June 4, 2020

Four candidates, incumbent Daniel Hernandez Jr., Andrea Dalessandro, Luis Parra, and Billy Peard, are running in the Democratic primary for Arizona House of Representatives District 2, which includes Sonoita, Elgin and Patagonia, on August 4, 2020 for two spots in the general election. The candidates were provided questions or topics by email. Some questions and answers have been edited/paraphrased for space.

Andrea Dalessandro

Why are you running for LD2 State House of Representatives?
As a proven and experienced progressive leader, I want to use my voice in the House for the benefit of my constituents. Because of my eight years in the legislature I know how the process works, I already have relationships with Representatives and staff on both sides of the aisle. I am ready to return to the House to assume a leadership position.   

What experiences/personal qualities do you have that would make you a good representative?
I never give up. In 2019, I was one of only eight legislators out of ninety who was in attendance every day, for every vote. I am the Ranking Member of Senate Education Committee, senior member of Senate Judiciary and a member of Natural Resources and Energy Committee. I have an A+ rating from the Arizona Education Associative and the Sierra Club and a 100% rating on Who’s for Kids and Who’s just Kidding and Progressive Score.

What are your top goals, if elected to the House?
Restoration of public-school funding. Health Care access and affordability, support for small businesses impacted by COID-19,sustainability issues and making sure there is adequate and safe water.

What do you think are the top two challenges facing the district in the next five years?
Before the COID-19 crises, more than 30% of the children in Legislative District 2 lived in poverty. Now the poverty rate has to be much higher along with a higher unemployment rate

What do you think are the top three issues facing the constituents in Eastern Santa Cruz County and what will you do to respond to them?
Accessibility and affordability to good health care.

Environmental challenges to water and air. Small business support because of COVID-19 impacts to tourism, wineries, restaurants   and other entities.  I will continue to work with the Santa Cruz County Supervisors and the Arizona Commerce Authority.  

Name:
Andrea Dalessandro

Residence:
Sahuarita   

Education/licenses/certifications//military:
Certified mathematics educator. 

CPA Certified Public Accountant-tax accountant

Recent employment:
Legislative District 2 Senator January 2014 – present

Community organizations/activities:
Honorary Member of Tubac Rotary, Zonta International, League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, AAUW (American Association of University Women)

Previous public office/service: Legislative District 2 Representative January 2013 – January 2014

Learn more at:
Facebook  Andrea Dalessandro   Twitter Dalessandro4AZ

Daniel Hernandez, Jr.

Why are you running for LD2 State House of Representatives?
There is still a lot of work to be done. I’ve been an effective advocate for the 2nd Legislative District. Despite being a Democrat I’ve been able to fight for our values and achieve results.

What do you think are the top two challenges facing the district in the next five years?
Keeping our young people in Santa Cruz county and creating quality jobs. We have to fight for expanded options for higher education and technical education to attract and keep high wage jobs.

What do you think are the top three issues facing the constituents in Eastern Santa Cruz County and what would you do to respond to them?
1.Healthcare, particularly lack of access to mental healthcare. I will work to expand telemedicine, for affordable health insurance options, and incentives for providers to work in rural environments.
2.Supporting our homegrown industries. Santa Cruz, particularly the eastern portion, is full of natural beauty and has incredible agriculture. We must expand our local tourism and wine industries.
3.Funding for physical and digital infrastructure. Broadband access, increased road maintenance, and clean air and water for all our citizens. 

What are the top accomplishments of your current term?
Securing $1.01 Million for Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales and $3.6 Million for the Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital in Green Valley. Rural communities rely on these facilities in the best of times but during this pandemic they are invaluable. I’m also proud of the work last year to create a $20 million dollar school safety grant program that allowed for money to be used to hire counselors, social workers, or school resource officers. I also successfully fought to kill bad bills including a bill to arm untrained people in our schools, anti-women’s health care legislation, and anti-equality legislation.

Name:
Daniel Hernandez Jr

Residence:
South Tucson

Education/licenses/certifications//
military:
University of Arizona BA (Political Science) degree pending completion of final class in May 2020

Flinn Brown Civic Leadership Fellow

Recent employment:
State Director for Everytown for Gun Safety, Raiz Program Manager for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Western Political Director for Swing Left.

Community organizations/activities:
A Wider Bridge Board member 2018-Present, Jobs for Arizona Graduates Board member 2014-2016, Sunnyside Foundation Board member 2011.

Previous public office/service:
Board Member
Sunnyside Unified School District 2011-2019 

Luis Parra

Why are you running for LD2 State House of Representatives?
I am running to bring socioeconomic progress to southern Arizona by focusing on its core strengths. As a fifth generation border resident and great-grandson of a rancher in the San Rafael Valley, I am intimately familiar with our past and present landscape.

What experiences/personal qualities do you have that would make you a good representative?
I am a husband, father, and son who values family above anything else. I have strived to live a life of service to others. I have been practicing law for 20 years in the public and private sector advising local governments, business startups and immigrants.   

What are your top goals, if elected to the House?
Helping residents of Southern Arizona find employment by creating and promoting economic development opportunities. Enacting legislation that will help prioritize funding of higher learning for our youth as well as life-long learning opportunities.   

What do you think are the top two challenges facing the district in the next five years?
Finding our niche economic driver and balancing economic initiative with a steadfast support for sustainability of our region. Impressing upon our youth and recent residents that they matter just as much as the long time residents of southern Arizona thereby creating a sense of unity among all.   

What do you think are the top three issues facing the constituents in Eastern Santa Cruz County and what will you do to respond to them?
1) Environmental Sustainability;
2) tourism growth based on our regional landscape, flora/fauna, and natural resources.
3) Improved education and government facilities.  

Name:
Luis Parra

Residence:
Rio Rico

Education/licenses/certifications//military:
Nogales High School

B.A.(Psychology/Spanish)  University of Arizona

J.D., ASU-Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law

Licenses: AZ State Bar, AZ Federal Bar; 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

United States Army Veteran; Active Duty-1989-1991; Reserve- 1991-1998

Recent employment:
Managing Attorney: Parra Law Offices, PLLC; 2009-Present

Nogales City Attorney – 4/2018-4/2019; 

Community organizations/activities:
Advisory Board member: U of A School of Social and  Behavioral Science 2016 -Present

Founding Board Chairman/Board Member Emeritus:  Kino Border Initiative 2009-Present

Previous public office/service:
Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney, Santa Cruz County: 2005-2009

Nogales City Attorney’s office 2001-2004

Billy Peard

Why are you running for LD2 State House of Representaives?
The AZ Legislature has driven our state into 50th or near-50th spot on almost every conceivable measure of social well-being, near-50th in education. 49th in labor rights and 50th in COVID-19 testing. I am running to inject innovative, outside-the-box solutions that are demanded at this moment. 

What experiences/personal qualities do you have that would make you a good representative?
I have devoted myself to public service. As an attorney, I have always worked with nonprofit organizations, serving those who cannot afford their own private attorneys. I have represented clients who were neglected and abused by the government. 

What are your top goals, if elected to the House?
My top goal as a legislator is to legislate. On my first day in office, I will introduce bills on a wide range of topics: education, criminal justice reform, roads, water quality, and beyond. 

What do you think are the top two challenges facing the district in the next five years?
The top issues facing Legislative District 2 are those that face the entire state:
Number One: Education. So many of the other issues we face as a state are tied to our education system.
Number Two: Working families. The legislature has successfully created new tax loopholes for corporate special interests, creating a weakened state government unable to provide for the most basic needs, and local governments relying increasingly on property taxes. 

What do you think are the top three issues facing the constituents in Eastern Santa Cruz County and what will you do to respond to them as a Representative?
1. Political representation (or lack thereof: I propose to change state law to allow for Santa Cruz County to have five (rather than three) county supervisors.
2. Property Taxes: We need to take a close look at how we tax rural land. We need to equalize the tax structure so that it does not fall heavily on rural Arizonans with modest incomes.
3. Water quality: I support increasing the budget of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and increasing state-funded groundwater testing.

Name:
Billy Peard

Residence:
Tucson, AZ

Education/licenses/certifications//military:
Canyon del Oro High in Tucson

B.A. in History,Warren Wilson College

J.D.,Vermont Law School

Recent employment:
Staff Attorney, ACLU of Arizona 2017-2019

Learn more at:
www.BillyPeard.com