The Arizona general election will be held on November 8, 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 election, you must register to vote by October 10 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2016!
Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, is running for Maricopa County Recorder, an office that became the target of public rage and national bad press during the Presidential Preference Election on March 22, 2016, when thousands of voters found themselves stranded in long lines at Maricopa County polling places.
The current recorder, Republican Helen Purcell, had reduced the number of polling places from more than 200 to 60, causing bottlenecks and preventing some voters from casting ballots.
“The disenfranchisement of thousands of voters is contrary to the principles this country was founded on.”
Fontes, a father of three daughters, decided to run because he was outraged by the events of March 22. Mother Jones headlined an April 11 story about him: “Angered by Arizona’s Botched Election, One Man Decides to Run for Office.”
In his August 12, 2016, email to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, he said that “the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters is contrary to the principles this country was founded on. This needs to stop. We need solutions, not excuses. My campaign is about protecting democracy for every voter.”
At an Arizona House Elections Committee hearing after the debacle, an angry Fontes said, to cheers and applause, “A political culture that worships at the altar of slashing budgets will eventually lead to the complete collapse of our most sacred democratic institutions: the right for Americans to vote. You are as responsible for this as anyone else.”
Fontes, who speaks fluent Spanish, graduated summa cum laude from the Arizona State University Honors College in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in communication.
Tell us a little about your background.
I am an Arizona Native, former U.S. Marine, small business owner, and attorney with more than 10 years experience in criminal prosecution, law enforcement, and issues of Constitutional rights.
What made you decide to run for County Recorder?
I decided to run because of the discouraging and unacceptable events of the March Presidential Primary in Arizona … Regardless of party affiliation, regardless of political views, I know every vote counts. Every voter matters. The disenfranchisement of thousands of voters is contrary to the principles this country was founded on. This needs to stop. We need solutions, not excuses. My campaign is about protecting democracy for every voter.
There have been several initiatives and campaigns to address money in politics — both dark money and clear contributed money. What will you do as County Recorder to ensure access for all to the electoral process?
When elected into office, I have made it my mission to make voting easy and accessible to all voters, regardless of party affiliation.
How would you like to bolster the public’s trust in the election system and make voting in Arizona more open to all citizens?
I want to go beyond the politics of the office, I want to show voters why local elections matter and increase voter turnout.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
I believe in what Planned Parenthood advocates for: protecting a woman’s right to choose what is best for her own health and family, no matter what, and I am honored to have this endorsement.