Meet Our Candidates: Angela LeFevre for State Representative, LD 6

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting today. 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!

On her campaign website, Angela LeFevre describes herself as “a broad-minded Democrat who’s been involved in politics all [her] life.” In fact, she graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a degree in economics and international relations. She’s worked on a number of social and political causes throughout the United States, the most recent being as president of the board of Democrats of the Red Rocks (DORR), a position she held until she resigned to seek election to the Arizona House of Representatives.


“When circumstances arise and a woman is faced with a difficult choice, government has no place in making that decision for her.”


LeFevre is running as a candidate in the new Legislative District 6, an area of substantial scope, both in geography and in diversity of constituents. It extends north of Sedona and Flagstaff to the edge of Grand Canyon National Park, south past Payson and into areas of the Tonto National Forest, and east to Heber-Overgard and the Sitgreaves National Forest.

LeFevre took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 9, 2012.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I was born in Leeds, England and earned a degree in economics and international relations from the London School of Economics. I immigrated to the United States in 1981 after having spent a year in Iowa as a foreign student in 1967. I knew I would come back here to live. I taught fourth grade in a New Orleans public school where my two children were students. I also started a small telecommunications business, which required hiring employees. From that I moved into the corporate world in senior management for Qwest Communications for 14 years. That meant living in Denver, Colorado, where I became active with the Democratic Party.

My life experience provides me with the skills and knowledge base to address the most crucial issues in Arizona today: the economy, jobs, and education. I have been a consistently strong advocate for women and will remain so when elected. In the past I worked on behalf of other political candidates, especially women, volunteered many hours working with disadvantaged teens both here and in Colorado. My reasons for running are many but mainly, I believe Arizona is on the wrong track, that our legislature has not represented Arizona’s citizens.

In the previous legislative session, there were a lot of bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control (HB2625), funding for family planning (HB2800), abortion (HB2036), and unbiased information about unintended pregnancies in public schools (SB1009). What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?

The legislature has been putting the cart before the horse regarding these issues. No one wants an abortion. The best way to avoid that unfortunate possibility is to educate our young people using accurate, science-based sex education in our public schools and appropriately funding family planning and affordable birth control using those methods that work best for the individual. When unprotected or forced sexual acts occur or when birth control efforts fail, we should stand by women by offering emergency contraception. Roe v. Wade is the law and, as a legislator, I will support the law. I will also do whatever I can to ensure that Planned Parenthood receive[s] full funding and that its vital contribution to health care as a whole in rural Arizona is recognized. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Eric Shelley for State Senate, LD 28

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting today. 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!

Eric Shelley, like both of his parents, was born and raised in Arizona. He grew up in Mesa and graduated from Westwood High School, after which he received a degree in psychology from Arizona State University. Since then, Shelley has worked for the same employer — a large health benefits company — for the duration of his career. His current role involves planning budgets and determining the number of new employees the company needs to hire. Shelley says this makes him “a true job creator.”


“Legislators … are not doctors and should not insert themselves into decisions that patients and doctors should make.”


According to his website, after more than 20 years in the private sector, Shelley “understands the challenges faced by employees and employers alike.” Additionally, Shelley’s role as a community activist has brought him into contact with Arizonans who have fallen on hard times. Shelley refers to them as “Arizonans who have worked hard, played by the rules, and yet still find themselves losing their jobs, their homes, their dignity and their security.” People like these have inspired Shelley to want to “work hard to help our neighbors find solutions to these challenges and get our state back on track.”

Eric Shelley is running to represent the newly drawn Legislative District 28, which includes Paradise Valley and parts of Phoenix. He took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 7, 2012.

How will your career in the field of health benefits inform your decision-making process when considering health-care-related bills?

My experience in health care goes beyond the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I grew up around health care professionals. My mother is a nurse practitioner and my sister is a physician’s assistant. I understand that medical issues are complex and highly personal. Public policy makers should take steps to increase access to the entire range of health care services.

In the previous legislative session, there were a lot of bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control (HB2625), funding for family planning (HB2800), abortion (HB2036), and unbiased information about unintended pregnancies in public schools (SB1009) — and your opponent, Adam Driggs, voted in favor of all of them. Do you feel that his views are consistent with the majority of Arizonans?

Sen. Driggs has cast many votes that are completely out of touch with the views of Arizona voters. With his votes on less money and more guns for Arizona schools, votes to cut 47,000 Arizona children from KidsCare, and these crucial votes on reproductive-rights issues, Sen. Driggs has been a rubber stamp for the tea party legislature the voters of Arizona have had to endure the last few years. I will work to make sure the Arizona legislature will focus on the right priorities for Arizona. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Dave Joseph for State Representative, 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.” Make your voice heard in 2012!

Dave Joseph is running for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 11. He is the only Democratic candidate, running against two Republicans, Steve Smith and Adam Kwasman. Although there are two seats open, we are recommending “single shot voting” in this district. This means that we recommend voting only for Dave Joseph, which actually benefits him, as that vote will be weighted in his favor.

Joseph was interviewed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 6, 2012; our questions and his responses are recorded below.


“Just as I wouldn’t want a politician to perform surgery on me, I certainly don’t want them directing caregivers how to speak to and treat patients.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I am a successful business owner and job creator. Over my long career, I have acquired and run local television stations in Arizona, Missouri, and Mississippi. By re-investing and re-focusing resources, I was able to skillfully turn around stations that had been on the verge of bankruptcy. The result was more jobs, better pay and benefits for the staff, and a large return for investors.  Recently I have been consulting with the Regional Transportation Authority of Pima County, which has given me an appreciation for the people and processes that make government function.

My wife, Michele, and I have been Oro Valley residents for over 20 years. As the father of three exceptional daughters, I know the value of a great educational system and the importance of unrestrained access to health care.

In the previous legislative session, there were a lot of bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control (HB2625), funding for family planning (HB2800), abortion (HB2036), and unbiased information about unintended pregnancies in public schools (SB1009). What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?

The primary function of government is to protect its people. We should be working to move health policy forward in this state, innovating to lower costs while improving outcomes. The demonization and defunding of Planned Parenthood is another example of the irresponsible choice of serving ideologues over effective and efficient health care. Government has no business intruding in the freedom of our citizens to privately choose medical providers. Planned Parenthood plays an important role in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies by providing access to education, information, and affordable birth control. Further, the recently passed 20-week abortion ban is so intrusive that it is applicable two weeks before conception even occurs. Government and business must refrain from interfering between a woman, her doctor, and her faith. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Rosanna Gabaldón for State Representative, LD 2

Photo of Rosanna Gabaldón.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.” Make your voice heard in 2012!

A resident of Southern Arizona since 1973, Rosanna Gabaldón is knowledgeable about the people and priorities of the region. As a member of the First Things First South Pima Regional Council and a member of the Friends of the Green Valley Library, she has demonstrated her commitment both to families and to information access. Gabaldón is currently seeking to represent Legislative District 2 — an area that runs from South Tucson to Nogales — in the Arizona House of Representatives.


“I want to see legislation that we as a state can be proud of.”


Gabaldón took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 5, 2012.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

Because my father served in the U.S. Air Force, I grew up with the rich experience of having lived in many different places. In 1973, when my family and I moved to Southern Arizona from Panama, I fell in love with the desert. I have traveled to many different places, but the desert has my heart.

I believe in community service, and it has been my honor to give my time and talents for local art projects, literacy programs, the community food bank, and in support of early childhood development. My biggest challenge and highest award was in 2009 when I won my election to serve as a council member for the town of Sahuarita. I look forward to serving the citizens of Southern Arizona as their next state representative for LD 2. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Karyn Lathan for State Representative, LD 17

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 midnight tonight (October 9) — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Karyn Lathan, an Arizona native from Chandler, is running in Legislative District 17 for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, an area that includes Chandler, Sun Lakes, and part of Gilbert. She has had a career in law enforcement and corrections, and ended her 25-year career as the restorative justice coordinator for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Lathan is currently finishing her degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix.


“We have rolled women’s rights back to the 1950s.”


Lathan is the sole pro-women’s health candidate running for the House in Legislative District 17, facing off against Republican opponents Tom Forese and J.D. Mesnard. Because of the views of the other candidates in the LD 17 House election, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is recommending a “single-shot vote” for Karyn Lathan. Lathan generously took the time for an interview with us on October 5, 2012.

Tell us about your background and how it will serve your constituents.

I spent my career in law enforcement, first in the U.S. Air Force, then in corrections. I was a correctional officer, correctional programs officer, and probation and parole officer. I ended my career in corrections when I returned to Arizona and started the first restorative justice program for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Currently I am a commissioner with the Chandler Domestic Violence Commission and work with several victim services agencies. I am a consultant for Coalition to End Arizona’s Sexual Exploitation (CEASE). My passion lies with women’s issues and anti-violence issues.

My whole career has been about community and how to have a safe, productive community. I will continue to fight for the quality of life that we all deserve and that emphasizes respect and progress. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link — so is a community. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Andrea Dalessandro for State Representative, LD 2

Portrait of Andrea Dalessandro, candidate for state house. 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 midnight tonight (October 9) — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

“I moved to Arizona to retire,” Andrea Dalessandro said in a recent telephone interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. But when the former teacher saw the legislature cutting funding from public education — first from English language learners in Nogales, then from everyone — it inspired her to take action. She ran for the Arizona House of Representatives in both 2008 and 2010, in what was then Legislative District 30. With the recent redistricting, what’s changed is Dalessandro’s district number; she now seeks to represent LD 2, an area that includes much of southern Tucson, Sahuarita, Green Valley, and all of Santa Cruz County. What hasn’t changed is Dalessandro’s commitment to representing the people she cares about.

Andrea Dalessandro was kind enough to take the time for an interview on October 2, 2012.


“I’m tired of the war on women.”


Having lived here since 2004, Dalessandro considers herself a “naturalized Arizonan.” She is also a retired math teacher and certified public accountant. She had a tax practice for a number of years that she closed in 2006 to prepare to run for office.

Of her family, Dalessandro is married to a disabled Vietnam veteran. Moreover, she said, “I’m a mother — and a grandmother of five.”

When asked about the bad bills introduced in the legislature during the last session — the ones that negatively affected access to birth control and abortion as well as funding for family planning — Dalessandro responded that she didn’t know when politicians had declared a right to get involved with a woman’s personal medical decisions. She said, “They don’t have any right to talk to me about a mammogram or cancer treatment,” and similarly felt that other areas of reproductive and sexual health care were “a personal issue, a private issue … I don’t know how politicians got caught up with it.” Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Barbara McGuire for State Senator, LD 8

Portrait photograph of Barbara McGuire.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!

Barbara McGuire is a lifelong resident of Arizona, though with recent redistricting, the exact number of her district has changed. Born in Ray-Sonora, Arizona, she served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2006 to 2010, representing the former Legislative District 23. She is currently seeking election to the Arizona Senate in the newly drawn Legislative District 8, an area that extends as far north as Globe, as far south as Oracle and San Manuel, as far east as the border of Graham County, and as far west as the I-10 corridor.

Rep. McGuire graciously took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 3, 2012.


“People should be able to make their own health care choices.”


Tell us a little about your background.

As a third generation Arizona native, District 8 has been a big part of my life. I grew up in the Copper Corridor, gained hardworking values in a multi-ethnic mining community, raised my children in the same town, and now spend summers with my grandson in the same community. My mother, brother, and my in-laws all have homes within a few minutes of mine. All the places in District 8 encompass this fantastic sense of family.

Being rooted in the district is an essential element of this position. As I raised my family, I also opened a travel agency, a people-based business. As times have changed, I put more effort into working as the Salvation Army extension unit director for the Copper Corridor and surrounding area. This makes a great difference to many families in need that may otherwise be forgotten because they live in rural areas. I received Salvation Army’s Distinguished Service Award and in 2004 I was named Citizen of the Year by the people in my hometown. It has been an honor serving four years in the House of Representatives. All honors that I truly appreciate! Continue reading