Q&A with House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez

House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez will guide Democrats through a historic time in the state House of Representatives.

The Democrats will have greater leverage during the 2019 legislative session with the partisan split closer than it has been in years – 31-29 just barely in Republicans’ favor.

In a pre-session interview with the Arizona Capitol Times, Fernandez credited her predecessor, now Sen. Rebecca Rios, with getting their party to this point. But it’s Fernandez who now has to take advantage of the odds.

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Fernandez Holds the Line on Background Checks

House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma, said she doesn’t think she or other House Democrats can support Ducey’s plan unless it includes universal background checks for all firearms purchases, including by private vendors at gun shows.

“That is non-negotiable,” Fernandez said.

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Democrats see opportunities for their agenda

Fernandez argued there will be sufficient members of the majority party who will side with at least some items on the Democrat agenda, ranging from health-care funding to school issues like increasing state aid to better oversight of for-profit charter schools. And some issues, Fernandez said, are bipartisan, including ratifying a “drought-contingency plan” to decide who will and will not get water from Lake Mead, the source of water for Tucson via the Central Arizona Project.

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Leader Fernandez: Democrats Ready To Play More Prominent Role At Capitol

Yuma Rep. Charlene Fernandez to lead Democrats in Arizona House

Rep. Fernandez visits San Luis High School

Yuma Sun · 30 Sep 2018 · FROM STAFF REPORTS

Students at San Luis High School (SLHS) got a chance to speak with state Rep. Charlene Fernandez (D-Yuma) this month as part of the Take Your Legislator to School Program.

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State Representative Fernandez: Family Separations at Border 'A Horrible Situation'

Fernandez said she and other lawmakers, including U.S. Congressman Raúl Grijalva, were sent to a facility run by Southwest Key in Tucson. She said it was the site of a former hotel and that the children received meals and health screenings. They appeared to be clean and well behaved but were also unusually quiet.

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Fernandez Stands Up for Children at Southwest Key Facility

"Make no mistake about it, this is on Gov. Ducey," said Fernandez. "It's clean, they're being fed, my colleague is right, but it's the emotional damage that we are doing to these kids, and there's no protocol for reunification." She said that Arizona's Gov. Doug Ducey needs to "step in and do something about this." 

"He needs to talk to his buddy Donald Trump, and maybe we start can work something out, and get a protocol to reunify these kids," said Fernandez.

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