Meet Our Candidates: Genevieve Vega for Tempe City Council

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 knew I could be a strong advocate for families like mine.”

As a small business owner and consultant, Genevieve Vega has spent her adult life serving the city of Tempe. In addition to working as a professional business consultant, Ms. Vega serves on the Tempe Community Council and the Phoenix Suns Charities 88 Board of Directors. She is “unapologetically pro-choice,” and she is proud to have received endorsements from both PPAA and Arizona List. Ms. Vega has also been endorsed by Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell; current council members Lauren Kuby, David Schapira, and Randy Keating; and a host of other community leaders. If elected, Ms. Vega will be the first Asian-American council member to represent Tempe.

On February 11, 2018, Ms. Vega 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.

Service is core to who I am. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a Green Beret, who in the Vietnam War rescued a wounded and orphaned Vietnamese girl. He decided to adopt that girl, the first Vietnamese adopted in the U.S., who graduated from ASU. She’s my mom, and raised me as a single mom until I was 9. She and my stepdad live in Tempe today. My husband Dave and I chose Tempe as the place to raise our family — we have a special-needs second grader and a freshman in public schools. I’m a two-time Sun Devil with an executive MBA and I run my own consulting business helping businesses with training and development for growth. Continue reading

Confronting HIV/AIDS in the Asian and Pacific Islander Community

Some of Arizona’s first Asian Americans were Chinese immigrants who arrived from California and Mexico in the late 1800s, often finding work in mining camps alongside Irish and Italian immigrants.

Today, Arizona’s Asians and Pacific Islanders, or APIs, represent nations throughout Asia and the Pacific, with Indians and Filipinos constituting the two largest API ethnic groups in Arizona. Although APIs are a small percentage of Arizona’s total population — 2.8 percent — their population is now the fastest-growing in Arizona, increasing by 85,000 in the last decade. In this respect, Arizona mirrors a larger trend; nationally, the Asian and Pacific Islander population grew by 43.3 percent between 2000 and 2010.

More than two-thirds of Asians and Pacific Islanders have never been tested for HIV.

Asians and Pacific Islanders experience the same health problems as the population at large, but like other minority groups, their health needs are best met by understanding how health problems affect them uniquely, and by providing culturally competent health interventions and health care. There’s an increasing need for both as their population grows, especially when it comes to addressing HIV/AIDS in their population. Although APIs have low rates of officially reported HIV/AIDS compared to other racial and ethnic groups, their incidence of unreported HIV/AIDS most likely hides a larger problem. As Dr. C. N. Le of the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS explains, “The statistics say that the prevalence rate among Asians is relatively small, and much smaller than among the black community or the Latino community … But those are official statistics, and official statistics are notorious for undercounting minorities, and especially for undercounting immigrants.” Continue reading