In celebration of Arizona Trailblazers
Amanda Aguirre has dedicated most of her professional life to improving the health and welfare of people in the Yuma border region and beyond. As president and chief executive officer of the San Luis Walk-In Clinic and president/CEO of the Regional Center for Border Health, she has created a network of services for people who might otherwise have gone without health care. Her career is a labor of love, and Aguirre is still putting her considerable expertise and time into creating resources to address border and public health issues.
Most recently, she co-founded the Nuestros Niños Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and families living along the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition, she is promoting a project to build a $10 million medical complex that would house a primary health care center, an ambulatory center with 15 to 20 beds, a vocational training program and other health education programs.
Aguirre believes that people are entitled to quality health care and education. She credits her upbringing with instilling in her the ideal of equality. “It was a very beautiful childhood,” she recalled, “I was blessed with two parents who raised five kids; they made us all feel very special as individuals, and ingrained in us that everybody was equal.”
She entered the political arena in 2003 as a means to move policy forward on the issues she believed were important. In 2004, she became the first Hispanic, and first female, to represent District 24 in the state legislature. District 24 encompasses parts of Yuma and La Paz Counties. Two years later, she would be elected to the Arizona State Senate for District 24, a seat she would hold until November, 2010, when she lost her re-election bid to a Tea Party candidate.
The loss hasn’t dampened her appetite for politics and she’s preparing for future runs, although she has yet to announce for which seat.
Born in Agua Prieta and raised in Nacozari, Sonora, along with four siblings, she credits her parents, who were educators, with instilling a love for learning, a duty to give and a work ethic geared to the fulfillment of whatever dreams you have. She received a chemistry degree from the University of Sonora in Hermosillo, and later a master’s degree in nutrition from California State University in Los Angeles.
Her grown daughter graduated from MIT and her only son is a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Air Force who flies missions in Afghanistan and other hotspots.