Planned Parenthood finished its primary election round of endorsements today.
In the Democratic race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, the board decided to endorse Jason Williams, the former director of Teach for America in Phoenix, over Penny Kotterman, who headed the Arizona Education Association for six years.
“That was a tough decision for the board to make,” said Michelle Steinberg, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood. “Both candidates had exceptional qualifications and experience, but in the end, the board really felt Jason Williams would champion the issues of Planned Parenthood, and particularly medically accurate sex education.”
A new law on parent’s rights prohibits school districts from providing sex education unless the parents opt-in. That’s a stricter standard than merely opting out. It also ensures parents know they have the right to opt out of AIDS instruction or out of any other presentations regarding sexuality in any classes other than formal sex education curricula.
“We rank third in the nation for the number of teen pregnancies,” Steinberg said. “There are 50 15-19 year-olds who get pregnant in our state every day. And 25 percent of teen girls are infected with a sexually transmitted disease. We can’t make it more difficult for schools to provide accurate information to students.”
While the organization picked favorites in the top-of-the-ticket Democratic races, no Republican candidates received endorsements in GOP races.
Here are the other statewide endorsements:
• Governor — Terry Goddard, who is running unopposed
• Attorney General — a dual endorsement for House Minority Leader David Lujan and prosecutor Felecia Rotellini. That leaves out Vince Rabago.
• Secretary of State — Sam Wercinski, over fellow Democrat Chris Deschene.
• Treasurer — Andrei Cherny