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.
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.”
Thursday’s votes occurred with family members of those killed by texting motorists watching in the gallery. House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma, specifically addressed the survivors of Clayton Townsend, an officer with the Salt River Police Department who was killed in January when he was struck by a texting motorist while conducting a traffic stop.
“We’re going to get it done today,” she told them.
House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez said, “Our responsibility as legislators is to fully fund public education, and when we do that, we support public school students and with that we support public school teachers.”
“I think what we’ve lost in this message is that our schools are still falling apart, they need more money. Our teachers need resources to make sure that our kids are successful,” Rep. Fernandez said.
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