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. The Tempe general election will be held on March 13, 2018, with ballots mailed to registered voters on February 14. Make your voice heard in 2018!
In the upcoming Tempe special election, there are six candidates vying for three open City Council seats. Tempe residents will also cast their votes for three separate ballot initiatives. For the first time in the city’s history, all registered voters will receive their ballots by mail. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona (PPAA) has endorsed two Tempe City Council candidates: Genevieve Vega and Lauren Kuby.
“I’m a woman who turns words into action!”
Lauren Kuby is running for reelection to the City Council in order to continue building a sustainable future for Tempe. During her tenure in office, Ms. Kuby has advocated for policies ranging from equal pay to environmental protection to campaign finance reform. In 2012, the Arizona Republic named Ms. Kuby one of five “Tempe newsmakers” who impacted the city over the course of the year. If reelected to the City Council, Ms. Kuby will continue fighting for her vision of Tempe as a “compassionate,” “diverse,” and “innovative” community.
On February 19, 2018, Ms. Kuby took the time to be interviewed by PPAA, offering insight into her background and the motivations behind her candidacy.
Tell us a little about your background.
My family always told me that I was bound for a life of community service. I trace that path back to 1958, when my parents were volunteering for JFK’s senate campaign in small-town Massachusetts. One day, JFK unexpectedly visited, with no entourage, our local campaign office. He asked for coffee, and my dad raced home to percolate a cup, leaving 8-month-old me and my mom alone with the family hero. “Your baby makes me miss my Caroline. Can I hold her?” The story of JFK rocking me as a baby became family lore and a large part of my identity.
My dad was a town committeeman and, at age 12, I was his proud “assistant” committeewoman … or so I thought. Turns out that position didn’t exist; he awarded me that title to dupe me into doing his work! Still, the sense of contributing to my community has captured me ever since. My middle-class parents raised me to believe that being part of a community means doing the hard work to care for it. I’ve worked on many issues in many campaigns, both nonpartisan and partisan, from local to statewide to national; and Harry Mitchell — a font of Tempe history, government, and geography — has been my inspiration for much of that time.
Since first moving to Tempe 29 years ago, bringing people together has been my passion. Community engagement is central to my professional life as well. As manager of community outreach for ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, I oversee a packed public events calendar, mentor students, and engage the Tempe community in sustainable solutions.
What motivated you to run for Tempe City Council?
Like my parents, I believe that if you care about your community, you have to take care of it. As a senior sustainability scientist at ASU, I saw that cities had become the best incubators of sustainable solutions, and I decided to dedicate my life to keeping Tempe a smart, sustainable, and special place to live.
Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care decisions?
When people make their own health care decisions, they become empowered to help others and to build a community that reflects shared values of caring and compassion.
What is your vision for Tempe?
Look around and we see a federal government in chaos and a state Legislature that often ignores the needs of our communities. But Tempe is a compassionate city where we embrace diversity and work together to innovate and bring positive change to our working families.
My life’s work and passion have been to build community and empower people to take action. Working with my fellow councilmembers, city staff, ASU researchers and students, local businesses, and neighborhoods, I strive to make Tempe an incubator of sustainable solutions and an economy that works for all.
City Council decisions impact our community for generations. Now, more than ever, Tempe needs to lead the way in percolating progressive change and I’m a woman who turns words into action! I will continue to be a thoughtful and respectful leader who asks tough questions, sparks intelligent yet civil debate, speaks for those who may not have a seat at the table, and advocates for a budget that reflects our community values.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has been on the forefront of the fight for social-economic justice and has been a progressive ally for many causes beyond health care, such as the fight for earned sick days and a higher minimum wage. Planned Parenthood understands the interconnectness of health, security, and happiness — for women, their families, and the larger community. Simply put, we share common cause and I’m honored to stand with you in this fight.
Is there anything else you’d like the voters to know about your campaign?
Like my mentor Harry Mitchell always said, “You can’t succeed in politics without many people wanting you to succeed.” I’m so grateful to the people who got me here and believe in me still. I’m verklempt! #KeepKuby