#MeToo Abortion Arizona Arizona House of Representatives Athena Salman Brett Kavanaugh catamenial product childcare Don Shooter East Valley education Elections 2018 feminine hygiene product HB 2222 House Bill 2222 LD 26 Legislative District 26 Leslie Herod Maricopa County maternity care Meet Our Candidates 2018 menstrual hygiene menstrual product menstruation Mesa News pads Phoenix Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Planned Parenthood prenatal care prison prison system religious beliefs reproductive justice Salt River Pima Indian Community Scottsdale sexual harassment supreme court T.J. Shope tampon tampons Tempe

Meet Our Candidates: Athena Salman for State Representative, LD 26

Meet Our Candidates: Athena Salman for State Representative, LD 26

The time to struggle again — and struggle ahead — for reproductive justice is quick approaching. The stakes are excessive on this yr’s state election, with candidates for governor, secretary of state, lawyer common, and different races on the poll. The Arizona basic election will probably be held November 6, 2018, and with early voting starting on October 10. Voters have to be registered by October 9 to forged their ballots. Reproductive well being has been underneath assault, each nationally and statewide, however Deliberate Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who put our well being and our rights first. Get to know them now in our collection of “Meet Our Candidates” interviews, and make your voice heard in 2018!

Legislative District 26 is a magnet for individuals who care about Arizona’s most urgent points: reproductive justice, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ equality, and powerful public schooling. Given the deep pool of expertise from which this district attracts, it has a historical past of thrilling legislators who struggle for these values on the Capitol. Athena Salman is not any exception. After a profitable first time period, she is operating for reelection with a view to proceed representing her district, which incorporates Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Group.


“If we don’t remain diligent in protecting our rights, then the discrimination we see now will pale in comparison to what’s down the pipeline.”


When Salman started her first time period in 2017, she quickly joined ladies from each events in accusing Rep. Don Shooter (R-Yuma) of sexual harassment. The story led to February, when the Home voted 56 to three to expel Rep. Shooter, an occasion that marked the primary time a state lawmaker was ousted from workplace within the #MeToo period. Across the similar time, Salman was making headlines for spearheading the #LetItFlow marketing campaign, bringing consciousness to feminine prisoners’ lack of satisfactory entry to menstrual hygiene merchandise. In each situations, Salman centered her actions on defending the dignity of girls in all places within the state.

Deliberate Parenthood Advocates of Arizona recommends that LD 26 voters forged their ballots for Athena Salman and Isela Blanc, each of whom are operating for a second time period within the Home of Representatives after proving themselves as efficient champions for their constituents. Ms. Salman took the time to answer our questions on September 18, 2018.

Since we final spoke, how has your dedication to serving Arizona grown? What has occurred throughout that point to offer you hope, and what has occurred to strengthen your convictions?

My whole life, my mom’s whole life, even my grandmother’s complete life, for so long as we will keep in mind, ladies have been harassed and shamed for exercising our constitutional proper to reproductive well being care and self-determination.

Nevertheless, from #MeToo to #TimesUp we’re seeing ladies from all backgrounds uniting and saying “Enough is enough!” With Roe v. Wade hanging within the stability, ladies are elevating our voices within the one place the place we’re really equal, the poll, and ensuring we’re being heard loud and clear. Want proof? This main election alone noticed ladies in Maricopa County outnumber males in early voting by 65,000. As a number of have already said, the longer term is feminine.

What have you ever completed in your earlier time period?

Not solely did I efficiently push our jail system to vary their inner insurance policies on female hygiene merchandise for incarcerated ladies, however when the time got here, I spoke out towards sexual harassment by one of many highest rating Home members on the Capitol, having been one among his first targets final session. Due to the bravery of a number of ladies, we held him accountable for his conduct and reaffirmed that the Capitol must be a welcoming place for all.

You launched HB 2222, which might have required feminine inmates to have entry to female hygiene merchandise. Why was this difficulty essential to you, and are you proud of the result?

Once I discovered from my good friend and Colorado State Rep. Leslie Herod that ladies in Colorado prisons have been being denied adequate female hygiene merchandise, I used to be appalled that this was even occurring. It felt like each lady’s dignity was being violated and I demanded to know if the identical remedy was being allowed in my residence state, Arizona.

As I began asking questions, I used to be disturbed to seek out that the identical inhumane remedy was being allowed in Perryville, our feminine state jail. I knew issues wanted to vary. I constructed a broad coalition to codify menstrual fairness in jail into regulation, prompting the viral marketing campaign #LetItFlow. Sadly, Rep. T.J. Shope from LD eight, the district with probably the most prisons within the state, sided with the Dept. of Corrections in shelving HB 2222 over the ladies in jail who needed the laws to maneuver ahead.

Nevertheless, within the short-term, due to our marketing campaign, we have been capable of triple the month-to-month quota of pads and for the primary time within the Perryville’s historical past, ladies have been in a position to decide on to obtain an allotment of tampons as nicely. I nonetheless consider finally we have to codify this alongside many different protections for feminine inmates into regulation, however within the meantime I’m glad ladies not should face this nightmare for the time being.

What might be your first motion as an elected official in 2019?

I plan on introducing laws to repeal all of the burdensome restrictions on ladies’s reproductive well being care in Arizona together with landmark laws to codify reproductive freedom for all.

The unsure way forward for the Supreme Courtroom highlights the significance of defending our rights on the state degree. How can state legislators stem the tide of assaults on reproductive rights, for instance by addressing so-called conscience clauses, focused laws, and entry to household planning?

It’s each becoming of the occasions but horrifying that Justice Kennedy, the swing vote on abortion, introduced his retirement. Now let’s be clear — the overwhelming majority of Arizonans help the constitutional proper to abortion — but when we don’t stay diligent in defending our rights, then the discrimination we see now will pale compared to what’s down the pipeline with a Brett Kavanaugh appointment to the Supreme Courtroom.

We’d like legislators to step up and defend ladies’s rights like our lives depend upon it. This not solely consists of preventing for common entry to reproductive well being care, but in addition entry to complete pre- and postnatal care, high quality jobs you could help a household on, common well being care, high quality schooling and childcare, and naturally one of many biggest financial elements — household planning.

What can state legislators don’t simply to safeguard present LGBTQ rights in Arizona, however to maneuver them ahead?

I recognize dwelling in a rustic the place our Structure ensures our proper to privately observe any religion or lack thereof we so select. Nevertheless, the Structure doesn’t permit people to impose their spiritual doctrine on others, as that’s discriminatory, immoral, and mistaken.

Our legal guidelines fall brief by not categorizing this group as a protected class with equal rights people are afforded based mostly on their race, intercourse, faith, and so forth. Denying protections in public lodging and elsewhere to LGBTQIA+ individuals on any grounds is just discrimination regardless of how conservatives attempt to spin it. It’s time for elected officers to take a stand in help of all their constituents as an alternative of abuse the privilege of their elected workplace to limit freedom for LGBTQIA+ households. I’m dedicated to standing with this group in preventing for full equality.

What’s the most vital factor you are able to do as an elected official to Stand With Deliberate Parenthood?

We have to acknowledge all of us are Deliberate Parenthood. Having full management over your physique and deciding if and when to start out a household are important to your self-determination.

Concurrently, what as soon as was thought-about the acute spiritual proper is now mainstream conservatism. The motion to permit discrimination underneath the guise of faith places all of us vulnerable to being pressured to submit to a different’s spiritual beliefs. Nobody wants a stranger interfering with what you do in your private life as a result of they’ve determined their spiritual beliefs trump your personal.

In consequence, Republicans have imposed a few of the most pointless and intrusive restrictions on abortion in an try and override the personal selections you make about your physique and life and defund Deliberate Parenthood.

Since our state’s inception, conservatives, who’ve traditionally managed the governor seat and state Legislature, have additionally refused to repeal legal guidelines that might impose obligatory jail time of as much as 5 years for any lady who seeks or has an abortion along with making it a misdemeanor to promote abortion or contraception if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

My objective is totally different. As an elected official, I acknowledge the privilege that comes with public service shouldn’t be taken calmly. I perceive that everybody has the constitutional proper to self-determination; a part of being free is deciding if and when to have youngsters with out authorities interference.

Because the youngest lady at present within the Legislature, I’m personally dedicated to empowering you with the fitting selection for you. This begins with standing with Deliberate Parenthood.


To study extra about Athena Salman’s background and platform take a look at her web site, like her on Fb, and comply with her on Twitter and Instagram!

Should you don’t know what legislative district you’re in, you possibly can click on right here to seek out out! You can too contact us in case you’d wish to volunteer for an endorsed candidate in your legislative district.

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