LD6 Arizona House of Representatives Q&A: Felicia French
Years in Arizona: 56 (I maintained my Arizona residency and paid AZ States taxes throughout my relocations with the US Army)
Professional (and military) history: U.S. Army, Army Reserves and Arizona Army National Guard 1997-2010 (Private to Colonel), Registered Nurse, Medical Evacuation Helicopter Pilot, Senior Medical Advisor for U.S. Army National Guard, Adjunct Faculty at Mesa Community College, Hospice Nurse
B.S. in Nursing, M.S. in Systems Management and M.S. in Sustainable Solutions
Civic Affiliations: Civil Air Patrol, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Community Emergency Response Team, Take Pride Pine Project and the Sierra Club
Where in Legislative District 6 do you live? Was there a community issue that caused you to seek this office? Explain. If not, what has prompted you to seek office in Legislative District 6?
I live in Pine, about 15 minutes north of Payson.
I was driven to run for office after seeing and experiencing the profound divisiveness leading up to and after the 2016 election.
I knew that I did not spend 32 years away from my loved ones serving my country so that it could be denigrated by incompetent, unqualified and uncaring politicians who seek power for all the wrong reasons.
What do view as the most important issues facing the Verde Valley and what legislative remedies would you sponsor to deal with those concerns?
Education is an issue everywhere I go and it continues to be a primary concern for me.
As someone who has taught at a community college, I understand the absolute value of providing a varied, affordable and quality education for all of our students – no student and no community should be left wanting when it comes to education.
We need to make sure institutions of higher learning, such as the Verde Valley campus of Yavapai College, receive proper funding so they can offer the courses that benefit those students in the community.
Whether those courses are teaching practical trades like welding or offering degrees in liberal arts that are essential to expanding our understanding of each other, we need to make sure these courses are available to everyone in the Verde Valley for an affordable price because a quality education makes a stronger, happier and more affluent community possible.
What is your position on immigration reform and what is the state’s role in concert with the federal government in achieving fair, reasonable immigration policy in Arizona and the other border states?
I believe we have to continue to maintain our national security at the borders, but I do not believe that building a wall or separating children from their parents is the way to do that. It does not make sense to punish those who were brought here not on their own volition as children.
Foremost, we must welcome those who come here as refugees, who flee their lands to escape violence and persecution. How can we look upon ourselves as the land of the free if we do not extend a hand to those whose only choice is to suffer or escape?
We want to live in a place where we can sleep at night and not have to worry about the lives of our families and children being cut short, and I challenge those who say differently to extend that empathy and understanding to these refugees.
When I was serving in the U.S. Army, I had the great honor to serve alongside soldiers who were immigrants, and I can tell you they were among the most honorable and patriotic people I knew.
I had the chance to attend two of my soldiers’ naturalization ceremonies, and it was these experiences that taught me that in the end, we are all fighting for a place we can call home.
I am beyond grateful that I was born in the United States of America and it is my home.