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!
Stefanie Mach is seeking a third term in the Arizona House representing Legislative District 10. When she first won in 2012, her hometown newspaper in Wisconsin noted that Mach had overcome nearly insurmountable odds to get there.
As a teenager, Mach and a friend were involved in a minor automobile accident, but stepping out of the car they stepped on a live electrical line. The friend died instantly. Mach was severely burned, lost her right arm, and the sight in one eye.
“Sex education is only effective if it addresses real relationships and safe-sex practices for all.”
“If you’re already at the bottom, there is nowhere to go but up,” Mach told the newspaper. “What do you do after your life has changed so dramatically?”
What she did was become the first member of her family to graduate from college — the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point — after which she earned a master of public policy degree at Brown University.
Deeply affected by the events of September 11, 2001, Mach joined AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, responding to a flood disaster, teaching in an elementary school, and working on the Cumberland Trail, a wildlife preserve, and Habitat for Humanity houses.
In the Legislature, Mach has focused on improving education, infrastructure, and the child welfare system, and protecting state parks and growing small business.
Rep. Mach, whom PPAA first endorsed four years ago, responded to our questions by email on August 4, 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?
After two terms in the Legislature, I’ve developed strong relationships, I understand the system, and I’m more aware of how critical it is that we continue to strongly advocate for reasonable policies that serve all Arizonans, not just the wealthy and privileged. The good news is that I run into more and more people who feel the same and are willing to work alongside me to reach our goals. True change is difficult and requires a lot of push and a little patience. Sometimes this change happens quietly, behind closed doors, and with people whose names you’ll never learn. This unrest we feel lately, as a nation, is proof that it is happening. What we do with this unease will determine what the change looks like.
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. Do you think it’s important that sex education in Arizona be inclusive of all students?
Sex education is only effective if it addresses real relationships and safe-sex practices for all. It should also be mentioned that even people who do not identify as LGBTQ experiment with their sexuality and should know how to protect themselves.
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?
In developing standards, legislators should rely on medical expertise, science, and thoughtful public input. Beyond establishing standards, legislators should leave medical decisions to patients, their loved ones, and medical professionals.
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?
For many AHCCCS patients, Planned Parenthood has a trusted reputation of offering affordable, nonjudgmental, inclusive, and medically accurate reproductive health care services. If a large payer like AHCCCS dropped coverage, it would shut down or limit services, thereby also negatively affecting non-AHCCCS women and men who still struggle to afford basic reproductive health care.