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 have been registered to vote by July 31. Early voting begins on August 2. Make your voice heard in 2017!
Tom Tronsdal, in his first run for office, threw his hat in the ring for the race for Tucson’s Ward 3 shortly after the New Year. He is a longtime resident of Ward 3, which covers northwest Tucson. Mr. Tronsdal is also an impassioned advocate for people affected by neurological disabilities, and, inspired by his son, has raised thousands of dollars for brain research. Mr. Tronsdal hopes to build on the accomplishments of Ward 3’s departing representative, Karin Uhlich, by focusing on economic growth, including investments in a local employment-ready workforce; public safety, including resources for domestic violence victims, immigrants, and refugees; and support for children and education.
“Deciding whether, when, and under what circumstances you choose to become a parent is one of the most important decisions a person can make.”
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona announced its endorsement of Tom Tronsdal early last month, and he generously took time for an interview with us on July 31, 2017, to tell us more about his background and his campaign.
Tell us a little about your background.
I am a proud pro-choice Democrat who has called Tucson home for over three decades. Raised by a single mother in the heart of Ward 3, I went on to earn a degree in disability law and currently own and operate Canyon Fence Company. Obstacles in my early childhood and raising a special-needs son with my wife, Amanda, give me a unique understanding of the importance of accessibility and opportunity for all Ward 3 residents.
I am a passionate community leader who is committed to improving the lives of Tucson residents. I dedicate extensive time to volunteerism and currently serve on the boards of the Arizona Center for Autism, the Arizona Hydrocephalus Association, and the Abbie School Board of Directors. Inspired by my son, Mac, I founded one of the largest 5K races in Tucson, which raises funds to support causes focused on neurological conditions.
I believe experiences, sacrifices, and successes should not only be heard, but also respected by your representatives. I will work to build a deeper connection with the residents and businesses of Ward 3 by increasing access, openness, transparency, and engagement. I previously served on the boards of the Prince Salvation Army, Parks and Recreation Commission, Small Business Commission, and my neighborhood association. From this work, I have learned that the key to building stronger neighborhoods is through community empowerment and community engagement.
I am running for Tucson City Council because Ward 3 is, and will always be, my home. I care deeply about our community and have the experience and unique perspective our city needs right now.
Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?
Thirteen years ago my wife and I were faced with one of the toughest decisions of our lives. We had just learned there was a complication with our pregnancy and the odds were not in our favor. At that difficult moment, we could not have been more grateful for the decades of work by Planned Parenthood fighting for and protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. We not only had the ability to seek out multiple medical opinions to make the most informed decision, we also knew the decision was 100 percent ours to make.
Every day, women and families just like mine are faced with incredibly tough decisions about their future. Each case is unique and very personal. Deciding whether, when, and under what circumstances you choose to become a parent is one of the most important decisions a person can make. These decisions must be made with the most medically accurate information available and without interference from political ideologies.
My wife and I join in Planned Parenthood’s mission to fight for EVERY woman’s right to reproductive choice and access to health care because it meant everything to us.
What can Tucson do as a city to contribute to the health and wealth of Arizona overall?
The most meaningful way Tucson can contribute to the health and wealth of our residents is to address the roots of poverty in our city and state. As a council member, I will work with the mayor and fellow council members to fill the “opportunity-gap,” which has systemically plagued many of our residents. This means ensuring funding for programs like KIDCO, JTED, and JobPath; building a stronger public transit system; and supporting local partners like community food banks, who work each day to provide resources to those who need it most. I believe Tucson can set the standards for municipalities across Arizona.
Ensuring good health and prosperity is more than hospitals and economic development. It is about economic equity, abundance of opportunity, a strong education system, and working together to make our communities stronger. As a City Council member, I will work from every angle to address the challenges facing our city and encourage all our representatives to do the same.
What is your vision for Tucson?
My vision for Tucson is to be a thriving and diverse community. A city where opportunities are available to everyone regardless of their background or economic status. I want to see all residents treated with respect and encouraged to be active participants in our community. Our city must be safe, our businesses must thrive, and our government must work to serve ALL our residents.
I want to help my city be a place where people choose to live and raise their families because Tucson gives them hope and opportunity. As a City Council member, I will work each and every day toward that vision.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
The endorsement of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is important to me because my campaign is built upon providing a voice to those in our community who aren’t being heard. That is what access to Planned Parenthood does for millions of women across our country. By giving our community access to quality reproductive health care and the ability to make their own choices about their future, Planned Parenthood is providing empowerment. I believe now, more than ever, we must empower and engage our communities.
I want Tucsonans to know they can always count on me to stand with the mission and work of Planned Parenthood and with the women and families they serve. Thank you, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, for giving me that opportunity.
Is there anything else you’d like the voters to know about your campaign?
This election is about taking action, empowering our community, and helping our neighbors. For the past three decades, I have worked throughout Ward 3 serving our community. The connections I have made, lessons I have learned, and experiences I have gathered are what makes me the most qualified and uniquely suited candidate in this election.
My campaign is endorsed by dozens of elected officials and community leaders who serve Ward 3 residents and understand the needs of our community, such as Supervisor Sharon Bronson and Constable Bennett Bernal, who represent Ward 3 each and every day, and community leaders like Rev. John Fife, who is a renowned human rights activist and founder of the sanctuary movement and No More Deaths. I have the support of parents, teachers, and business leaders who are looking for a strong leader with experience and common-sense solutions.
Finally, I am proud to be running as a Clean Elections candidate in Tucson’s Public Matching Funds Program. I believe our elections should be open, transparent, and not influenced by corporations or outside interests.
I encourage all Ward 3 voters to read more about me and my campaign at TomTronsdal.com and contact me anytime with questions or to share your experiences.
To find out what Tucson city council ward you live in, check this website. To learn more about Tom Tronsdal, visit his website. You can also follow him on Facebook. You can contact us if you’d like to volunteer for an endorsed candidate.