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 general election will be held November 6, 2018, with early voting beginning on October 10. Voters need to be registered by October 9 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!
Legislative District 23 is nearly the reddest of the red districts in Arizona, and home to communities such as Fountain Hills and East Scottsdale. Senate candidate Daria Lohman, however, not only makes her race sound winnable, she also speaks to the necessity of getting involved. Issues like education, access to affordable health care, housing, and community resources are essential to creating a resilient community.
“So many Arizonans have come to the realization that they need to be involved in the political process.”
Despite her district’s red hue, Ms. Lohman is optimistic. “I think we’ve had an awakening in this state, and that’s why I think I have a shot in a strong-red LD 23,” she said to the Northeast Valley News earlier this year. “People are paying more attention now than they used to.”
She hopes to defeat incumbent Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who has received consistently low ratings from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona and NARAL Arizona for her positions against reproductive rights, and a low rating from Stonewall Democrats of Arizona for her positions against LGBTQ equality. Ms. Lohman, whose victory would make her the first transgender elected official in Arizona’s history, personally knows what’s at stake when lawmakers don’t recognize that the right to bodily autonomy is worth fighting for, and would be a determined advocate for reproductive justice and LGBTQ equality.
Ms. Lohman has been diligently campaigning and was kind enough to take time away from the trail to answer a few questions on September 5, 2018.
Please tell us a little about your background and why you’re running for office right now in this political climate.
The short answer is I am running because I can’t not run.
Everything I believe in and care about could be lost. The current Legislature is making it harder to get an education and have access to health care, both of which are critical to having a decent way of life.
Affordable health care and quality public education are critical to having a healthy, educated workforce. Providing a first-class infrastructure along with a healthy, educated workforce will attract new business and more jobs for Arizonans.
I served six years in the Army, including tours in Vietnam, and received an honorable discharge in 1973. I worked various jobs until I realized that I needed to complete my formal education. In 1982, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics. I went to work as a programmer/analyst and had 33 years of experience in software and cybersecurity engineering before retiring in 2015.
In 1995, my life changed when I suffered the loss of my spouse. I became a single parent to my two daughters, then ages 7 and 9. In 2000, I moved my family from California to Scottsdale to accept a position with General Dynamics.
While raising my children and maintaining my career, I have been active in the local community and served on the Scottsdale City Human Relations Commission. I attended the Scottsdale City Government 101, Citizens Police Academy, Citizens Fire Academy, Citizens Water Academy, and the FBI Citizens Academy.
What will be your first action as an elected official in 2019?
Immediately upon election to the state Senate, I will:
- have private one-on-one discussions with all the other state senators to discuss the issues of public education, affordable health care, reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality, etc. It is essential to have detailed knowledge of how each senator feels about these issues.
- begin working with other pro-public education legislators to craft a bill to provide stable, sustainable funding for public education.
- begin working with pro-affordable health care legislators to determine how we can ensure that ALL Arizonans have access to affordable health care.
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?
- The original framers of the Constitution never intended for religious beliefs to override secular law. There are many beliefs that are still part of some religious/ethnic cultures that the general public has found harmful and has supported laws to disallow them, including child marriage, beating of wives and kids, etc. We must show that opening the door to conscience clauses is opening the door to a lot of other issues we would prefer to keep closed.
- Arizona is going in the wrong direction on the issue of abortion. Increasing restrictions on abortion providers is pushing us back to the days of back-alley and clothes-hanger abortions. I will work with other legislators to rescind laws that prevent a woman from making decisions about her body.
- Push for laws to have age-appropriate comprehensive sex education for teenagers that is factual and discusses not only the physiology of sex but also the emotional and psychological impacts.
- Push for better affordability of pregnancy prevention aids covered by medical insurance.
What can state legislators do not just to safeguard existing LGBTQ rights in Arizona, but to move them forward?
I will work with other legislators to pass an LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination law.
What other issues are you fighting for?
- Campaign finance reform
- Human rights, worker rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, etc.
- Environmental protections to ensure we have clean water and clean air
What gives you hope for the future of Arizona?
The fact that so many Arizonans have come to the realization that they need to be involved in the political process — and have become involved — gives me hope.
What is the most significant thing you will do as an elected official to Stand With Planned Parenthood?
I will be a vocal supporter of Planned Parenthood and will be available to discuss legislation that has potential impact on Planned Parenthood clinics. I will be a loud NO to any legislation that negatively impacts Planned Parenthood.