State Representative Charlene Fernandez currently serves Legislative District 4 -- which includes parts of Yuma, Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Counties -- in the Arizona legislature, and is the Democratic Caucus Leader of the House of Representatives.
Charlene is one of the legislature's strongest advocates for public education, frequently pushing for more school funding from her position on the appropriations committee.
Prior to being elected to the legislature, Charlene worked in a variety of policy and constituent service roles for Congressman Ed Pastor, Governor Janet Napolitano and Congressman Raúl Grijalva. Charlene also served for more than 12 years on the Yuma Union High School Board.
Charlene was born and raised in Yuma, Arizona. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in elementary education.
Charlene and her husband, Sergio live in Yuma and together raised three children Brian, Carlye, and Lisa.
PHOENIX, Ariz. - The House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez released the following statement regarding President Trump's announcement that he will impose a 5-percent tariff on all goods entering the United States from Mexico.
"The economies of Arizona and Mexico, particularly our border state of Sonora, are completely intertwined. Trade with Mexico supports more than 100,000 jobs here, many of those in Yuma and the communities I serve. If President Trump arbitrarily imposes tariffs on our largest trading partner, Arizonans will the ones to pay the price with higher costs for goods and lost jobs as he torpedoes our economy. And for what? It appears Trump just wants to change the subject from his potential impeachment to a manufactured humanitarian crisis at the border. For Governor Ducey to side with an increasingly reckless president rather than defend the economic interests of his own state and hardworking Arizonans is extremely disappointing."
House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma, said Democrats have repeatedly been told they should embrace the budget plan. While it does include some of Democrats’ priorities, they were never involved in negotiations, she said.
“I wish we had been brought to the table, I wish this was a bipartisan budget, and I vote 'no,'” she said when explaining her final vote on the budget Saturday.
Minority leader Rep. Charlene Fernandez slapped GOP lawmakers, noting that they don’t know how to deal with a $1 billion surplus.
“It’s always been tax cuts and tax credits and sweeping funds to balance the budget,” Fernandez said last week. “And now that they have some revenue they’re not sure how to act. They need to start pulling us in so that we can work together so we can start investing in the things that we need.”
“We want to make sure our schools have the resources they need to make sure that our kids flourish in schools, that our teachers are well-paid,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Charlene Fernandez.
When teachers walked to the Capitol last year, “you weren’t just talking about raises for yourselves, you said you cared about your schools, you cared about support staff, you cared about nurses and cafeteria workers and groundskeepers and speech pathologists and special education teachers,” Fernandez said.
“But most of all, you cared about the kids; that’s because it comes right down to that,” Fernandez continued. “Whenever we do our edits, whenever we think about the budget, we keep your stories in mind.”
Fernandez also took aim at the governor’s results-based funding plan.
“That’s $140 million going to schools that are already doing well. That is not equity, and that is not fairness,” Fernandez said. “We need to make sure that all our kids succeed, that all our schools are well-funded.”
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