Brianna Westbrook: For a nation which boasts of being rooted in democracy, our voter turnout has been dismal in past years. Just 50% of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election, and I think this is more indicative of some people being overwhelmed, and others being complacent.
First, I have had the pleasure of meeting my constituents and others Arizonans, and I’ve encouraged political involvement from a grassroots level, emphasizing the need to register and to vote!
Second, some of my volunteers are taking steps to become a deputy registrar, ballot center worker, and/or be a member of the special election and citizen boards.
Maricopa County currently has 900,000 eligible, but non-registered voters, and for many, the issue is registration accessibility. I will continue to advocate for making the process of voter registration more accessible for our residents, as well as provide them with an incentive to vote, as they now have diverse candidates for whom to vote!
Brianna Westbrook: Arizona does not have a law requiring schools to teach sexuality education or sexually transmitted disease, STD/HIV, education. However, Arizona law does state that if a school chooses to teach these topics, instruction must be age-appropriate and must stress abstinence. The ‘abstinence-only’ curriculum has repeatedly proven to fail if their goal was to reduce sexual activity among our nation’s teens.
Approximately half of all high school students in Arizona, as well as nationwide, reported having had sexual intercourse. In 2007, 79% of high school students in Arizona reported having been taught about AIDS/HIV in school, compared to 90% of high school students nationwide.
I stand with Planned Parenthood in support of comprehensive, scientifically based, and age-appropriate sex education for today’s youth. Honest, age-appropriate information will educate today’s students – tomorrow’s adults – about health safeguards and risks and will empower them to make healthy decisions about their bodies.
Brianna Westbrook: I’m a competitive person, but I also advocate for the democratic process to be open to all qualified citizens. My team and I did discuss the option of challenging signatures, but such an action seemed undemocratic and would send a message to voters that I wanted to limit their choices, or that I didn’t trust them to elect the best candidate. Limiting the field is limiting democracy, whereas a bigger field energizes voters and increases voter participation.
Ultimately, I decided that a challenge was not the best way to utilize the time of my team, and the small contributions from our donors, in our grassroots campaign. It was clear to me that, rather than attack other candidates, the correct decision was to let the field stand and continue with my campaign activities to show the voters my commitment to our community, and why I am the best candidate for CD8.
Brianna Westbrook: The Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan is a captive breeding program between the United States and Mexico formed to protect the Mexican wolf from extinction. Its mission is to reestablish the Mexican wolf into the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.
Only about 300 Mexican wolves are currently in captivity. The goal of the reintroduction program was to restore at least 100 wolves to the wild by 2006, but today there are only approximately 97 of these wolves in the wild. Opponents of the program claim that it should be abandoned once the original goal of 100 is met.
I do not agree with Sen. Flake that the reintroduction program must be considered, “…yet another federal regulatory nightmare for ranchers and Arizona’s rural communities.”
I support a review and revision of the several proactive management activities currently used to reduce loss of livestock including Range Riders, exclusionary fencing, and a food cache. To suddenly lift the animals’ endangered status with only 300 in captivity, and 97 in the wild, however, would doom the wolves to extinction.
Brianna Westbrook: Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits places of public accommodation (Dr. office, recreation facilities, store, etc.) from discriminating against people with disabilities.
A person with a disability now has 3 options if he encounters an architectural barrier which prohibits accessibility: speak to the business, file a complaint with the DOJ, or file a lawsuit.
HR 620 weakens the ADA, because it delays the ability to go to court for weeks, months, or possibly years, and removes incentives for businesses to comply proactively.
There are no damages awarded in lawsuits under Title III of the ADA, as the goal is only to remove barriers, encourage public awareness, and provide equal access.
I will fiercely fight against passage of HR 620, and look forward to working with the Disability community and the business owners to find effective and equitable solutions.