The election to succeed the late progressive icon Richard Elias as the next Supervisor of Pima County District Five features candidates from two local political families.
Consuelo Hernandez, the sister of State Legislators Alma and Daniel Hernandez is one of them.
Ms. Hernandez, a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in Global Health Science, has been an education activist as a member of the Sunnyside School Board.
Realizing the importance of local government, she will, if elected as the next Supervisor of Pima County District Five, work to serve others by advocating for greater economic development, community safety, senior care, and the American Dream.
Ms. Hernandez graciously took the time to answer questions about her candidacy and her goals for office should she win in the August and November elections.
The questions and her responses are below.
1) Please tell the readers three ways the Pima County of Supervisors affects their lives?
“I think our priorities, in light of the current crisis, have to be altered slightly to reflect changes necessary to help us return to our normal lives. It is important the small businesses in my community are able to survive during these turbulent times.”
“a. Economy & Jobs: First and foremost helping to create jobs, help businesses grow, and improve the lives of our working families. Whether that means making it easier for small businesses to grow and create jobs or closing our wage gap, it will be critical for us as a Board to focus immediately on these issues to get Pima County moving forward again once we can safely reopen the county’s economy. We can not let this crisis lead to a worsening of the wage gap particularly for the Latino community and women who have the widest gaps.”
“b. Public health: As someone with a background in public health, I believe our Board must focus much of its energy on improving our Healthcare delivery system. In fact, we must change our system to one capable of not only handling the day to day of normal operations but is capable of handling the types of a public health crisis in innovative ways. It is unacceptable that in Pima County we have one zip code where most of the deaths are happening and it is an assisted living facility. It is unacceptable that people have died at this facility due to the lack of stringent safety and sanitary practices. The decisions at the county health department don’t just have minor consequences but they can lead to life or death.”
“c.) Transportation: One of the keys to leveling our economic disparities in Pima County is rebuilding/improving our public transportation system and access to it. But we also have to plan for the future. For example, we must invest heavily in clean energy technologies and improve the options so that people can utilize public transportation for their everyday commute. Too many times people who are low income have limited options to use public transit and the infrastructure is severely lacking in places like South Tucson and Pascua Yaqui.”
2) Please tell the readers how your education and experience have prepared you to serve on the board.
“Over the last two years, I have served as a Board Member for the Sunnyside School District in Pima County overseeing over 15,000 students and staff. Throughout that time, I have been a vocal advocate for our educators, students and working families. I’ve pushed for fair contracting language to promote union work in our district. I’ve also fought to improve conditions for employees.”
“And as I noted before, my background in global public health issues has given me a unique perspective on the increasingly desperate need to improve our Healthcare delivery system to protect the most vulnerable communities in Pima County.”
“Our Democracy is better the more people participate. That’s why I fought to create participatory budgeting that allowed our students for the first time ever to have an impact and voice on the district’s budget.”
“I’ve been a caseworker for the International Rescue Committee so I’ve worked directly with our refugee and immigrant community and know we have to work hard to make sure that all people living in Pima County do so without fear regardless of immigration status. Our community is better when we all work together and Pima county should continue to be a welcoming and safe community for all.”
“I have worked on progressive causes as a former organizer for MoveOn fighting to ensure we fought for our shared progressive values like healthcare, voting rights, and worker rights.”
3) Please tell the reader at least two reasons you would like to run for the Pima County Board of Supervisors.
“The best reason anyone can or should give is the willingness to serve others. The Hernandez family tradition has always been to be involved in the public discourse and to be part of making real change happen is something we are very proud of.”
“The fact is, my generation is being asked to step up now more than ever to take part in rebuilding our communities. I take that job and its accompanying responsibilities very seriously.”
“We need voices at the table that are expressing new and exciting ways of helping to make Pima County a bastion of hope and opportunity in the world.”
“Additionally as someone who has a background in global health, I felt compelled to step up during this crisis to run and fight for a Pima County that will safeguard the health of all Arizonans regardless of their age, race, creed, or income level.”
4) Please describe how you would support:
a) Animal wellness, adoption, and protection.
“As both an owner of five sweet dogs, former PACC volunteer and a vocal advocate for animal wellness, I will be at the forefront in guiding policies that will provide greater resources to improve our animal shelter and work closely with these incredibly dedicated public servants on encouraging fostering and adoption of animals. I will make sure that once elected I work with our county shelter and make it a no-kill shelter.”
b) Public safety from disease.
“As I mentioned earlier, my top priority as Supervisor is to improve our healthcare delivery system to our most vulnerable communities. First, we must handle basic priorities like preventative care including regular doctor visits and immunizations.”
“Second, no one should be denied critical medications based on socio-economic factors – that’s not only immoral, its criminal. As Supervisor, I will ensure that we have a Healthcare system that is available to all and equitable in its delivery to every portion of our population including our homeless and disabled communities because every life is valuable and important.”
“It is unacceptable that one of the rest home facilities in our own backyard (Saphire) has been the most impacted. Our brown and poor elderly in our community have been disproportionately affected and we must do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable.”
“As Supervisor, I will work with state and local health officials to create greater equality in delivery.”
c) Ensuring immunizations are given to low income and homeless citizens.
“Please see above.”
d) County Libraries
“As a member of the Sunnyside School District, I have been a vocal advocate in providing greater resources to our library system.”
“As a child, access to our local library was so important in my early education. It gave me access to information and educational resources that I couldn’t have really gotten otherwise. Every kid in Pima County has a right to that same opportunity.”
e) Veterans Services
“I never understood why there is always great talk about providing services to folks who put their lives on the line for us ….but still there is a massive gap in getting this done.”
“As Supervisor, I take the duty and responsibility to our Veterans very seriously. And, it will be the priority of my office to be a critical point of contact with veterans groups in Pima County to make sure they have the tools and resources they need to transition back and help move their lives forward.”
f) Safeguarding waste, recycling, and sanitation.
“As part of my overall environmental plan, I will work to improve our recycling program and invest heavily in the latest technology that will help make our sanitation systems much more environmentally friendly.”
“As I mentioned previously, I will be focusing a significant portion of my time as Supervisor in improving public transportation systems, making them more energy-efficient and environmentally sound while further investing in ways to make it easier and more affordable for everyday use.”
5) Please tell the reader anything you would like them to know not covered in the previous question
“I come from humble beginnings and have had to work extremely hard like many members in my community to overcome barriers due to socioeconomic status and cultural barriers that my grandparents were not able to overcome. I wish I still had grandparents on either side of my family. Unfortunately, their lives were cut short due to the cultural and socioeconomic barriers they faced; they did not have access to the critical care they needed. Protecting our seniors and most vulnerable is not only a priority but it is personal to me.”
Please remember to:
• Register/sign up for the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) in Arizona or any state that allows early or absentee balloting and mail. Arizona residents can sign up at: servicearizona.com
• Arizona residents, mail your General Election ballot by in your vote by November 3, 2020, October 28, 2020, for the November 3, 2020 election
• Check-in with the Secretary of State’s office where you live to verify your mail-in ballot was received, processed, verified, and counted.
• Know the voting ID requirements in your state. Get any voter id a state or county office may need to process your ballot.
• If you can, support Clean Election Candidates with a small contribution.
Remember Election Day is 190 days away on November 3. 2020.