Rebecca Rios

Running for Arizona Senate to represent District  27

Arizona primaries take place on August 28, 2018. Unsure how or where to vote in Arizona? Scroll to the bottom of this page for voter information about Rebecca Rios and how to vote in District 27.

Rebecca Rios background

Rebecca Rios is a 4th generation Arizonan who earned both her Undergraduate and Master’s degrees in social work from Arizona State University. She served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001. Afterward, she represented District 23 in the Arizona Senate from 2005 to 2011 as Minority Whip. Moreover, Rios is currently serving District 27 as House Democratic Leader. And it seems politics runs in the family: Rios’ father, Pete Rios, is a former Arizona State Senate President.

Take a look at the bills Rios has sponsored and cosponsored during her tenure in the House or see her voting record.


Rebecca Rios 2018 endorsements (ongoing list)

Arizona Education Association X

Rep Rebecca Rios is endorsed by Arizona List for state SenateArizona REALTORS® X

Arizona List X

2014 endorsements for AZ House

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona X

Former Congressman Ed Pastor X


Stand For Children X

Stonewall Democrats of Arizona X

AZCops X

Professional Firefighters of Arizona X

Equality Arizona X


Rebecca Rios platform on state & local issues in Arizona


Rep. Rebecca Rios cosponsored a formal request with fellow House Democrats to urge the Arizona Corporation Commission to support the We Are Still In Coalition, a is national group whose mission is to “continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.”

In direct response to the Trump administration pulled out of the accord in 2017, the coalition declaration says “In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, counties, tribes, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.”

The House Democrats’ bill included environmental science findings, such as rising national temperatures, excessive heat deaths in Arizona over the last decade and that a majority of Arizonans believe climate change is a serious problem.

In addition, Rios was given an A rating by the Sierra Club for the 2018 legislative season.

Education & #RedforED

Rebecca Rios is a huge proponent of the #RedforED movement, which calls for a range of educational reforms. For instance, their core platform includes raising teacher pay and boosting public school spending across Arizona. As House Minority Leader, she sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey with fellow lawmakers in April 2018 that criticized his lukewarm plan to meet teachers’ demands by 2020. Rios said, “We do not need more sales taxes. Beginning to look at reigning in again some of that $13.5 billion that we forego every year because of special interest that have come to the legislature, and carved out tax exemptions for themselves.”

AZ Parents for Ed recognizes Rebecca Rios for "making decisions on education policies like SB1411"On the floor of the House the same week, Rios spoke directly to #RedforED supporters in the viewing gallery and told them to keep pushing forward. “If it were not for you, I can guarantee you this issue would not be TV, it would not be on the governor’s desk. You would walk away with a 1% raise. Keep up the fight.”

Borne out of frustration from poor school funding and weak support in the Legislature, Arizona teachers took to the streets. Consequently, 100,000 teachers and their supporters participated in an historic six-day walkout that impacted some 850,000 students statewide. Rios released a statement supporting the walkout, saying “The women and men who work so hard to educate our children at our neighborhood public schools have earned a meaningful and sustainable pay increase that’s based on a real revenue source, not smoke and mirrors.”

Public school funding

Later, Rios spoke on the Arizona House floor and said, “We have to put more money into public education. We’ve got to stop draining public education dollars and putting them into private school vouchers. It’s wrong.” In 2018, Rios cosponsored a bill that would have created a 5-year retention pilot program for teachers in an effort to keep experienced educators in Arizona. Nevertheless, the bill failed to become law.

RELATED: Heather Ross running for Congress to represent Arizona District 6 

Economy & jobs

In an interview with Cronkite News in September 2015 Rios spoke about her meeting with President Barack Obama and state lawmakers to talk about struggles facing the middle class.

“It’s about raising the minimum wage, it’s about paid sick leave – minimum 7 days to folks … Basically, initiatives that [Obama has] tried to get through Congress here. Clearly, there’s not the will from the opposition to do a lot of these issues, so the hope is that they can be rolled out in the states.”

Rios co-sponsored a bill in 2017 to amend the Arizona Constitution and repeal right to work in the state. However, the measure ultimately failed to pass.

Immigration & DACA

Arizona House Democrats' tweet showing Rep Rios speaking at the NALEO conference While serving in the House, Rios voted against SB 1070, the bill and eventual law that allowed for a range of anti-immigration policies, including allowing police officers to arrest someone without a warrant if they believe that crime is deportable and made it illegal to not carry papers proving one’s residency. Furthermore, when a bill proposed in May 2016 called for establishing sentencing requirements for undocumented immigrants, Rios also voted nay. Subsequently, the bill failed to secure enough votes in the Arizona House and never made it to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.

In June 2018, a video taken at the Yavapai County Republican Men’s Forum showed state Rep. David Stringer, R-Prescott, saying “there aren’t enough white kids to go around … Immigration today presents an existential threat to the United States.” Of course, House Minority Leader Rebecca Rios responded to the released video, calling his comments a “national embarrassment.”


While a state legislator, Rios voted against SB 1001, which authorized Gov. Doug Ducey to challenge the individual mandate portion of the the Affordable Care Act. Nevertheless, this measure passed and Ducey signed it into law in April 2010.


Reproductive rights

The Patient’s Right to Know Act is sunshine legislation introduced in the Arizona legislature in 2016 that would compel health care providers to inform patients of all medical options, including procedures they don’t provide. In other words, this law would obligate providers with a religious objection to abortion, contraceptives, in-vitro fertilization and more to tell their patients that these medical treatments are legal and available. This rule would apply to all medical facilities, even if they don’t provide any of those services. Finally, Arizona was the first state to introduce The Patient’s Right to Know Act in its legislature. Moreover Rep. Rebecca Rios co-sponsored it. However, the bill died in committee.

Rebecca Rios reblog on Twitter of The Department of Reproductive Control's tweetRebecca Rios co-sponsored a number of bills that support women’s’ reproductive health while serving as House Minority Leader. In 2015, Rios voted against a bill that removes insurance coverage for abortions, except in special cases. In addition, she co-sponsored a bill in 2018 that would have expanded health insurance coverage for more birth control methods, including IUDs and diaphragms.

After being endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona in 2014, Rios voiced her support in allowing women to make their own medical decisions: “The ability for women to make healthcare decisions without government intrusion is a personal freedom that must be protected at all costs.”

Gun control

In March 2017, the Arizona Legislature voted to end the use of background checks when buying a gun virtually anywhere in the state. Here’s the full text from SB 1122 that does away with background checks:


Rios and 22 other lawmakers voted against the bill in the House, but it became law when Gov. Ducey signed it on May 1, 2017. Moreover, Rebecca Rios voted against allowing concealed carry in schools and co-sponsored a bill that would take firearms away from convicted domestic abusers.

Rebecca Rios responds to Gov. Doug Ducey about gun violence in schools.In the days after the Parkland shooting, Rios demanded a special session to discuss what to do about gun violence in Arizona schools. Speaking to 91.5 KJZZ, Rios said, “The reality is that we need to do something. This is not a problem that’s going to self-correct.”

In particular, Rep. Rebecca Rios criticized Gov. Doug Ducey for refusing to take actions on guns in schools. She said “This is clearly an issue the governor already acknowledged this past legislative session. He made comments he was going to get bipartisan school safety legislation passed through this legislature this session. And then he didn’t do it. He allowed it to die, nothing happened, and he never called on us to get this done … We should be doing something and I don’t know what we’re waiting for.”

LGBTQ rights

Rep. Rebecca Rios was the prime sponsor of HB 2462, which would have added discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community with regards to housing and employment in Arizona. The bill would have made firing someone or evicting them based on gender identity or sexual orientation illegal. However, the legislation died in committee.  In addition, Rios co-sponsored a bill that would have allowed Arizona residents to choose their gender on driver’s licenses, including a “non-binary” option. Also, Rios received a 100% rating from Stonewall Democrats of Arizona in 2014.

#MeToo Movement

Editor’s Note: I struggled on where to include information about the accusations leveled against Rios in the House.  Or to even if to include the info at all. Namely because the House investigation cleared her of all allegations. But I think it’s important to know what happened here. In fact, this saga shows just how brutal politics can be, particularly to female lawmakers:

At the end of 2017, Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, told a local television station that she was sexually harassed at the Arizona Capitol for years. Ugenti-Rita named Rep. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, as one of her harassers. In the days that followed, other female staffers came forward and alleged the same behavior from Shooter. For example, one lobbyist shared her experience of unwanted touching in 2013. Another woman, a city employee, said he gave her an uninvited hug and groped her.

A a result, the House assigned an internal investigation into Shooter’s past behavior. Of course, the political turmoil was far from over. Fellow lawmakers then accused both Rios and Ugenti-Rita of having sexual affairs with Capitol staffers. Rep. Ray Martinez, D-Phoenix, levied a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Rios specifically, alleging that she had an inappropriate relationship with a chamber staffer. However, in his official complaint, Martinez “emphasized that he was upset because Rios hasn’t endorsed him for re-election. He has provided no evidence for his accusation that she had a relationship with a staffer.”

Conclusion of Rios investigation

The next month, the House Ethics Committee chairman dismissed Martinez’s complaint against Rios, writing to him directly, “In my opinion, your complaint to the Ethics Committee is about a political dispute.” Rios was cleared and able to retain her position as House Democratic Leader.

Shooter’s investigation, on the other hand, did unearth a skeleton or two when it concluded in early 2018.

The House investigation found that Rep. Don Shooter “engaged in a pattern of unwelcome and hostile conduct toward other members of the legislature and those who have business at the Capitol.” Even though he had some political support, Shooter was expelled from the House in February on a 56-3 vote. In spite of it all, Shooter is running for the Arizona Senate this year.


Rios co-sponsored two medical marijuana bills in 2018 that would have expanded the use of medical cannabis in Arizona. HB 2100 would have extended medical marijuana card expiration dates from 1 year to 5 years. In addition, she co-sponsored a bill that would have allowed opioid abuse to be a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. That being said, neither bill made it to the governor’s desk.

Women’s rights

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has existed in its current form since 1923, but so far only 37 states have ratified it (Illinois became #37 in May 2018). The ERA would guarantee women equal protection of rights under the U.S. Constitution. It has three sections:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

The ERA has been introduced to Congress every year since 1923. Finally, 50 years later, Congress passed the legislation in 1972. Unlike most other amendments, the ERA has an expiration date. Therefore, it is introduced every year – Rep. Rebecca Rios introduced it to the Arizona Legislature in 2016. However, House leaders refuse to have a hearing or even assign the ERA to committee when it comes to a vote.


Arizona voter information

Arizona 2016 election results

In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump won the state of Arizona by 4 points. Hillary Clinton won four counties (Pima, Coconino, Apache and Santa Cruz). In 2012, Mitt Romney carried Arizona by 9 points.

Arizona early voting

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission screenshot for finding polling locationsArizona early voting opens on August 1st and ends on August 24. If you’re unsure which Arizona district you belong to, use this tool to find your voting district based on home address.

Wondering how to register to vote in Arizona? You can update your voter information here. Also, find out if you’re already a registered voter here.

Cómo registrarse para votar o actualice su información electoral actual en español.

Please note that you CANNOT register to vote on Election Day in Arizona.

Where do I vote in Arizona

If it’s Election Day and you don’t know where to vote today use this tool to find your voting district based on home address. If for some reason this tool doesn’t work, find your polling location for the 27th District here.

What do I need to vote?

In order to vote in the Arizona primaries and general election, here’s what you need to bring to prove your citizenship status.

More ways to support Rebecca Rios

Donate directly to Rios’ 2018 campaign

Like her Facebook page @RiosforAZ

Follow her on Twitter @Rios_Rebecca

Email Rebecca Rios at [email protected]

Ballotpedia page

Examples of hashtags to use when talking about Rebecca Rios







Shari Rose is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @blurredbylines or like Blurred Bylines on Facebook. Women Running For Office Project posts endorsements.

Copyright© 2018 Blurred Bylines