Charlene Fernandez

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Charlene Fernandez
Charlene Fernandez by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Democratic Whip of the Arizona House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 19, 2017
Preceded by Rebecca Rios
Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 4th district
Assumed office
January 12, 2015[1]
Serving with Geraldine_Peten
Preceded by Juan Carlos Escamilla
Personal details
Born Charlene Elise Ramos
Yuma, Arizona, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sergio Fernandez
Children Brian, Carlye, and Lisa
Residence Yuma, Arizona
Alma mater Northern Arizona University
Profession Educator
Website charleneforarizona.com

Charlene Fernandez (born Charlene Elise Ramos) is the Democratic Whip of the Arizona House of Representatives from the 4th Legislative District serving on the Committee on Appropriations. She was first elected to the state House in 2014 and represents Southwestern Arizona, specifically, the majority of Yuma County, western Pima County, southwestern Maricopa County and southwestern Pinal County.

Early life and education[edit]

Fernandez was born in Yuma, Arizona to the late Antonio "Tony" Ramos and Carmen Ramos. She attended Yuma High School where she graduated, and went on to attend Arizona Western College before transferring to Northern Arizona University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

Career[edit]

Fernandez worked for Congressman Ed Pastor for twelve years, coordinating constituent services for the western portion of then Congressional District 2. While working for Congressman Pastor, Charlene spearheaded an effort that culminated in bringing a Veteran's Administration clinic to Yuma County for the first time in history; previously the Phoenix Veterans facility was the closest place for them to receive these services. Her experience led to her becoming a consultant for a software company that produced a Constituent Management System for the U.S. House of Representatives.[2]

Charlene later served Governor Janet Napolitano as a liaison for the Arizona Department of Environment Quality in Yuma County. In this capacity she worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as its counterpart in the Republic of Mexico, to ensure that the air and water in Southwestern Arizona remained safe while ensuring that businesses faced minimal impact.[3]

Political career[edit]

Fernandez was elected to the Yuma Union High School District Governing Board, serving as both President and Vice President.[4]

In 2008, Fernandez was elected by the Arizona Democratic State Committee to be First Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, she served in this capacity until 2009.

In 2012 Fernandez ran for the Arizona State House from the newly drawn 4th Legislative District. Fernandez ultimately lost in the August primary by 140 votes to Juan Carlos Escamilla. Escamilla went on to win the general election.[5]

In May 2014 Fernandez announced her candidacy for the seat again, this time winning the August primary by a comfortable margin of 12.8%.[6] The general election was unexpectedly competitive, Republican Richard Hopkins led Fernandez on election night as the heavily republican portion of the district reported early. The next four days saw the margins go up and down, by the 5th day, with the democratic strongholds in Pima and Yuma counties reporting, Fernandez was declared the victor by 188 votes.[7]

In 2016, Fernandez successfully ran for re-election with newcomer Jesus Rubalcava, they were unopposed in the general election.

Save Our Schools[edit]

Fernandez has worked with Save Our Schools Arizona, a grassroots organization collecting signatures to refer SB1431, the ESA voucher expansion bill, to 2018 Arizona Ballot, encouraging a No vote. Proponents believe that SB1431 takes money away from public schools and gives it to private schools with little to no accountability and our seeking it's repeal.

Proposition 206 Arizona Minimum Wage[edit]

Fernandez was an ardent supporter of the successful Proposition 206 which raised Arizona's minimum wage.[8]

2016 Presidential Endorsement[edit]

Fernandez was one of the earliest to endorse Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for President, and was elected as a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

2016 Election Lawsuit[edit]

Fernandez filed a declaration in support of a Plaintiffs' Motion for a preliminary injunction against the impact of HB 2023. The law which criminalizes the activities of citizens seeking to assist those in returning early ballots who otherwise may not is still being litigated in the courts. Fernandez wrote, "The collection and personal delivery of early ballots is particularly crucial among my constituency. In areas like mine that are very rural, many voters lack home mail delivery and can have trouble receiving and mailing their early ballots.” At least one county election official, Helen Purcell, a Republican from mega populated Maricopa County, chose to not enforce the law saying, "We are not the police."

Arizona House of Representatives[edit]

Arizona House Leadership[edit]

Fernandez was elected Democratic Whip on November 10, 2016.

Appropriations Committee[edit]

In 2014, Fernandez was appointed to the coveted Committee on Appropriations, she also serves on the newly created Subcommittee on Public Safety, Infrastructure, and Resources.

  • Committee on Appropriations
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety, Infrastructure, and Resources

Tenure[edit]

Fernandez is known as a leader on education policy within the state, the Arizona Republic published a guest editorial by her in September 2015 entitled, "How I'd reform private school tax credits." In it Fernandez details the problems with Arizona education funding in general and private school tuition tax credits in particular.

In 2016 Fernandez was name Legislator of Year by the Arizona Parent Teacher Association.

Fernandez has also been an ardent foe to the private prison system in the state supported by Governor Doug Ducey. She has challenged the governor's staff from her seat on the Appropriations Committee to justify the need to provide more prison beds. Arizona Public Media

Endorsements[edit]

Arizona Nurse's Association
Arizona Parent Teacher Association
Arizona Auto Dealers Association
Arizona Education Association
Arizona's List
Emily's List
Arizona State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police
Planned Parenthood of Arizona
Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Political Action for Candidate Election
Progressive Majority Fund
Stonewall Democrats of Arizona
Professional Firefighters of Arizona
United Food Commercial Workers
Arizona Pipe Traders 469
Arizona Women's Caucus
AFLCIO
Humane Voters of Arizona
Home Builders Association of Central Arizona
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Arizona National Organization for Women
Arizona Academy of Family Physicians
Arizona Technology Council

Personal life[edit]

Fernandez is a highly active member of her community. She serves or has served on the Yuma Community Foundation, Board of the United Way of Yuma County, and Yuma Leadership.

Fernandez and her husband Sergio have three adult children, Brian, Carlye, and Lisa.

Electoral history[edit]

Arizona House of Representatives District 4, General 2016 (2 Seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Charlene Fernandez (inc.) 29,755 51.70 +19.16
Democratic Jesus Rubalcava 27,794 48.30
Arizona House of Representatives District 4, Primary 2016 (2 Seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Charlene Fernandez (inc.) 6,623 53.86 +16.12
Democratic Jesus Rubalcava 5,673 46.14
Arizona House of Representatives District 4, General 2014 (2 Seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Charlene Fernandez 12,251 32.54
Democratic Lisa Otondo (inc.) 13,324 35.40
Republican Richard Hopkins 12,063 32.05
Arizona House of Representatives District 4, Primary 2014 (2 Seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Charlene Fernandez 4,497 37.74 + 5.91
Democratic Lisa Otondo (inc.) 4,556 38.24 + 3.34
Democratic Jose Suarez 2,861 24.01
Arizona House of Representatives District 4, Primary 2012 (2 Seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Charlene Fernandez 3,865 31.83
Democratic Lisa Otondo 4,238 34.90
Democratic Juan Carlos "J.C." Escamilla 4,038 33.25

Non Partisan Elections[edit]

Yuma Union High School District #70 General Election, 2008 Non-Partisan (3 Seats)
Candidate Votes %
Charlene Fernandez (inc.) 13,893 18.65
Bruce Gwynn (inc.) 16,123 21.65
Dan Farar 13,559 18.20
Yuma Union High School District #70 General Election, 2004 Non-Partisan (3 Seats)
Candidate Votes %
Charlene Fernandez 13,646 20.53
Robert Brown 14,602 21.96
Sally Doyle (inc.) 17,322 26.06
George Munoz 12,842 19.32
Bernadette Presloid 7,851 11.81

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.azleg.gov/MembersPage.asp?Member_ID=34&Legislature=52&Session_ID=115
  2. ^ Fernandez, Charlene. "State Representative". Arizona State House Member Page. Arizona State House of Representatives. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  3. ^ Shultz, T.M. "Yuma Daily Sun". Yuma Daily Sun. Freedom News. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Stallworth, Robyn. "Yuma County Recorder". Yuma County Recorder Election Results. Yuma County Recorder. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  5. ^ Reagan, Michelle. "Arizona Secretary of State" (PDF). Arizona Secretary of State. Arizona Secretary of State. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  6. ^ Reagan, Michelle. "Arizona Secretary of State" (PDF). Arizona Secretary of State Election Results. Arizona Secretary of State. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Reagan, Michelle. "Arizona Secretary of State" (PDF). Arizona Secretary of State Election Results. Arizona Secretary of State. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  8. ^ https://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_Minimum_Wage_and_Paid_Time_Off,_Proposition_206_(2016).  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)