State Representative Charlene Fernandez is the Democratic Minority Leader in the Arizona House of Representatives from the 4th Legislative District. She was first elected to the state House in 2014.
Charlene has been making her mark on Arizona politics for more than 25 years. She worked for Congressman Ed Pastor for twelve years, coordinating constituent services for the western portion of then Congressional District 2. While working for Congressman Pastor, she spearheaded an effort that culminated in bringing a Veteran’s Administration clinic to Yuma County for the first time in history.
Charlene later served Governor Janet Napolitano as a liaison for the Arizona Department of Environment Quality in Yuma County. In this capacity she worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as its counterpart in the Republic of Mexico, to ensure that the air and water in Southwestern Arizona remained safe while ensuring that businesses faced minimal impact.
For more than twelve years Charlene sat on the Yuma Union High School District Governing Board; during her tenure she served as both President and Vice President. In 2008, Fernandez was elected by the Arizona Democratic State Committee to be First Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, she served in this capacity until 2009.
Charlene is known as a leader on education policy, and in 2016 was named Legislator of Year by the Arizona Parent Teacher Association. She has also been an ardent foe to the private prison system in the state supported by Governor Doug Ducey. She has challenged the governor’s staff from her seat on the Appropriations Committee to justify the need to provide more prison beds.
Fernandez was born in Yuma, Arizona to the late Antonia “Tony” Ramos and Carmen Ramos. She attended Yuma High School and went on to attend Arizona Western College, later transferring to Northern Arizona University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Charlene is a highly active member of her community. She serves or has served on the Yuma Community Foundation, Board of the United Way of Yuma County, and Yuma Leadership.
Charlene and her husband Sergio have three adult children, Brian, Carlye, and Lisa.