The Arizona primary election will be held on August 29, 2017. 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. In order to vote in the primary election, you must be registered to vote by July 31 (today!). Early voting begins on August 2. Make your voice heard in 2017!
Felicia Chew was the first candidate to enter the race for Tucson’s Ward 3 after its long-serving councilwoman, Karin Uhlich, announced last year that she would not seek reelection. Ms. Chew has served her community as a teacher for more than 20 years, most recently at Mansfeld Middle School, and has also been active in the community as an advocate for mental health, environmental sustainability, and education. Now Chew is seeking to enter politics as a new way to be a voice for her neighbors and community, including those who are too often underrepresented, as the city councilwoman for Ward 3, which covers the city’s northwest area.
“I will never stop fighting for reproductive rights and health care for all Tucsonans.”
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona announced its endorsement of Felicia Chew earlier this month, and Ms. Chew generously took time for an interview with us on July 25, 2017, to tell us more about her background and her campaign.
Tell us a little about your background.
I am a first-generation Chinese-American daughter of immigrant parents. I am a teacher, a single mother, and an advocate. I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years and have always taught my students about how to be responsible citizens, complex thinkers, and effective communicators. As a survivor of domestic violence, I want to ensure survivors in Tucson have all the resources they need. As a single mom, I want to help working families like mine by implementing and expanding programs that make our lives better. I am running for city council to advocate for and amplify the voices of my neighbors and each of us in Tucson.
Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?
There is nothing more personal than your own health care, and no one should stand between you and your health care choices. When we are empowered to make our own health care decisions, we’re empowered in all other aspects of our lives. Particularly when it comes to reproductive health, people need to have access to birth control, STI treatment, and cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood provides these services and makes them accessible and affordable. We need to ensure Planned Parenthood keeps its doors open so women and their families can make the health care choices that are best for them.
What can Tucson do as a city to contribute to the health and wealth of Arizona overall?
Tucson can and should provide accessible resources to basic needs such as food, shelter, transportation, and health care for all Tucsonans. Without these basic needs met, our citizens cannot reach their fullest potential.
We should provide adequate resources for families to feel safe in their homes and in their communities. Programs like KIDCO allow parents to go to work during the day knowing their children are safe and being cared for. We need to make sure that everyone who wants to work can by eliminating the obstacles people face, like finding childcare and transportation. We should provide a variety of mental health programs that are high quality and accessible. I’m so proud that Arizona recently voted yes on Prop 206, raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing paid sick time. This is so important for both the health and wealth of our city. People need to earn a living wage and need to be able to stay home when they or their child is sick — these pieces of the puzzle are crucial and non-negotiable.
What is your vision for Tucson?
I envision a Tucson where we all are able to communicate with each other with respect and compassion; where we create and implement policies that protect and help people; where we all feel like we belong, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, culture, age, religion, political view, emotional and cognitive abilities. Most importantly, I want Tucson to be a place where the government, like the city council, listens to and respects its citizens and always has their best interests at heart. As it pertains to Planned Parenthood, I want Tucson to be a model for other cities by acknowledging that women’s health care and reproductive rights are at the core of social and economic justice. Planned Parenthood plays a key role in that mission. It is a priceless resource for our community.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
The work PPAA does in this community is so important and beneficial. It’s very important to me that citizens know I stand with Planned Parenthood and will always fight for them. We’ve seen so many attacks on reproductive rights at the state, federal, and local levels nationwide. That is unacceptable. I will never stop fighting for reproductive rights and health care for all Tucsonans.
Is there anything else you’d like the voters to know about your campaign?
For a long time, I stayed out of politics because of the divisiveness I have seen. I have been so discouraged by the current political climate, but decided I could not sit back any longer.
My campaign staff is entirely women, which I am so proud of. We are determined to reach out to Tucsonans in Ward 3 who have felt forgotten and left behind. I want those people to know: I hear you, and I am fighting for you. I understand the struggles people in Ward 3 face because I have lived them.
I want Tucson to be a place for all of us — where each individual can thrive, feel safe, and be a part of this community.
To find out what Tucson city council ward you live in, check this website. To learn more about Felicia Chew, visit her website. You can also follow her on Facebook. You can contact us if you’d like to volunteer for an endorsed candidate.