Billy Peard hopes to win a seat in the AZ House of Representatives in the 2020 election. Photo by Aisha Sander

Billy Peard is running for Arizona State House Representative for Legislative District 2 (LD2), a district that includes everything south of 22nd Street in Tucson; Santa Cruz County, Amado, Arivaca, Green Valley and Sahuarita. 

He will be running as a Democrat against incumbent Rep. David Hernandez and Senator Andrea Delessandro who has reached the term limit for her Senate seat. The top two vote getters in the primary will advance to the general election. 

In 2019 Peard left his job at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to run for office, putting forth a bold and progressive agenda for his campaign. He believes Arizona is going in the wrong direction and that state leaders have pushed Arizona “to last or near last place on almost every indicator of social well-being.” 

Peard said that “it is no longer enough to elect Democrats who vote against bad policies,” and it is time to elect representatives who propose creative legislative solutions to the problems faced by the community. 

Peard’s political platform focuses on issues that he believes are important for legislators to prioritize for Arizonans, including water, K-12 education, rural areas, climate change, public health, closing tax loopholes, and democracy. 

“One cannot run for office in Arizona and not have a plan for water,” said Peard. 

He talked about the dire state of education in the state. Arizona is ranked 50th in spending, last in number of school counselors and the top five in number of high school dropouts. He feels particularly connected to the unique issues of the border area in the LD2 district and recognizes its diversity in terms of biology, geology, and people. 

Peard began his political career early as a Congressional page at the age of 15. He was nominated by Rep. Jim Kolbe of AZ and moved to Washington DC right before Sept. 11, 2001 to work on Capitol Hill. Peard said, “after experiencing 9/11 I knew I wanted to run for office one day.” After high school Peard returned to the East Coast to pursue his education and career until 2016. He said, “I promised myself if Trump wins the election I would move back to Arizona.” 

While obtaining a degree in history from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, Peard became enchanted with rural life and community oriented work. He wanted to be of service and considered a variety of professions until he decided to pursue law. He said, “law is a mix of public policy and service to clients.” He attended Vermont Law School, known for its environmental law program. 

In law school he became involved with labor rights, which he believes is the “civil rights issue of my generation.” He felt pulled towards farm workers and worked for Legal Aid in Georgia and Massachusetts for four years. He also spent months working as a farmworker to understand what his clients were experiencing. 

In his work he was able to help many migrant workers who faced abuse, ranging from wage theft to discrimination in the workplace. 

Peard believes that he has the skills and the passion to serve the communities of LD2, which he recognizes is varied and diverse in its needs, and that he has the specific skills needed to legislate policies that address the pressing issues of this time.