Joel John, Gerae Peten, and Charlene Fernandez

In state District 4, which includes Buckeye and Goodyear, incumbents Geraldine “Gerae” Peten and Charlene Fernandez were the only two Democrats to file for the two House of Representatives seats.

Joel John was the only Republican to make the Aug. 4 primary ballot for Legislative District 4 House of Representatives.

For the District 4 Senate seat, incumbent Lisa Otondo of Yuma was the lone Democrat to file and Travis Angry of Goodyear the lone Republican to file.

The West Valley View emailed questions to District 4 candidates. 

Here are the answers of those who responded:

 

What neighborhood do you live in and for how long have you lived there?

Joel John

I live in Buckeye and have lived here most of my life.

Gerae Peten

I relocated to Arizona from New Jersey in 1992, first purchasing a home in Peoria. In 2004, I purchased a home in Estrella Mountain Ranch.

Charlene Fernandez

I  live in Yuma, Arizona, and have lived there my entire life. Legislative District 4, which I represent, is one of the largest districts in the state and stretches from southern Yuma County over to Buckeye and Goodyear and east along the Arizona border all the way to Tucson.

 

Why did you choose to live here?

Gerae Peten

I wanted to live somewhere that I could just walk out my front door and go for a hike. … The Estrella Mountains are perfect for this. It was also enticing to have so many amenities for my grandchildren to engage in when they visited.  

Charlene Fernandez

I love representing this diverse district, from the agricultural hub of Yuma to the suburbs of the West Valley. Arizona has so much to offer, and I love traveling the district and meeting everyone from across the West Valley and the state.

Joel John

I grew up here and most of my family lives here, so I love this community.

 

What are the three biggest issues of this local election?

Charlene Fernandez

Arizonans are looking for and need leadership through this difficult period. The state’s response to COVID-19 has been dismal, and voters are going to show their frustration for the lack of planning and putting politics before people that’s left us unprepared and cost us countless lives. The Democratic caucus put forward a comprehensive plan to support families as they struggle financially with the shutdown and economic fallout, provide more access to testing, and keep our hospitals safe and working well.  

A quality education will continue to be front of mind for voters, especially with uncertainty around school start dates and in-classroom teaching. We need to ensure we’re adequately supporting schools and educators across the state so they can provide great education for children.

Growing a strong middle and working class in Arizona is critical. We have enough low-wage jobs and need to do more to bring more high-paying jobs, grow our economy and offer a great financial future for Arizonans.

Joel John

Getting the economy up and running again and supporting small businesses. Education. Figuring out the reasons behind the high cost of health care and addressing those reasons.

Gerae Peten

Education: Develop a high-quality educational system for all students, regardless of where they live.

Justice: Create a justice system that provides equity and fair treatment with legal encounters in housing, employment, domestic issues, and life’s trials and tribulations. 

Prosperity: Create standards of living to achieve and maintain a quality lifestyle.

 

What experience do you have with managing spending?

Gerae Peten

Managed the funding and operations of schools as a principal, construction manager and school superintendent. Sole supporter of my family as a single mother for two sons.

Charlene Fernandez

I’m the ranking member on the House Appropriation Committee and have been on it for several sessions, so I’ve been in the process of making budgets for many years.

Joel John

I currently run a small family agricultural irrigation business that requires me to continually seek new sources of revenue and requires me to manage expenditures, especially during those times when work is slow.

 

What new ideas do you have?

Joel John

It isn’t possible for any one person to know everything, so I will be a representative of the people and solicit their advice and ideas, as well as those of community leaders and small-business owners.

Gerae Peten

Goal to reduce mass incarceration so that Arizona is No. 1 in education—not incarceration. Improve, maintain and protect our environment so that we can all live with clean water, air and soil for the rest of our lives and beyond. This pandemic makes it more imperative for all citizens to have access to affordable health care, affordable housing, living-wage jobs, and safety nets when catastrophes occur. 

Charlene Fernandez

Democrats have put forward several ideas that can help Arizonans, including lowering health care insurance costs by sharing the pool of state employees with smaller insurance pools. We’re advocating for more paid sick and medical leave so hardworking Arizonans don’t need to choose between paying their bills and staying home from work when they or a family member is sick. We’re working to lower drug costs by developing an oversight board to prevent price gouging in this state. Democrats are offering a platform that helps working people and seniors.

 

What is your track record and style of responding to questions from the public?

Charlene Fernandez

Open, transparent and respond quickly.

Gerae Peten

Open communications are always facilitated and encouraged via phone calls, emails, office appointments.

Joel John

I respond to questions from the public by having a conversation so that I can more fully understand people’s concerns.

 

What current elected official do you most admire?

Joel John

Sen. Sine Kerr.

Charlene Fernandez

Mayor Kate Gallego.

Gerae Peten

Maxine Waters - U.S. Representative.

What historic elected official do you most admire?

Gerae Peten

President Barack Obama.

Charlene Fernandez

Congressman Ed Pastor.

Joel John

Ronald Reagan.

 

How do you define integrity?

Joel John

Keeping your word, being honest and open with people, being someone that others can rely on, etc.

Gerae Peten

Being honest, authentic, accountable, empathetic and humane in all endeavors. 

Charlene Fernandez

Being honest, doing the right thing and following through on your word.

 

Why should someone vote for you?

Charlene Fernandez

You should vote for me because I am leading the Democratic caucus and driving our agenda to lower health care costs, lower drug prices, fully fund schools so we can provide a great education, and put Arizonans before special interests.

Gerae Peten

My staunch commitment to improve the quality of life by doing the greatest good for the greatest numbers is never wavering. I also possess the credentials, experience and commitment to achieve the highest goals in education, justice and prosperity for my constituents and their families as their elected Arizona state representative for Legislative District 4.

Joel John

I was raised in this community. I run a small business and want to make doing business easier by eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens on small businesses. I’m also a former music teacher in the Buckeye Elementary School District and care about education.