News | 2020

December 29, 2020

Hope Happens Here: Jennifer Longdon

Staff, Christopher Reeve Foundation

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When Jennifer Longdon was told it wasn’t possible to have curb cuts installed near her Phoenix home, she got angry.

Just two years earlier, Longdon had sustained a spinal cord injury in a random drive-by shooting outside her favorite taco shop. An ordinary decision to eat dinner out intersected with an unthinkable act of violence. Five bullets were fired into the car; one struck her spine, paralyzing her from the chest down. In an instant, her life changed forever.

Longdon lost part of both lungs and spent months in the hospital, rescued in her darkest moments by the fierce love she felt for her 12-year-old son. She fought through a grueling rehabilitation, regained her strength and began to build a new life, determined that it would not be a lesser one.

The lack of curb cuts was just one of the many barriers she wasn’t willing to accept.


She called her local councilmember. Longdon’s block soon received a curb cut that not only allowed her to move easily through the neighborhood but also benefited elderly neighbors, young parents pushing strollers and kids riding bikes. Even better, her efforts had a wider impact: the city would now be required to install mid-block curb cuts if requested by homeowners.

“I created a new city policy, and it was important,” she says. “I got something done. I worked within the system and that felt really good.”

It was a pivotal moment, launching Longdon on a path of passionate advocacy that eventually led to the Arizona House of Representatives where she was recently re-elected to a second term.


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,

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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.
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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.

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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,

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

Jen Longdon speaks to 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,

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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