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Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Tucson, shown in a photo from March, is not seeking a new job, his office said, but a coalition of groups has urged the president to name him secretary of Interior should the job come open.

A coalition of more than 200 environmental and conservation groups urged President Obama to nominate Rep. Raúl Grijalva as the next Interior Secretary. Even though the current secretary hasn’t said he’s leaving. And Grijalva was passed over for the job four years ago. And his office said he’s “not considering a career change.” But the groups said Grijalva “exemplifies the modern and forward-thinking vision” of the department Read more» 6

See the numbers of households and individuals who received benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in October 2012.

Arizona adding 17,000 people to its food stamp roster in October has the state hanging onto near-record-high levels of assistance after 18 months. The increase from September to October brought the number of people receiving food stamps in the state to 1.14 million. Read more»

The map shows the mean percentage of teachers who were absent for more than 10 days in the 2009-2010 school year. The national average is 36 percent.

A recent report says that one in three Arizona teachers was absent for more than 10 days in the 2009-2010 school year, slightly better than the national rate of 36 percent. Vice president of the Arizona Education Association, called the report “interesting” but said he does not believe it represents teachers fairly. Read more»

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz, right, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, proposed new immigration reform legislation that would give illegal immigrants a shot at legal status via a multiyear, three-step visa process.

Sen. Jon Kyl unveiled an immigration reform plan to let young immigrants, brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, earn the right to stay in the U.S., without creating a path to citizenship. Read more»

A national survey in early November showed that 12 percent of people expect to spend more, or much more, on their holiday shopping this year, compared to 8 percent who said the same thing last year.

National retail groups predict holiday consumer spending will increase 3.5 percent to 4 percent this year, with the slowest growth in the West. But Arizona retailers and economists said they are confident that holiday spending in the state will increase by the national average or more. Read more»

Arizona had the second-largest gap between earners in the top 20 percent of incomes and those in the bottom 20 percent, trailing only New Mexico in that regard, the report says.

Arizona had the second-highest income inequality in the nation between 2008 and 2010, trailing only New Mexico for the gap between its richest and poorest residents, a new report says. Read more»

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, said there are few issue more important to relations between the two countries than immigration reform, which he believes could be coming soon.

The Mexican ambassador to the United States said Wednesday that immigration reform is vital for relations between the two countries and that the time for reform is now. Read more» 1

Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group says voters are hungry for the sort of information in the Food Policy Action report, the first of its kind.

Arizona lawmakers fared poorly Wednesday on a new national scorecard that ranked all 535 members of the current Congress for their votes on a range of food and farm issues. Read more»

Arizona college students graduated with some of the smallest levels of student debt in the country last year, according to a national report released Thursday. Read more»

President Barack Obama looks at a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation with a small group of White House visitors in September. The proclamation shows the presidents can use the documents for weighty matters as well as not-so-weighty issues.

Arizona groups welcome President Barack Obama's proclamations officially recognizing them or their causes - even if a dozen or more are recognized at once. Obama is just the latest president who has used the office to issue more and more ceremonial proclamations. Read more»

Click to use an interactive map to see obesity rates projected to 2030 and what the additional health care costs will be for each state.

Healthcare experts see a sharp rise in the number of obese Arizonans in coming years, increasing the likelihood of obesity-related diseases and raising healthcare costs by as much as $13.6 billion in that time. It follows a national trend of growing obesity and associated health costs. Read more»

A recent report predicts that Arizona will see a 5.1 percent increase in state tax collections in fiscal 2013, one of just nine states where revenues are projected to rise more than 5 percent.

A recent report predicts Arizona will see a 5 percent increase in tax revenues in 2013. Local experts foresee an even higher number, but not all are convinced the new revenue will fix the state's recession-impacted budget. Read more» 1

Thousands of people descended on Phoenix to protest Arizona immigration law, May, 2010.

Arizona could gain 83,648 new jobs and an additional $518 million in tax revenues by 2030 if the DREAM Act was enacted, according to a new report by the Center for American Progress and the Partnership for a New American Economy. Read more» 3

Tucson had the sixth highest level of poverty in 2011 out of all the nation's largest metropolitan areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Local officials identify the city's economic struggles, but point to education as the key to getting more jobs and higher-paying jobs in the region. Read more» 8

The portion of Arizonans living in poverty hit 19 percent last year, the sixth-highest rate in the nation, according to new data from the Census Bureau. It was the third straight increase in the poverty rate for Arizona. Read more» 1

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