The time to fight back — and fight forward — for reproductive justice is fast approaching. The stakes are high in this year’s state election, with candidates for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and other races on the ballot. The Arizona primary election will be held August 28, 2018, and voters need to be registered by July 30 to cast their ballots. Reproductive health has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who put our health and our rights first. Get to know them now in our series of “Meet Our Candidates” interviews, and make your voice heard in 2018!
Richard Andrade represents Legislative District 29, which includes Glendale and West Phoenix. His roots in the Southwest are deep: His great-grandparents settled in Winslow, a small town on Arizona’s Route 66, to work for the Sante Fe Railroad. After high school, Rep. Andrade joined the U.S. Air Force, and was stationed at Luke Air Force Base outside of Phoenix. Afterward, he continued his family tradition with a job at the railroad, during which time he became heavily involved in unions.
Today he represents his West Valley constituents by standing for working families and health care access, and against discrimination in all forms. He earns Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s endorsement thanks to his strong stance in favor of reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality — two things that are in jeopardy as the Supreme Court is poised for a rightward shift. As Rep. Andrade told us, “I strongly stand with PPAA, especially during this time of uncertainty.”
“We have an opportunity to flip one or even both chambers in the Legislature.”
We endorsed Rep. Andrade in 2014 and 2016, and are proud to endorse him again. He generously took the time to answer our questions on July 9, 2018.
What have you accomplished in your previous term?
I am the only House Democrat who for the last two years has had legislation signed by the governor. These two bills, HB 2341 from 2017 and HB 2421 from 2018, protect all National Guard members’ jobs upon completion of their deployments — including National Guard members who are members from National Guard units from other states but work and reside in Arizona. I also had two House Concurrent Memorials from 2018, HCMs 2007 and 2008, pass out of both chambers, House and Senate, to the secretary of state, urging Congress to support two important issues regarding our veterans.
What will be your first action as an elected official in 2019?
Continue to work to strengthen employee protections in the workplace. I believe strongly if employees want better pay, health care, and pensions, these employees have the right to be represented by an organization or association that offers worker protections, especially when it comes to safety. All employees have the right to work in a safe workplace.
Employees also have the right to affordable health care, to provide for themselves and their families during times of sickness or if an injury occurs. No one should have to worry about high health care costs.
I will also continue to work on veteran issues, education, gun safety, and, most importantly, protecting women’s rights to make their own medical decisions.
The uncertain future of the Supreme Court highlights the importance of protecting our rights at the state level. How can state legislators stem the tide of attacks on reproductive rights, for example by addressing so-called conscience clauses, targeted regulations, and access to family planning?
Unfortunately, we have only witnessed the beginning of these attacks on organizations such as PPAA. With the uncertain future and another Supreme Court justice pick, how can state legislators who support PPAA stop these attacks upon reproductive rights? We need to gain more seats in the Arizona Legislature, with legislators who support or have an understanding of what PPAA does for our communities. We have an opportunity to flip one or even both chambers in the Legislature. Only until we have done this will we be able to stop the attacks on reproductive rights at the state level.
What can state legislators do not just to safeguard existing LGBTQ rights in Arizona, but to move them forward?
I will continue to sponsor legislation to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community. I have sponsored legislation to protect the employment rights of our LGBTQ community in the workplace: HB 2437 from 2018 and HB 2347 from 2017 protect the LGBTQ community from being discriminated against by employers.
What is the most significant thing you can do as an elected official to Stand With Planned Parenthood?
Educate, educate, and educate!!! Planned Parenthood does more for our communities, such as providing age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education to prevent the spread of disease and prevent unwanted pregnancies, and cancer screenings at an affordable cost — especially for those who have no health care coverage.