Meet Our Candidates: Jo Holt for State Senator, LD 11

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014, and early voting began on July 31. 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!

[A]rizona’s Legislative District 11 covers northwest Pima County, including Marana, Oro Valley, and Catalina, and parts of Pinal County, including SaddleBrooke, Casa Grande, and the town of Maricopa. Jo Holt, who is running for the Arizona Senate, lives in Oro Valley.

Dr. Holt is a retired research scientist with a background in biochemistry. More recently, she has been involved in Arizona politics; she previously ran for state Senate in 2012, when she was also endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. You can read the interview we conducted with her then to learn more about her background, as well as her positions on conscience clauses and sex education.

She was kind enough to answer some questions for me this year as well, on July 31.

“I believe in an America that lends a helping hand, not one that punishes at taxpayer expense.”

It’s great to talk to you again! How has your desire to serve 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?

Thank you, Rachel. I am still very much committed to making a difference in the lives of the people of Arizona, and to becoming an effective advocate for those who live in my legislative district. The extension of Medicaid, the successful petition drive against the voter repression bill, and Gov. Brewer’s veto of the “religious liberty” bill all give me hope that the public is getting increasingly fed up with our state legislative majority. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Jo Holt for State Senator, LD 11

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!

[J]o Holt is running for an Arizona Senate seat in the new Legislative District 11, which covers the northwestern parts of Pima County and western parts of Pinal County. This area includes Oro Valley, Marana, Avra Valley, Arizona City, Ak-Chin, Maricopa, SaddleBrooke, and Catalina, as well as many other cities and towns. On her website, Holt states, “Arizona is worth fighting for, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work for the best interest of all the people of Arizona.” It’s also very clear that she believes the women of Arizona are worth fighting for as well, and that Holt will be willing to roll up her sleeves to protect women’s rights to health care.

What follows is an exclusive interview conducted with Holt on September 26, 2012.

“The right of women to determine their reproductive choices … is being undermined here in Arizona with the most restrictive laws in the nation.”

Tell us a little about your background.

I am a retired research scientist, and this is my first time to run for public office. Part of my career was spent at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Arizona in the 1980s. My son James was born at Tucson Medical Center. My career took me to the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, where I spent about 15 years. I retired early to take care of my husband, who passed away last year after a long battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s. So, my background is split between being a mom, a research scientist, and a caregiver.

From 2010 through 2012, your opponent Al Melvin has supported 13 bills (and sponsored many of them) that sought to regulate and stigmatize abortion care out of existence, defund Planned Parenthood, and harass patients and staff of Planned Parenthood and other women’s health care providers. For example, in the previous legislative session, there were many bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control (HB2625), funding for family planning (HB2800), abortion (HB2036), and unbiased information in schools about unintended pregnancies (SB1009). What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?

According to the laws of this country, a woman can legally choose to end her pregnancy. A state bill that reaffirms this right, and removes government restrictions on a woman’s ability to control her own reproductive cycle, should be introduced.  Continue reading