Next January, Colonel (Ret.) Felicia French may very well have a new title: State Senator.

A candidate with an impeccable background from her service in the military and in the local community (including a month helping members of the Navajo Nation during the recent Coronavirus outbreak) Colonel (Ret.) French is the Democratic nominee for the Arizona State Senate seat from Legislative District (LD) Six.

As a red district, whose demographics have been shifting, LD Six will have many political eyes focused on its direction this November, as Democrats look to pick up the State Senate seat with Colonel (Ret.) French and one of the House seats with Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans.

The Republicans are currently fragmented as their State Senate Nominee, fringe leaning Wendy Rogers, defeated incumbent, a little less fringe leaning, Sylvia Allen. Ms. Rogers views can be described as extremist reactionary.

If elected this November, Colonel (Ret.) French would work to “improve public education, expand access to quality and affordable healthcare, make our state government more accountable to northern Arizona’s rural communities, and make sure policies drafted at the state capitol benefit ALL Arizonans, by creating more local job opportunities, while also protecting northern Arizona’s water and land for our families and future generations.”

Colonel (Ret.) French graciously took the time to discuss her candidacy for the State Senate.

The questions and her responses are below.

  • Please tell the voters three reasons they should pick you over Lt. Colonel Rogers.
  • “I am a third-generation Arizonan who has called Pine my home for nearly 20 years. I understand from first-hand experience, and from directly listening, the needs of the constituents in my district.”
  • “After retiring from 32 years of public service in the military and Arizona National Guard as a nurse, medic, medevac helicopter pilot, and senior medical advisor in Afghanistan, I took up volunteering full time to continue my public service. I served with the Pine Community Emergency Response Team, the local Civil Air Patrol, and the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue. I also volunteered as a hospice and home health nurse in Rim Country. Most recently, I spent a month at the northwestern edge of our district in Tuba City to support the COVID-19 efforts of the Navajo N” 
  • “I visited all 36 towns and cities in the district when I ran in 2018. This year, our campaign has reached out to over 6,000 voters in the district asking about their top local issues and learning about our shared values. I really understand the local needs and what the voters say matters to me—they are the same values and priorities that are front and center in my campaign.”

 

  • Please tell the voters at least three ways your opponent does not reflect the vision or direction of LD Six.

“I cannot speak to my opponent’s views on the direction of LD Six, as the only public comments I have seen so far focus on national, political issues rather than the local, kitchen-table issues specific to our district.”

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

 

  • “No matter where a child lives, they should be able to attend a great public school. I want to expand rural broadband to bridge the digital divide. Internet access must be a basic utility, like electricity. Otherwise, we leave our rural communities further and further behind in education, health care, and jobs. I also support Universal Pre-K and believe, consistent with our state constitution, that university tuition should be as free as possible.”
  • “As a nurse, I want to ensure everyone, especially people in our rural communities, including our tribal nations, can access quality and affordable health care. I support expanded telehealth to help people with chronic illnesses. I also support expanding Medicaid and KidsCare.”
  • “I believe that our district’s 36 towns and cities know what is best for them. That’s why I am running to strengthen local control and make our state government more accountable to Northern Arizona.”

 

  • Please tell the voters if you feel Doug Ducey should open a special session to deal with the urgent problems (like COVID 19, assistance to the most vulnerable, funding schools to safely reopen, legal reform) facing Arizona? Please explain. 

“Frankly many of the problems facing our state could be addressed right now, independent of a session. For instance, as a medical professional, I know there’s nothing preventing the governor from adopting statewide metrics based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for any reopenings—schools or otherwise.”

“Clearly communicating the benefits of mask-wearing in public and creating comprehensive, statewide standards is vital to reducing the spread of the disease, since a virus doesn’t recognize county or city boundaries.”

“Adopting a downward trend or near zero incidence rate of reported COVID-19 cases, over more than a 14 period as a science-based criterion for reopening, would also speed a return to normalcy. The state should also ensure there is sufficient testing, case investigation, and contact tracing. Finally, it’s critical we maintain hospital and ICU bed capacity, in order to avoid crisis care or triage treatment standards.” 

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

 The COVID-19 pandemic has been so difficult for so many people, it has really highlighted the inequities in education, healthcare, and the economy, especially here in Northern Arizona.”

 “What we’ve seen is that health care must be a basic right to avoid the double catastrophe of unemployment: which is both lost wages and loss of health care.”

 “We have also seen that broadband and internet access should be available as a basic utility, like electricity. Otherwise, we leave our rural communities further and further behind in education, health care, and jobs.”

 “That is why I am running as a public servant for Northern Arizona—to put people before profit and patriotism over politics.”

For more information on Colonel (Ret.) Felicia French and her candidacy, please click on her webpage here, her Facebook page here, and an earlier profile she completed for Blog for Arizona here.

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