News & Media

July 6, 2021

Editors’ Picks for 2021 Best of the Valley People & Media: Best Local Rep - Jennifer Longdon

Editorial Staff, Phoenix Magazine

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Best Local Rep: Jennifer Longdon

First elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2018, Longdon – who was paralyzed in 2004 in a random drive-by shooting – is not just a win for diversity. Representing Central Phoenix, she’s also a steadfast, articulate defender of education, equality and health care. jenforaz.com

June 25, 2021

Gov. Ducey signs bill banning abortion for genetic issues

Davide Baker, The Associated Press | AZFamily.com

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill on Tuesday that bans abortions based on if the child has a survivable genetic issue such as Down syndrome. “…

The proposal faced an up and down battle through the state Legislature. The measure failed in the Senate earlier this month but then the Republican-controlled House and Senate agreed to amend the bill to satisfy concerns of a lone GOP senator who apposed it. Democrats said the bill was part of a larger campaign to stigmatize abortion, while Republicans said it was about the right to life.

“This is truly a sad day in Arizona,” state Rep. Jennifer Longdon, a Democrat representing District 24, said in a tweet. “Gov. Ducey’s decision to sign SB1457 is not pro-life. It is anti-families, anti-woman, and anti-doctor,” Democratic state Rep. Diego Espinoza of Tolleson tweeted. “I’m disappointed to see Arizona moving in this direction, ignoring the needs and desires of doctors, women, and families for an extreme political agenda.”

* * *

The sweeping anti-abortion bill has other provisions, including one that confers all civil rights to unborn children. Democrats call that “personhood” provision a backdoor way to allow criminal charges against a woman who has an abortion. 

In addition to the ban on abortions for genetic abnormalities and the “personhood” provision, the bill bans mail delivery of abortion-inducing medication, allows the father or maternal grandparents of a fetus aborted due to a genetic issue to sue, and bans the spending of any state money toward organizations that provide abortion care.

The measure also requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated, and it forbids state universities from providing abortion care.

. . . 

June 25, 2021

Az GOP lawmakers pass sweeping tax cuts after limiting debate

Laura Gómez & Jeremy Duda, Arizona Mirror

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* * * During Thursday’s budget talks in the House, members of the minority party not only criticized some of the appropriations and policy pieces passed by Republicans, but they also highlighted what isn’t in the budget. Democrats, through amendments that consistently failed on party lines, tried to add funding for full day kindergarten, for roads on tribal lands and to expand eligibility to children health insurance programs.

* * *

Republicans limit debate in retaliation

Before it took up the budget bills, the House started its day with a rule change to limit debate, which House Speaker Rusty Bowers said was a response to Democratic lawmakers leaving the Capitol on Tuesday to delay passage of the budget by denying a quorum.

* * *

The biggest change limited discussion of bills in what’s known as Committee of the Whole, where lawmakers debate and amend legislation before it goes up for a final vote. Normally, that process has no time limit, and sometimes individual bills are debated for hours as amendments are considered. Democrats often introduce amendments and debate them at length to draw attention to issues, knowing that the amendments lack the Republican support they’d need to pass. But House Republicans on Thursday limited consideration of each bill to just 30 minutes.

Democrats were livid.

“This is what I want you to know, Arizona. They’re not silencing my voice. … They’re silencing your voice, Arizona. Each one of us represents a quarter million of you. And we’re going to stay here and fight with everything we have, even if autocratic decisions try to shut us down,” said Rep. Jennifer Longdon, D-Phoenix.

May 21, 2021

New law will ban parking that even partially blocks sidewalk

AP - AZ Central

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation that makes it a crime to park a vehicle so that enough of a sidewalk is blocked to prevent someone using a wheelchair from passing. 

It was already illegal to park on a sidewalk, but the bill signed by the Republican governor on Wednesday clarifies that even partially blocking a walkway is against the law.

House Bill 2395 was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Jennifer Longdon of Phoenix.

. . .

March 26, 2021

Fate of sweeping anti-abortion measure is now in the hands of Gov. Doug Ducey

Maria Polletta, Arizona Republic

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A sweeping anti-abortion bill that one OB-GYN called “unconstitutional, medically unsound and dangerous” is now in the hands of Gov. Doug Ducey, a “proudly pro-life” Republican who has never vetoed an abortion measure.

After months of debate and a series of last-ditch procedural maneuvers, the contentious Senate Bill 1457 passed out of the House and Senate on party-line votes Thursday and awaits action from Ducey.
* * *
Democrats called the legislation extreme and unconstitutional, saying it would threaten the doctor-patient relationship, in turn jeopardizing women’s health. They pointed to a host of medical associations that opposed the measure and slammed Republicans for failing to provide for children with genetic abnormalities after they are born.

“Look at how we pay and train caregivers, how we treat people in long term care facilities and how we’ve been willing to put people with disabilities at the back of the line as we deal with COVID austerity,” said Rep. Jennifer Longdon, D-Phoenix, arguing that, “as a society, we do not value disabled lives.”

“The spina bifida bill I introduced this year went nowhere because of the price tag,” she said. “This is what a pregnant person sees as they face this decision, as they weigh the impact of this diagnosis, as they wonder: Who will protect this child after I am gone? This bill does nothing to ensure the health and well-being of children born with disabilities.”

March 26, 2021

New training will help officers work better with Arizona's 1.1 million with hearing loss

BrieAnna J. Frank, Arizona Republic

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A new training program is working to bridge the divide between Arizona’s law enforcement and its more than 1.1 million people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The training is the product of a partnership between the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, often referred to as AZPOST. Together, the agencies created an eight-part training module that will highlight best practices for serving the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind community members.

* * * 

Matt Giordano, AZPOST’s executive director, said he is “always looking for new, innovative ways” to foster conversation and improve relationships between law enforcement and the public, and that this partnership would do just that.

“This is one that I’m very proud of,” he said.

. . . Giordano discussed how the partnership began in state Rep. Jennifer Longdon’s office several years ago.

Prior to working at AZPOST, Giordano served as a police commander and said that’s when he met Longdon. After he started at AZPOST in 2018, he said Longdon called him and asked for a meeting.

When he walked into her office, Green was also there. The partnership was born in 2018.

“Everything came together beautifully,” Green said.

. . . 

 

March 13, 2021

A closely divided Legislature yields an unusual result at the Capitol: Bipartisan agreement

Andrew Oxford, Arizona Republic

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* * *

While it often sounds at the Legislature like the 2020 election never really ended, some contentious proposals that were bogged down for years are breaking through.

And Democrats have seen more of their bills advance than usual in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The year has brought new leadership on both sides of the aisle in the House. This is Rep. Ben Toma’s first year as majority leader and Democrats chose Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen, as minority leader and Rep. Jennifer Longdon, D-Phoenix, as assistant leader.

“Reps. Longdon and Bolding have been a lot more interested in getting something for their caucus and for their members done than they are in making some political point,” said Toma, R-Peoria.

“Because of that, we could have reasonable conversations, and you’ve seen a lot more Democrat bills make it through the chamber than ever have before.”

. . . 

March 11, 2021

Expanding KidsCare is an investment that will pay off

Rep. Jennifer Longdon, D-Phoenix, Arizona Mirror

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COVID has brought great uncertainty into our lives in this past year. 

We worry about how it will affect our own health, our families and friends; how it will impact our jobs and our ability to care for those we love. One thing we should not worry about is being able to afford appropriate medical attention for our children. Whether it’s an earache, a bump or sprain, or fear of COVID, no family should have to choose between a child’s health and a family’s survival.

Yet 30,000 of Arizona’s children are not covered by a health care plan. In those families, there are surely moments of uncertainty: do we go to the doctor or do we pay the rent or buy groceries? Will my child recover if we just “tough it out?” 

This dilemma is exactly why Arizona’s Kids Care program exists. For every dollar Arizona invests, we get five more to cover these kids. With an additional $12 million in this year’s state budget (and $47 million in federal matching funds), we could insure those 30,000 kids. This is a worthy investment in common compassion and in our next generation.

These wrenching decisions to forego treatment can have lifelong consequences that impact the individual as well as our bottom line. I live with the real effects of such a decision. As a child, I had a strep throat that my parents could not afford to have treated. Without a doctor’s care that strep throat turned into scarlet fever. That, in turn, became rheumatic fever. A common and treatable childhood illness became a chronic condition that ultimately did permanent damage to my heart.

I sometimes fainted with exertion during childhood games of kickball. I somehow outgrew that and became very athletic as a teen. Then, in my 30s following the birth of my child, I developed an irregular heartbeat that required surgical intervention. Once again, I healed and engaged in performance athletics. However, just recently, that word “chronic” reared its ugly head once more and I developed a new irregular heartbeat that required non-surgical invention. I am again on the mend and expect a robust recovery.

Each of these cardiac events is directly attributable to that untreated strep throat in my childhood. Tens of thousands of dollars in medical treatments and lost productivity could have been prevented with a few dollars in antibiotics – had my parents been able to afford them.

I am not alone. Dentists commonly treat patients like me with advance antibiotics even before a teeth cleaning. How many of these 30,000 children who are currently uninsured will end up with lifelong consequences of childhood disease – from ear infections to strep throat to potentially COVID? 

“Pennywise and pound foolish” is a common cliché. Yet this thinking has prevented KidsCare expansion. We’re told “Arizona can’t afford it.” I believe I am case-in-point on why Arizona absolutely must invest in our children’s health.

My colleagues in the House Democratic Caucus and I are pushing hard to include KidsCare expansion in the state budget, but we need your voices behind us. These children should be covered simply because it’s right. No one should suffer needlessly when a few dollars in treatment could ease their illness. We should also do this because it’s prudent. Treatment now can save tens of thousands of future treatments. We have an opportunity to expand KidsCare now. We should take it.

February 10, 2021

Debate over listing spina bifida as a developmental disability transpires in Arizona’s House HHS Committee

Eli Kirshbaum, StateOfReform.com

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At Monday’s meeting of the Arizona House Health and Human Services Committee, members heard testimony in favor of a bill that would add spina bifida to the list of developmental disabilities. . . . 

House Bill 2540’s sponsor, Rep. Jennifer Longdon, says spina bifida leads to harmful developmental delays. Including spina bifida on the list of developmental disabilities would make individuals with spina bifida eligible for crucial medical support, she said. Currently, children with spina bifida stop receiving support from the Department of Developmental Disabilities after age six.

. . . 

Longdon spoke in support of the bill to the committee:

“The issue is making sure that we give folks the support they need to deal with the developmental delays that have come from this disability acquired at birth so that they can live [their] lives to the fullest.”

The cost of the bill is estimated to be between $2.5 million and $42 million in general fund money, with the ultimate cost depending on various details associated with the adoption of the new definition, such as hiring new staff.

. . . 

January 6, 2021

Arizona legislators condemn violence

Daily News Staff, Mohave Valley Daily News

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“Arizona Legislators from both parties condemned the actions of protestors at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

***

“Today we witnessed a violent, unlawful, seditious and un-American coup attempt in our nation’s Capital,” said the statement, attributed to Minority Leader Reginald Bolding, Assistant Leader Jennifer Longdon and Whip Domingo DeGrazia. “It’s important to restate that there has been no credible evidence of election fraud brought forward in nearly 100 separate lawsuits throughout our country, and absolutely no justifications for armed extremists to break into the Capitol and try to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power that has defined our nation from its beginning.

“This is an insurrection based on lies. More importantly, their disgraceful efforts will not work. Our democracy will prevail, and Joe Biden will be sworn in as our next president, and our nation will be better for it. The Republican elected officials and party leaders, including members of our own Arizona State Legislature and Congressional delegations, who participated, planned and incited this behavior should bow their heads in shame and must be held accountable.””

 

2020

December 28, 2020

AZ Rep. Jennifer Longdon Shifts Priorities In Face Of Pandemic

Lauren Gilger, KJZZ

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As the pandemic has deepened many challenges everyday Arizonans already faced, legislative priorities have no doubt shifted for some.

It has certainly changed the outlook on the 2021 session for newly-elected Democratic Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Jennifer Longdon. 

The Show spoke with her more about what she wants to see done in the new year at the state level, and if her party is ready for the challenge.

December 8, 2020

Some Arizona lawmakers concerned over AZGOP Twitter posts appearing to incite violence

Carissa Planalp, AZ Family

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Jennifer Longdon joined other local leaders in denouncing the Arizona GOP for making statements that incite violence.

“This has been more than a dog whistle; this has been a bullhorn calling for violence, calling for martyrs to a cause,” said State Rep. Jennifer Longdon. “It’s absolutely ridiculous, and it needs to stop.”

December 18, 2020

National Security Experts Warn Trump “Is Promoting Terrorism”

Mark Fullman, Mother Jones

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Mother Jones National Affairs Editor Mark Follman reports on how tPresident Donald Trump and others, including Arizona GOP leaders, are engaged in stochastic terrorism, by incite their followers to commit violence.

Longdon, a gun violence survivor, knows well the danger of fringe actors who go on the attack over a political cause, including those who threatened, stalked, and assaulted her over her work on gun safety. Trump’s allies, she says, “have ramped this up to a level that’s beyond irresponsible.” If violence follows, Rogers and others “will just shrug their shoulders and walk away from it. But someone is hearing that call, and that call is coming from someone they consider to be a responsible voice of leadership.” Longdon added that the targeting of conservative Republican state officeholders who deemed Arizona’s election results fair and credible was telling. “This is a really dangerous and cynical attempt to whip up a base for what comes next,” she says. “At what point does this become sedition?”

December 8, 2020

Some Arizona lawmakers concerned over AZGOP Twitter posts appearing to incite violence

Carissa Planalp, AZ Family

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Jennifer Longdon joined other local leaders in denouncing the Arizona GOP for making statements that incite violence.

“This has been more than a dog whistle; this has been a bullhorn calling for violence, calling for martyrs to a cause,” said State Rep. Jennifer Longdon. “It’s absolutely ridiculous, and it needs to stop.”

December 8 2020

'Die for something': Arizona Republican Party deletes martyr tweet about election

Joe Dana, NBC 12

Jennifer Londgon condemns AZ GOP leadership’s public statements inciting violence.

December 9, 2020

Phone number of Arizona Speaker of the House posted to Twitter by Phoenix City Council candidate

Matt Galka, Fox 10

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Jennifer Londgon condemns doxxing of Arizona House Speaker after  Trump supporter posts personal phone number, as threats against those not supporting Trump increase.

“Being vocal in terms of our Speaker of the House, it’s important not just as a Democrat, but as a human being and an Arizonan,” said Democratic Arizona Rep. Jennifer Longdon.

November 25, 2020

The Election of A War Veteran in Colorado Puts Wheelchair Access Front And Center At The Capitol

By Bente Birkeland, Colorado Public Radio, CPR.org

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Soon Colorado will get its first state lawmaker known to use a wheelchair. Democrat David Ortiz was elected by voters in south Metro Denver and will be sworn into office in January. But the Capitol building, where he’ll work and where he’s supposed to interact with his colleagues and the people he serves, is not fully accessible to him.
* * *
Colorado’s not the only state where it took electing someone in a wheelchair to galvanize efforts to improve access for others. Arizona said it has completed extensive renovations after Democratic Rep. Jennifer Longdon won office two years ago. The state relocated desks, added electronic doors, remodeled bathrooms and added a cable sound system that cuts out background noise to help people who use hearing aids.

Longdon said the renovations are a vast improvement and remembers when Arizona’s Capitol had only one wheelchair accessible bathroom.

“There was another one that was supposed to be accessible and I was visiting and tried to use it and ended up breaking my hand because it was just too narrow. How often do you expect to, you know, break a body part, trying to get into a restroom?”

Longdon said she was keeping track of Ortiz’s election victory in Colorado. She describes state lawmakers with physical disabilities as kind of like unicorns because they’re so rare; she said there are only a handful out of more than 7,000 state lawmakers across the country.

“Because of that, I think that this community, the disability community, which is the largest minority population in our nation, really gets woefully underrepresented.”

November 11, 2020

Arizona House, Senate Democrats select new leadership

Kevin Stone, KTAR

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Democrats elect Reginold Bolding as House Minority Leader, Jennifer Longdon named Assistant Minority Leader, and Domingo DeGrazia  named Minority Whip.

August 12, 2020

COVID-19 presents vast challenges, opportunities
OPINION: State Rep. calls for new approach to school learning

By Jennifer Longdon Special to the Arizona Daily Star

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* * * 

We need to change the existing perception of “achievement” and take a more holistic view of the student involved in learning, focusing on the development of social, emotional, creative, cognitive and physical skills — commonly referred to as the “whole learner approach” to education.

* * * 

The whole learner philosophy is predicated on research that found the interconnection between positive learning outcomes and systems that support a range of skills that all students need to thrive. By embracing this holistic approach to learning and development, we can create educational experiences that harness the diverse, dynamic ways in which students learn.

There are a lot of unknowns right now as the state of our country changes on a daily basis, but that unknown presents an opportunity.

We need to take advantage of policy momentum right now in Congress and Phoenix, where elected officials are working toward transformative paths and mechanisms to embrace new modes of learning as a result of the pandemic. We might not ever get another chance like this to significantly affect our education system.

August 8, 2020

30 years after ADA’s signing, disabled still face challenges

Lisa Diethelm, Cronkite News

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Jennifer Longdon discusses obstacles faced three decades after ADA passage:

“I still encounter barriers on a daily basis – barriers that you would think, 30 years post-ADA, wouldn’t exist,” Longdon said. “It’s going to be a continued fight to bring awareness and visibility of this particular community to the typically abled community.”

Longdon, who was paralyzed in a random drive-by shooting in 2004, has been working on bills focusing on people with disabilities since she was elected to the House in 2018. She sees it as part of the larger struggle for civil rights.

“Civil rights have always been taken – by women, by African Americans, by Native Americans, by people with disabilities, by the LGBTQ community,” Longdon said. “None of these communities have just been given rights. They had to speak up, and demand them and take them.”

May 6, 2020​

I-TEAM: More families come forward raising concerns over group homes for people with autism

by Katie Wilcox, Bianca Buono, 12News.com

Jennifer Longdon explains bill she sponsored that would require annual inspections of group homes for developmentally disabled people.

Jen Longdon speaks to News12.com May 6 2020
Click on image above to watch video.

March 4, 2020​

Action plan created to streamline investigations at adult protective services

By Jamie Warren, ABC15.com

Jennifer Longdon applauds steps taken by Arizona Department of Health Services’ action plan to improve care of vulnerable of vulnerable adults and investigate abuse allegations.

February 10, 2020​

Disability-Related Bills Stemming From Phoenix Hacienda HealthCare Case To Get Hearings

Kathy Ritchie, KJZZ

Kathie Ritchie reports on the progress of bill sponsored by Jennifer Longdon, arising out of her work as chair of the Arizona House’s Ad Hoc Committee on Abuse and Neglect of Vulnerable Adults

January 22, 2020​

Audit needed of Arizona's Adult Protective Services, expert panel says"

Stephanie Innes, Arizona Republic

"A legislative task force headed by state Rep. Jennifer Longdon, a Phoenix Democrat, recently gave a list of 11 recommendations for improving the system of protecting vulnerable adults to the Arizona Legislature. One of the recommendations was for the Legislature to fund an independent audit of Adult Protective Services. Another was for legislation to create or identify and fund an agency to oversee vulnerable adults in Arizona."

January 21, 2020

How Arizona's system to protect vulnerable adults can fail them

Stephanie Innes, Arizona Republic

""I believe that the system is created by well-meaning, well-intentioned people who want this to work. We need to look at it in its totality to figure out where along this arc we are failing Arizonans," said state Rep. Jennifer Longdon, D-Phoenix, who is chair of a bipartisan House task force on vulnerable adults that formed after the Hacienda case.

There needs to be a better way for the public to access what has become a complex system — a "no wrong door" way for the public to get the help they need, she said."

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