Meet Our Candidates: Lela Alston for State Representative, LD 24

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 MIDNIGHT TONIGHT — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

When we first interviewed Rep. Lela Alston two years ago, she’d made both reproductive justice and educational reform key issues of her campaign. Now, as she seeks her third term in office, representing the part of Phoenix that is Legislative District 24, her commitment to those issues has not wavered.

Ms. Alston was gracious enough to take the time for a telephone interview, transcribed below, on July 23, 2014.


“It’s wrong for lawmakers to be making medical decisions for people that they don’t even know.”


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?

Well, I think what’s happened over the last couple of years is a breakthrough in the relationships between and across party lines. I spent some time in the Senate, way back when, and now I’ve served four years in the House. My first term, back in 2010, was very partisan in nature; there was not much working across the aisle. And, what has happened in the last two years, because of the issues that have come up and the circumstances, there has been a lot of bipartisan interaction and results. For example, we got the expansion of Medicaid passed; we killed bad bills like [SB] 1062. So all of those are hopeful signs to me.

That does strengthen my convictions about participation by individuals in the process. I see more people stepping up, being involved. When I see this, it’s not hopeless.

Last legislative session, you voted against HB 2284, which now permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. How do you explain to constituents the unique nature of abortion care and the need for heightened privacy and safety for patients?

I think that’s very easily explained, due to the past behavior of those people who opposed an individual’s right to choose. By that, I mean their behavior in the past has been to picket medical facilities, harass women who are perhaps alone or nearly alone, going in for advice or procedures or whatever. The harassment has been horrible.  Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Ken Clark for State Representative, LD 24

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!

A longtime Arizona resident with previous legislative experience, Ken Clark seeks to represent Legislative District 24, located in Central Phoenix, in the Arizona House of Representatives. In addition to receiving Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s endorsement, Mr. Clark has made economic development, sustainability, and LGBTQ rights prominent issues in his campaign.

Mr. Clark graciously took the time for an interview on July 16, 2014.


“The constant and intentional confusion about science in order to win a political or moral debate is reprehensible.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I moved to Arizona in 1982, as an Air Force dependent. As a child in Southern Arizona, I learned to value the natural beauty of the state, as well as the need to protect the environment.

We moved to Germany in 1985, where I attended high school, followed by my undergraduate studies at Northern Arizona University. I completed my master’s degree at the American University in Washington, D.C., and I spent about two years after that in Sarajevo, where I produced radio programming all over Bosnia.

I returned to Arizona in 1998 and pledged to stay here, where I could work for positive change.

I ran for office and won in 2002, and served in the legislature for one term.

I chose not to run again in 2004, and was asked by Gov. Napolitano to direct the State Energy Office.

After directing that office for about a year and a half, I worked on several political campaigns. I reported to Kyrsten Sinema as the manager of the 2006 Arizona Together campaign [which successfully opposed an anti-marriage equality ballot initiative].  Continue reading