Who’s who on next year’s Arizona State Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Six of the eight names that appear on the Arizona State Senate Health and Human Services Committee roster for 2019 aren’t currently on the committee. Here’s who they are, and what we’ve gathered about their experiences and stances related to health care:

  • Heather Carter (R): Senator-Elect Carter is currently serving as Chair of the House Health Committee, and will transition into Vice-Chairmanship on the Senate committee. She’s a clinical associate professor at Arizona State University, where she’s also Assistant Dean of Healthcare and Education Policy in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She’s sponsored a myriad of bills related the health care, a list of which you can find on her legislative website. She lays out her health care-related priorities as Senator on her campaign site:

“As Chairwoman of the House Health Committee, Representative Carter has fought relentlessly for healthcare reforms which provide more patient choice, more transparency and lower costs. Advocating for patients, protecting seniors and spearheading dozens of impactful pieces of legislation that improve patients’ quality of life has earned her recognition from a wide range of healthcare organizations. She is an outspoken leader in the fight against drug abuse and was at the forefront of combatting the opioid epidemic. Representative Carter understands that supporting dynamic innovation and research programs allows Arizona to continue delivering world-class health care.”

  • Tyler Pace (R): Senator-Elect Pace will be new to the legislature next session, representing the 25th Legislative District. He founded Triton Supply, a medical-supply company, and is the CEO of Atlas Medical Group, a mobile medical provider. His campaign website lists health care among his top priorities:

“As the son to a well loved Mesa Physician, and with years of experience in healthcare, including running and owning medical practices, I believe that the rights and power of healthcare choice need to return to the patient. Government continues to convolute the Doctor-Patient relationship. Utilizing competition and patient choice; a free-market focus is the best solution to our healthcare quality and cost crisis.”

  • Sylvia Allen (R): Sen. Allen was elected to the Senate in 2014, and was not on the Health and Human Services last session. Her legislative website lists a few health care-related bills that she’s co-sponsored. She was a prime-prime sponsor on one bill, which revised statutes relating to newborn screening. On her campaign website, the one health care-related stance she features is that she’s “pro family and pro life”:

Families are the bedrock and foundation of a healthy society. At the State Legislature, I fight everyday to protect the family and ensure that government does not get in their way to make the choices that are best for families. I am strong supporter and fighter for the unborn and believe in protecting the sanctity of life.”

  • Rebecca Rios (D): Senator-Elect Rios has been serving in the legislature off-and-on since 1995, most recently in the House, where she’s currently Minority Leader. She also served as Senator before, from 2005 to 2010. Rios doesn’t currently sit on the House Health Committee. Her legislative website lists that she “has 25 years of extensive work in the Behavioral Health and Non-profit fields in Arizona,” and has cosponsored a couple bills related to mental health.

  • Tony Navarrete (D): Like Rios, Senator-Elect Navarrete is coming over to the Senate from the state House, where he’s been serving since 2017. Navarrete currently sits on the House Health committee, and his legislative website shows that he puts a strong emphasis on social justice efforts. He’s co-sponsored bills related the medical marijuana, drug addiction treatment, and a Death with Dignity bill that would’ve made it possible for terminally ill Arizona residents to make a written request for life-ending medication. He offers a specific peek at what he might push for in 2019 on his campaign site:

“Today, Arizona is the only state in the nation that has closed its Children’s Health Insurance Program, known here as KidsCare. I will fight to lift the KidsCare freeze in Arizona and work with you to protect health care coverage for working families in Arizona. We must move forward, not backward.”

  • Victoria Steele (D): Senator-Elect Steele previously served in the house, from 2013 to 2016. According to her campaign website, she has a master’s degree in Counseling/Psychology, and “she created the Native Ways program at The Haven, an award-winning substance use residential treatment program for Indigenous women.” Her website and record of sponsored bills doesn’t give away much about her thoughts on health care; however, Steele is endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the Arizona Medical Association, and the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians.

Returning to the committee are Sen. Kate Brophy McGee (R), who will move from her current post of Vice Chair to become Chair in 2019, and Sen. Rick Gray (R).

Curious about the legislators in the other chamber who will be working on health care bills? We wrote a piece on the new members of the House Health Committee, too.