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!
Brandon Dwyer is running for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 15. LD 15 covers the northwest, north, and northeast areas of Phoenix and has approximately 133,019 registered voters. Mr. Dwyer would like to see Arizona level the playing field for all citizens with regard to education. He believes in equal access for all regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability, or military service.
“The state should not be between me and my doctor.”
Mr. Dwyer generously shared time with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona through an in-person interview on September 10, 2016, to discuss his background and his campaign.
Tell us a little about your background.
I lived in Oregon for 26 years before moving to Phoenix in 2005 to attend the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. After I graduated, I moved to Texas, where I lived and worked for 10 years. I missed Phoenix, so I made the decision to move back and make Arizona my home. I became actively involved in politics as a member of Democracy for America. I was a precinct committeeman for four years and served as the legislative district committee chair for LD 15 from 2014 until early this year, when I decided to run for office.
What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?
I would love to see legislation introduced that removed all the unnecessary and medically inaccurate laws passed in the past few years regarding a woman’s right to choose. I would also like to have legislation passed that requires “crisis pregnancy centers” to only give medically accurate advice. False and misleading advice is dangerous not only to the expecting mothers but their children as well. Let’s get rid of all the bad apples in that area of service.
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?
Comprehensive sex education should be a requirement for public schools. We know that the more accurate information we give our teenagers, the better choices they will make. We are seeing a drop nationally in sexual activity and pregnancies in areas that have comprehensive education and access to medically accurate services.
In his Center for Arizona Policy survey, your opponent John Allen says he’s in favor of prohibitions against abortion. How do your views differ from those of Rep. Allen, and why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?
My opponent is entitled to his own beliefs, but he isn’t entitled to choose what is best for my family’s medical needs, especially our reproductive rights. A woman has the right to plan her own family. The state should not be between me and my doctor.
Your other opponent, Heather Carter, supported HB 2599, which lays the groundwork for Arizona to kick Planned Parenthood out of Arizona’s state Medicaid program. If that happens, AHCCCS patients couldn’t choose Planned Parenthood for their preventive health care and birth control needs. How do your views on Planned Parenthood differ from those of Rep. Carter?
Planned Parenthood provides a variety of medical services, not just reproductive. Each day thousands of people use their facilities. When I was uninsured, I used Planned Parenthood services. Right now thousands of people know their local Planned Parenthood nurses, doctors, and staff. They are comfortable and most of all trust their care providers. Cutting funding to those clinics forces them to go through the trial-and-error portion of choosing a doctor that suits them best. This is not the way to decrease unwanted pregnancies. Let’s look at Texas; they pushed most Planned Parenthood clinics out of business with draconian laws. Now Texas leads the industrialized world in maternal mortality. Do we want the same for Arizona?
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
It is more important that I stand with Planned Parenthood and work my tail off to keep Planned Parenthood open for future generations. We need clinics that provide medically accurate information and care to whomever walks through the door.