburbs of Phoenix. We are considered a rural legislative district and I want the hardworking families here to know that they are not alone and they have not been forgotten because there is a large, well-known organization and community in Arizona fighting for their personal freedoms and access to affordable reproductive health care.