Meet Our Candidates: Ginny Dickey for Mayor of Fountain Hills

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!

Ginny Dickey scaled[G]inny Dickey is running as a write-in candidate for mayor of Fountain Hills, a town of about 22,000 people in Maricopa County, east of Scottsdale and bordering the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

Ms. Dickey, one of five siblings who grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley, moved to Fountain Hills in 1983, following her parents, who relocated in the late 1970s. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Tufts University.

Ms. Dickey jumped into the race challenging Mayor Linda M. Kavanagh for several reasons, including that Mayor Kavanagh would be running unopposed for the third time.

The Fountain Hills mayoral election will be decided on August 30 — not in November.

“There was a definite discontent overall that the mayor would once again be unopposed,” Ms. Dickey told us in an email. “We opened a $500 threshold campaign committee on June 28 so we could do a poll, which came back that we could possibly be successful, so we opened up the full campaign committee on July 11,” 10 days before the write-in deadline.

“The reaction was very encouraging and positive. No matter the result, this has been such a joy and privilege to offer up a choice,” wrote Ms. Dickey.

Much of her time is spent “making sure people know I am a candidate, then on how to actually vote for me,” Ms. Dickey wrote. “The legislative mandate that cities must hold elections in the fall of even years has disenfranchised Independent voters and turned our local elections into partisan affairs.

“Forcing our high number of Independent early voters to select which ballot they want decreases turnout for them. But we are getting the word out on several fronts, and hopefully the mantra, ‘Write-in Ginny Dickey for Mayor and connect the arrow,’ is permeating our electorate.”

Whoever receives the majority of the votes on the August 30 mayoral election in Fountain Hills will be declared the winner, and will not run in November’s general election — meaning that this citywide race will be decided next week, not later this year.

Ms. Dickey replied to our questions in an August 19, 2016, email.

Tell us a little about your background.

Almost immediately on arriving in 1983, I participated in the first Fountain Hills Town Hall, and my civic involvement continues to this day, including volunteer positions with the American Association of University Women, the Arizona Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, and affiliations with many organizations, including Sierra Club, Arizona List, and, of course, Planned Parenthood.

I worked for Tucson’s Sen. Ruth Solomon and then as assistant director of legislative affairs at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality under Gov. Janet Napolitano. During that time and beyond, I served two terms on the Fountain Hills Unified School District Board and eight years as a town councilwoman, until 2014.

I retired from the State of Arizona, worked briefly for the Department of Justice and Arizona List, and have been involved in many campaigns, most recently Fred DuVal for Governor. I ran for the House in 2000 and 2002, and almost made it! I was an Al Gore delegate and a 2008 Hillary Clinton delegate.

I am married to Jim, retired teacher and Arizona Department of Transportation operations director, and have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren.

What are some of the challenges of campaigning as a write-in candidate?

When it became apparent that the current mayor would be enjoying her third unopposed race, the need to offer a choice became clear. Personally, the time was not right this spring for me to run, and there were others interested, but they dropped their efforts.

Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care decisions?

What could be more personal? No one has better insight into their own medical needs or wishes than the individual and whoever they may choose to include in decision-making.

How would you differentiate yourself from Fountain Hills’ incumbent mayor, Linda Kavanagh?

The three most pronounced areas in which we differ are:

  1. Strong support for the community-driven goals clearly defined by the Strategic Plan and VisionFH; effective solutions to our infrastructure needs, and to the challenges of upholding our quality-of-life standards, given budget realities, and inclusive leadership style, collaborative partnerships, and creating an overall positive, welcoming climate.
  2. With many indicating that hometown amenities and preserving our natural environment and views are priorities, the current mayor is focused on development seemingly at all costs, and unrealistic expectations of how that will solve our fiscal shortfalls.
  3. She has also chosen to include only a select few as her advisers, is ideologically motivated, and therefore does not represent or welcome the views of all her constituents. I have a proven record of working with and on the behalf of the community as a whole.

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 by Fountain Hills Unified School District?

I am not familiar with how the district handles sex ed these days, though when it was a topic “way back when,” we and other parents supported comprehensive texts and instruction. The relationship with the district, charter, private, and home schools needs improvement and that’s a first step toward working together on this and any issue.

At present, Fountain Hills has no LGBTQ employment protections. Will you offer support for a citywide nondiscrimination ordinance?

I’m happy to say the town’s own employment rules include protection based on gender identity and sexual orientation. I introduced a motion to address nondiscrimination just before leaving the council in November 2014. While the mayor and others arranged for several people to testify against the motion, we were successful in a small way, in that taking action on a future anti-discrimination plan or policy passed 5-2.

Unfortunately, with my departure along with that of another “yes” vote, and both “no” votes remaining, including the mayor, this has not been followed up on and no further action was taken.

Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?

I have been a supporter of Planned Parenthood my whole adult life because of the difference you make in the well-being of women, men, and children. You advocate for quality health care, screenings, and family planning options for those who can find themselves feeling powerless and hopeless. You are courageous and smart and I appreciate that you have faith in me now, as you did during my past campaigns, to be a good, fair public servant. Thank you!

To learn more about Ginny Dickey’s background and platform check out her website and like her on Facebook!

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