In the last couple of election cycles, the politics of Arizona Legislative District 11 has come under ridicule because of the fringe and conspiracy-laden views of its elected state officials, notably State Representative Mark Finchem, a right-wing militia leader, and State Senator Vince Leach.

While the second Republican member of the LD 11 State House delegation, Brett Roberts, has not earned the notoriety of his two colleagues, his voting record demonstrates that they are all kindred spirits.

Despicably, both Roberts and Finchem voted to:

  • Discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community.
  • Not allow an increase in low-income housing credits.
  • Allow construction of the border wall without construction permits.
  • Not fully fund public education.
  • Not fully fund state environmental programs.
  • Take away the minimum wage from teenagers.
  • Make the citizen’s ballot initiative process harder.
  • Allow people to use their cell phones while driving.
  • Not authorize HIV Prevention Education.
  • Allow people to carry weapons on school grounds.

Finchem has also voted to restrict a woman’s right to choose. Roberts was not in the legislature to vote on that.

It hardly seems both men are champions of the people’s agenda,

They know that too. That is probably why they did not show up to the Clean Elections Debate for LD 11 Candidates.

They did not have the courage to face the people and answer their questions.

Unlike the Republicans, the Democratic candidate for one of the LD 11 State House seats, Dr. Felipe Perez, did show up to the Clean Elections Debate for LD11 candidates.

He showed he could answer the people’s questions.

He showed he would serve them instead of the reactionary fringe interests of the extreme right.

A board-certified, family medicine physician, Dr. Perez would take an evidence-based and consensus-building approach to governing.

His approach is to build solutions for the short- and long-term needs of Arizona including:

  • Getting the state past COVID 19 both medically and economically.
  • Addressing the physician shortage in the state.

If elected, he would bring a fresh air of reality and competence to Arizona’s LD 11.

Dr. Perez graciously took the time to respond to questions about his candidacy.

The questions and his responses are below.

Please tell the voters two reasons they should pick you over your opponent.

  •  “As a legislator, like a physician, I want to help the people live long and healthy lives.”
  • “Arizona is facing a critical shortage of physicians. The Rural areas are going to be hit the hardest and this is an area that needs to be addressed. I am the best candidate to do that because of my experience in healthcare. In 2013, I started a family medicine training program that allows me to recruit medical students from around the country to come and train in family medicine. This is a good solution because physicians that come to train usually stay in the area, they complete their training. Since we have started, 75 to 80 percent have stayed in Arizona. The program also brings federal dollars into the local economy and generates revenue for the community.”
  • “We have had a lot of good candidates in previous elections, but I want to emphasize that I have grown up in Arizona and have attended public schools and understand the issues in the local area. Being able to understand the people has really resonated with them and the community because our message meshes with many of their concerns. We have a core understanding of what the needs are in the State. My family and I are completely invested in the short- and long-term needs of Arizona and our local community. Being able to see the full picture is essential in making decisions for investing in the long-term future of our state.”

Please tell the voters at least two ways your opponent does not reflect the vision of LD 11.

  • “My opponents are very focused on federal issues instead of what is happening at home. They do not understand what the needs of the local area are/or have shown a willingness to find out. All three Republicans seem to have their own agenda. That is demonstrated by their refusal to attend any debate or socially safe public function. They do not really want to hear any questions from our constituents. I think that is because there are a lot of questions related to the district that they do not want to answer. They have failed as leaders and have continually shown willful neglect and ignorance towards the voters and community.”
  • “A lot of my decisions are based on evidence and compassion whereas Mark Finchem’s are based on either conspiracy theories or personal preferences. We need to look at what works, in the local area and other states, and arrive at evidence-based solutions. This is what we do in medicine every day and I am comfortable applying this approach to the State Legislature.”

Please tell the voters at least three public policy issues you will advance if you are elected. 

  • “Passing policy to better manage this pandemic so we can get the economy back on track and fully reopen back up. In the beginning, the three incumbents challenged the efforts to slow down the pandemic and they did not understand how serious it was. This hurts the state, the people, and the economy. Their policies left the state vulnerable. Even to this day, they have not stepped up with ideas on how to help. If we had sent a different message and taken more proactive steps, we would not be in this economic meltdown now.”
  • Blog for Arizona

    This article first appeared on the Blog for Arizona.

    “Critical shortage of physicians: We need to address this because we will need 1900 primary care physicians by the end of the decade. There is already a shortage, but it will grow more, especially in rural areas, in the next nine years. Our state representatives tried to address this last session and they had proposed lowering the quality of care like giving a medical license to someone without any training. Someone who graduates from medical school is not ready right away to treat patients. That bill died. Another bill they proposed was to have pharmacists diagnose illnesses. That is dangerous because we need a team model approach with regard to treating patients. Instead of addressing the problem the right way, they are proposing substandard solutions that would lower the healthcare quality for all Arizonans. My biggest concern is that they will keep on trying to duct tape solutions again and again unless we elect a new leadership with the knowledge, skills, and experience to fix the problem right the first time.”

  • “I know, based on my life experience, of taking the long-term view, on overcoming poverty, making short- and long-term investments in finding success. Making sure we make short-term and long-term decisions and investments for Arizona. Tax breaks have neglected many important investments like a strong education system and the future of Arizona. We need to be prudent about the long term so Arizona and the people will be much healthier along the line and better prepared for future challenges. I want to apply these personal experiences and skills if elected to the State House.”

Is there anything you would like the voter to know about you or your candidacy that has not been asked in the first three questions? 

“Although Arizona allows voting for no more than two candidates for Arizona State Representative District 11, a single vote for only one candidate, Perez, Felipe R will amplify your voice, and ensure not only a bipartisan representation, but also that we get a medical expert in the government that will lead us out of this pandemic, fully open the economy, and get people back to work faster.”

For more information on Dr. Perez and his campaign, please click on his webpage here, his Facebook Page here, and his appearance at the LD 11 Clean Elections Debate here.