Ignoring the Forecast: Eleven Candidates to Beat the Red District Blues

The following post was written by Marcy, Matt, and Anna.

Past election patterns and current forecasts can give pundits and the public a good idea of what to expect on Election Day, but they guarantee nothing. A new, unique, or charismatic candidate can inspire an unexpected voter turnout and make predictions less reliable — while low-turnout elections, on the other hand, commonly favor the status quo and conservative candidates. That’s why we’re spotlighting candidates whose qualities are outstanding — but whose districts haven’t always favored candidates like them. Extraordinary odds call for extraordinary candidates to overcome them, and we think these are the candidates for the job.

Let’s meet some of our endorsed candidates — all Democrats — who are currently campaigning in districts with Republican advantages.

Legislative districts 16, 20, 21, 22, and 25 on a map

Continue reading

Tipping the Balance: Why Primary Elections Matter

Arizona state Senate“We will remember in November,” say activists vowing to effect change at the polls. General elections, held in November, are contests between the candidates nominated by their political parties and decided by voters. They are phenomenally important, as their outcomes determine who our presidents, senators, representatives, and other legislators will be.


Not all Democratic candidates support reproductive rights, so check our list of endorsed candidates before voting a Democratic ballot!


What rhymes with August? “You’ll eat sawdust in August”? “We want laws just in August”? I’ll work on that, but for now you should know that the primary elections will be held in Arizona on August 26, and many important races will be decided in August rather than November. How is that possible? Sometimes, only one political party has candidates running for an office, meaning that whoever wins their party’s nomination in the primary election won’t face opposition in November.

In three such races, all featuring Democrats running for the state Senate, reproductive rights are at stake. So, in case you were wondering why voting in the primary elections is so important, read on to learn about these crucial races! And tell your friends in these Phoenix-area legislative districts that the decisions they make at the polls have the potential to bring balance to our state legislature in terms of reproductive health care access. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Martín Quezada for State Senator, LD 29

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014. 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. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 28 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

The 29th legislative district’s current state senator, Steve Gallardo, is not seeking reelection, and now Martín Quezada and Lydia Hernández are vying for the open seat in the Democratic primary election. Martín Quezada has deep roots in Legislative District 29, a West Valley district that includes Glendale and West Phoenix. He has used his background in law and passion for public service to represent the interests of his constituents, standing strong against bad bills that have been introduced over the past several years.

In so doing, he’s stood up for reproductive-health patients’ right to privacy, fought for the dignity of the LGBTQ community, protected the right to receive an abortion after 20 weeks, and fought to keep state funding for preventive health-care services provided through Planned Parenthood Arizona.

Mr. Quezada and Ms. Hernández have served alongside one another as seatmates representing LD 29 in the House; however, when it comes to reproductive rights, they could not be more different. This race could very well be decided in the primary election, highlighting why it’s so very important to vote in every election — including the primaries!

Mr. Quezada generously took the time to answer our questions on July 19, 2014.


“My opponent differs from me in several areas, but women’s rights and women’s health choices is one of the clearest distinctions.”


It’s great to talk to you again! How has your commitment to serving Arizona grown over the past two years? On the policy level, what has happened during that time to give you hope, and what has happened to strengthen your convictions?

My commitment to serving Arizona has grown tremendously over the past two years since I’ve gained a deeper understanding of how to be an effective legislator. During my first full term, as a “rookie,” I’ve used this time to learn as much as possible and improve my skills as a legislator. I’ve been hugely successful in that regard and my performance reflects that. Through that learning process, my appreciation and love for public service has only deepened.

On the policy level, we saw Democrats make significant achievements with the help of a few moderate Republicans to pass significant legislation that would benefit the entire state. Those achievements, though politically difficult, gave me hope that more successes and better policy could be enacted in the future.

Yet, my convictions were strengthened because of some of the extreme and hyper-partisan bills pushed by the Republican Party. Some bills this past year that were extremely homophobic or blatantly discriminatory in nature reminded me that despite our advancements, that type of hatred is still alive and well, and we need to be vigilant in our efforts to defeat those efforts. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Carol Lokare for State Representative, LD 21

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, and early voting started on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2012!

Earlier this month we profiled Dr. Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, as well as Jo Holt, a retired biochemist running for the state Senate. And last month we spotlighted Dr. Eric Meyer, a physician with experience in emergency medicine, who is running for the Arizona House of Representatives. Another candidate who would bring scientific and medical expertise to the Arizona Legislature is Carol Lokare. As an experienced registered nurse, Lokare understands both the factual basis (or lack thereof) for family planning legislation as well as the human side of the equation: how such legislation would impact people’s lives.

Lokare is currently seeking to represent Legislative District 21 — an area that includes El Mirage, Peoria, and part of Glendale — in the Arizona House of Representatives. She took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 17, 2012.


“I am someone who can be trusted to look out for women and families, someone who will advocate for affordable, comprehensive, easily accessible health care.”


Tell us a little bit about your background.

For the past 32 years I have worked as a registered nurse. I am a 1980 graduate of Phoenix College’s nursing program and a 1984 graduate of the University of Colorado Adult/Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Program. I have a varied background in the nursing field, having worked as a bedside nurse; manager of a hospital medical unit in Los Gatos, California; school nurse; and as a nurse practitioner in a geriatric practice in Sun City, Arizona. I recently took a leave of absence as a cardiac care nurse at Banner Boswell Hospital in Sun City to devote time and attention to my campaign for the Arizona House of Representatives, LD 21. I also have a bachelor of science degree in political science from Arizona State University.

I have been married to my husband, Sanjay, for 25 years, and we have three children, a son and two daughters.

Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices? What role do you feel the government should play in legislating and facilitating health care services, especially reproductive health care services?

Because of my background in the health care field this is a question that I feel can be answered in a simple and straightforward way. I cannot think of one time in the last 32 years where I have felt it necessary for any elected government official to step in and make a health care decision for a patient. All health care decisions can and should be made by a patient, his/her physician, and concerned family, without meddlesome interference by outsiders. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Sheri Van Horsen for State Representative, LD 21

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” To vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 9 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Sheri Van Horsen has experience in a variety of government service positions. A candidate for the State House of Representatives in previous years, Van Horsen now seeks to represent the newly drawn Legislative District 21 — which includes the areas of El Mirage, Sun City, and Peoria — in part to help combat the legislature’s recent war on reproductive rights, women, and health care. In addition to her endorsement from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, she has been endorsed by the Arizona Women’s Political Caucus.

Van Horsen took the time for an interview with us on September 23, 2012.


“A fundamental right in this country is the freedom to make our own health care choices and to be secure in the ownership of our own bodies.”


Tell us a little bit about your background.

I have a background in law and have worked as deputy director of constituent services for Gov. Janet Napolitano. I previously served as an executive administrative assistant to the chief of staff for the attorney general’s office; director of constituent services, attorney general’s office; special projects coordinator for [the] Anti-Meth Task Force; Consumer Protection Task Force; community groups; ethnic group committees; Homeland Security Task Force; special paralegal – criminal division – voter fraud unit, white collar crimes and severance unit, attorney general’s office.

I am married to Michael Tarrats, and we share two beautiful daughters. We are dedicated to working hard for a better life for our children, and we share a passion for community service, advocating for workers’ rights, and holding politicians accountable for their actions. We have four dogs, two cats, and a house full of love.

Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices? What role do you feel the government should play in legislating and facilitating health care services, especially family planning services?

It is a fundamental right afforded to all Arizonans that we decide what is best for ourselves and our families. All of our situations are unique and as individuals, we are in the best position to decide what is best for ourselves and our families. Government need only ensure that Arizonans are receiving quality care from licensed professionals and that facilities are safe and operating at or above industry standards. Continue reading