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: 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: Eric Meyer for State Representative, LD 28

Eric_Meyer_Pic_004[1] (1)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!

Voters first elected Dr. Eric Meyer to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2008, where he has served on the Education, Government, and Transportation committees. Once again, he seeks to represent the constituents of Central Phoenix, Sunnyslope, and Paradise Valley — the newly redrawn Legislative District 28 — in the Arizona House of Representatives.

He was gracious enough to agree to an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, which took place on September 17, 2012.


“Sex education … should be comprehensive and based on facts and peer-reviewed research.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I attended Cocopah Elementary School and Chaparral High School. I earned a degree in economics from the University of Southern California and a medical degree from the University of Arizona Medical School. My post-graduate training was in the specialty of emergency medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University. I practiced medicine in Portland’s Providence Emergency Department, eventually becoming director of that department.

I returned to Arizona 15 years ago with my wife, Sarah Snell, also a physician, and our two children. While Sarah concentrates on her practice, I serve on the Scottsdale School District Governing Board and in the Arizona State Legislature.

As a member of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix Board of Directors and the Scottsdale Unified School District All-City Athlete Banquet Board, I am a dedicated advocate for children. I have also served as a legislative liaison for the Scottsdale Parent Council, PTO president for Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center, and Scottsdale Unified School District budget committee member.

I believe strong public schools are the bedrock of Arizona’s future. As a school board member for the past eight years, I have gained intimate knowledge of our schools’ needs, and have developed a plan to move our schools forward.

My background in economics and medicine gives me the tools to address the growing problem of access to quality, affordable health care, especially for our children, and to identify ways to diversify and strengthen our economy. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Patricia Flickner for State Representative, LD 15

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!

On everything you see put out by Patricia Flickner, there is the tagline that states, “Talk to me, I’ll listen.” It is evident in every way that it is not just a line for her; it is how she serves. The interview she afforded us is below, and I think it clearly shows this aspect of not only who she is as a candidate; also who she is as a person and what it means to her to act in the role of representative.


“The biggest problem with this latest spate of legislation is that it assumes that doctors coerce women and women cannot be trusted.”


She took the time more than once to correspond and speak with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, and each time it felt as though we were carrying on a conversation with someone worthy of being called “friend.” There is no sense that she is seeking this position for anything other than to help create necessary change, even if it costs her campaign dollars and potential re-election. This woman is very genuine, and very much lives by the ideals of what it means to serve. It is tremendously exciting and refreshing!

Flickner is the sole pro-women’s health candidate running for the House in Legislative District 15 in north Phoenix, running against Republican opponents John Allen and Heather Carter. Because of the views of the other candidates in the LD 15 House election, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is recommending a “single-shot vote” for Patricia Flickner. This interview took place on September 13, 2012, and was conducted by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona volunteer Liza Love.

Tell us a little about your background.

I am an Army veteran, business leader, wife, mother of four grown children, and grandmother of 11 (the newest was just born on September 11). I have lived in Phoenix in the same house for the past 15 years. I love technology, kids, animals — especially horses — and motorcycles, and not necessarily in that order. Continue reading

SB 1009 Lacks Solutions — Tell House Education Committee to Vote NO!

SB 1009, being heard today, Monday, March 12, in the House Education Committee, requires schools to promote childbirth and adoption over abortion. It is inappropriate to discuss a preference for pregnancy outcomes — ANY outcome — as a part of a sex education curriculum. That is a private decision best left to teens and their parents.

As we know, Arizonans want solutions to the devastating number of teen pregnancies in our state. We must work to reduce risky behaviors and help our youth develop life skills that will motivate them and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. We must engage youth and parents in an effort to address sexual risk-taking behaviors! Continue reading