Meet Our Candidates: Andrew Sherwood for State Representative, LD 26

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 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.” Make your voice heard in 2014!

SB1062 Protest Andrew SherwoodAndrew Sherwood just completed his first term representing his district in the Arizona House of Representatives, during which time he came out swinging against bills that were designed to marginalize the LGBTQ population and harass patients seeking reproductive health services. The 26th legislative district covers parts of Tempe and Mesa, and is currently represented in the House by both Mr. Sherwood and his seatmate Juan Mendez, both of whom have received Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s endorsement for their commitment to reproductive justice, equality, and education.

Mr. Sherwood is an Arizona native whose political involvement stretches back before his election to the House. In 2011, he helped spearhead the Democratic Party’s successful recall efforts to oust Russell Pearce (who you may remember as the architect of SB 1070, or more recently for his offensive remarks advocating for the forced sterilization of poor women). He is an Arizona State University graduate who has made LD 26 his home.

Andrew Sherwood kindly spoke to us over the telephone on October 3, 2014.


“I oppose discrimination in all forms, and the reason that I opposed [SB 1062] was that the ability to exclude someone from commerce is the ability to exclude them from society.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I got involved in politics in 2006. I started working on a campaign back in 2008; I ran my first campaign in 2010. I was elected in 2012, and so I’ve been serving for the last two years and I’m up for reelection. I’ve worked on both sides of the political equation, so I’ve been involved in the party apparatus as well as the elected-official side. I think that having worked on both sides makes me better at each of the others, if that makes sense.

Before politics I worked in the private sector as well: I ran a small business, I’ve been a business executive. I’m from Tucson, Arizona. I moved to Phoenix, in Tempe, so that I could go to Arizona State University. And I feel really lucky to have gone to ASU. It was a life-changing experience. I’m one of those students that didn’t expect their whole life to go to college, and so for me when I had the opportunity to do it, it didn’t just provide for me all the usual opportunities that colleges do, it provided the mindset, which is the ability to have this economic mobility. And that’s why I’ve always run campaigns with a heavy emphasis on education.

In my personal life, I love animals, I love sports, I like walking dogs, I like rock climbing, I like boxing, and of course there’s not much time for any of these things anymore now that I spend almost all of my time in politics. I’ve never missed a vote, I’ve never missed a day at work, and I put about 80 to 100 hours a week into the Capitol. So I work very hard at this job.

Last legislative session, you voted against HB 2284, which now permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. What do you think about this new law?

Not only did I vote against it, but I had pretty strong oral arguments against that bill. I’m definitely in strong opposition to House Bill 2284. I felt that this was a bill that, the result could be the intimidation and harassment of women, and I oppose that. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • mobile appRussell Pearce, one of the worst Republican leaders in Arizona, engineered his own downfall by advocating for poor women to be forcibly sterilized. Isn’t it strange how these people actively fight against “government-sponsored” co-pay-free birth control and abortion one minute and then try to force it upon those they deem “undesirable” the next? (AZ Central)
  • Vice went undercover in several crisis pregnancy centers and further confirmed that they’re a lying bunch of sorry liars who thrive on cruelly tricking women in incredibly vulnerable situations. (Vice)
  • Add Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to the ever expanding list of lying, anti-choice liars on a never-ending mission to deceive us. This imbecile had the gall to accuse the federal government of “suing nuns to force them to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.” Um, what? No sir. The “nuns” in question, Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic nonprofit, are suing the government to challenge the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. The government is not suing them. The case is over their refusal to provide insurance coverage for birth control to their employees. Birth control! Which does not “induce abortions”! (RH Reality Check)
  • A dilemma far too many women face: being too poor for a baby and too poor for an abortion. And before the anti-abortion crowd chimes in with “she shouldn’t be having sex then,” let’s shut down that BS with the fact that this woman in particular is married. I don’t think that would stop Russell Pearce from putting her on the forced-sterilization list, but I do think the anti-abortion “abstinence before marriage crowd” should face the fact that these situations don’t just happen with us unmarried sinful sex enthusiasts. (xoJane)
  • If you’re on Twitter and not following Dr. Leah Torres, ob/gyn and pro-choice superstar, you should rectify that. She drops knowledge! (Bustle)
  • Planned Parenthood has an app for your mobile phone now and obviously some people aren’t thrilled with that. (Seattle Times)
  • One woman’s cost for helping her pregnant daughter obtain “the abortion pill”? Forty-five dollars for the medication and 9 to 18 months in jail. (NY Times)
  • CVS effed up big time by illegally charging more than 11,000 women who should have been receiving co-pay-free birth control under the ACA for their contraception. (Salon)

Russell Pearce Misses the Point: Starting a Dialogue on Sex Education

The following guest post comes to us via Kelley Dupps, political engagement coordinator for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.

teacher and studentsMuch has been made of the repugnant remarks made by former Republican lawmaker Russell Pearce regarding poor women and birth control. Mr. Pearce — assuming he was head of welfare — made comments on his radio show September 6 saying he would force women to have birth control implants or undergo surgical sterilization to access funds. So many regimes have used this rhetoric, and some have enacted policies like these to control the reproductive lives of women. It seems the definition of insanity that we’re having this conversation again.

Let’s be clear about one thing: Politicians have no place in the health care choices of Americans. All health care decisions should be made between the patient, the doctor, and the patient’s family — and politics should play no part in that.

Let’s also remember, birth control prevents abortion. In fact, birth control allows young people to finish high school — which is especially important here in Arizona since we have a high teen pregnancy rate and subsequent increased high school dropout rates.

But really what it comes down to is education. Government cannot force birth control on its citizens. Governments cannot legislate to impose morality or healthy decision making or regulate hormones. What governments can do is educate their youth on abstinence and contraceptive behaviors to help keep them safe from unintended pregnancy and STDs. Schools can teach medically accurate information on anatomy and biology and facilitate conversations on the importance of healthy relationships. Finally, communities can help advocate against bullying and raise awareness about dating violence and ways to address it.

Since sexuality education is not a mandatory subject in Arizona schools, it’s important to understand that accuracy and truth matter. School boards, local schools, and communities can take action today by simply asking teachers, principals, and administrators: “What is my kid learning when it comes to sex ed?” Facebook and Twitter allow public platforms for town-hall-like discussion to take place directly with officials. Have you ever wondered what your child is learning — if anything — about sex? Maybe it’s time to find out.

To learn more about starting the conversation on comprehensive sex education, please download our flier.