Meet Our Candidates: Brian Davidson for Osborn School Board

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 2014, and early voting is already underway! 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.” Make your voice heard in 2014!

10498597_1459086937673271_6501604788517873548_o (1)Among elected officials, school board members are in a unique position to directly affect the lives of students under their governance. When a school board understands that accurate, comprehensive, and inclusive sex education is part of a well-rounded education for all students, it can help empower students to make informed, healthy relationship choices and to respect the humanity and diversity of the individuals they’ll encounter in their lives.

Brian Davidson has lived in the Central Phoenix Osborn School District for 10 years, where he’s been an active community volunteer in that time. Currently, Mr. Davidson seeks to serve his community by running for Osborn School Board, where he plans to advocate for smaller class sizes, continued arts and music education — areas that have been cut in many districts throughout the state — and more classroom resources for teachers.


“Children need to be empowered with information about their bodies and prepared to make responsible decisions by the time they are in middle school and high school.”


Brian Davidson was kind enough to take the time for an interview on October 16, 2014.

Tell us a little about yourself.

A third generation Phoenician, I grew up on the west side of Phoenix. After attending Phoenix College, I graduated from Northern Arizona University. I worked for nonprofits focused on education and career development. From 2003 through 2011, I worked in environmental policy for the State of Arizona and the Environmental Protection Agency. A resident of Central Phoenix since 2002, I served on the Encanto Village Planning Committee and the Woodlea Melrose neighborhood board. I live with my wife Michelle and two children.

Why is it important to you to be involved with education in your community?

As the parent of two school-age children, the quality of our public education system is of fundamental concern to our family. I want to ensure every child in our community has access to a world-class education. Continue reading

Q&A With Our New Director of Public Policy, Jodi Liggett

jodiOn January 6, Jodi Liggett joined Planned Parenthood Arizona’s team as the director of public policy. She will work with communities to advocate for reproductive health and rights, and will collaborate with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona to reach out to voters and legislators to advance a vision of greater access to comprehensive sexuality education, family-planning services, and abortion care. In a state where lawmakers are so hostile to these objectives, Jodi has a lot on her plate!


“The most effective thing we can do is advocate for comprehensive and accurate sexuality education.”


In the following Q&A, Jodi addresses the recent controversy regarding comprehensive sex education in Tempe high schools, and names some of the bad bills that have already been proposed so far in the 2014 legislative session. And, with the gubernatorial elections slated for later in the year, she talks about her hopes for the future — an Arizona government that actually reflects the will of Arizonans, the majority of whom support Planned Parenthood’s mission.


Welcome aboard, and I hope your first month with us has been a positive experience! Please tell us a little about your background and what makes you so passionate about protecting everyone’s access to sexual and reproductive health care.

I am thrilled to join the Planned Parenthood family, and feel like this role is the culmination of many years working on behalf of Arizona’s women and vulnerable populations. When I graduated from law school in the late ’90s, I worked as legislative staff on welfare reform — a huge policy change that affected tens of thousands of poor single mothers struggling to raise their children. Later, I worked in Gov. Jane Hull’s administration as her policy adviser for human services. In both roles, my biggest successes came from finding common ground, avoiding partisan posturing, and working from the middle. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Manuel Cruz for Mayor of Glendale

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!

Manuel Cruz, mayoral candidate in the City of Glendale, made time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona volunteer Liza Love on September 16, 2012. Read further to find out why we endorse his candidacy!


It speaks volumes that Manuel Cruz, a busy father, husband, businessman, and community leader who also happens to be in the full swing of his campaign, has also made us a priority. But it is through these many lenses that Cruz is fully able to understand the needs of Glendale residents and have the utmost regard for the people he seeks to serve. His comprehension of the issues ranges from Glendale policy and economics, to LGBTQ rights, health-care access, and family planning. There is no topic that this candidate is not ready to take on.

It is clear why Mayor of Phoenix Greg Stanton said the following when endorsing Cruz in July:

Manuel Cruz is exactly the kind of person that the people of Glendale need as their next mayor. He has the heart, passion, vision, and work ethic to lead the city beyond its current challenges and toward a strong future — and is committed to doing so in a transparent manner, engaging the citizens of Glendale every step of the way. When neighboring cities do well, we all do well, and I look forward to working with Manuel Cruz to build a robust, diverse regional economy that benefits us all.


“Choices made regarding one’s health care are best left to … the person making the choice and that person’s physician.”


“As a longtime Glendale resident, and fourth generation Arizonan, I am committed to my family, friends, neighbors, and citizens of Glendale,” Cruz told us. He currently serves as a volunteer commissioner on the Glendale Neighborhood Commission, Committee on Neighborhood Grants, Water and Sewer Rate Task Force, and as a volunteer board member for several area nonprofits, including the Arizona Advocacy Network.

Cruz, who has a blended family of five children with his spouse Valerie Revering, not only has a firm grasp on the economic and political needs in Glendale, he also has an understanding of what real families in Glendale are dealing with in every aspect of life, including health care and family-planning access, comprehensive sex-education reform, and domestic partnership rights for Glendale residents and city workers. Continue reading