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This U.S. Department of Transportation photo shows a high-speed rail system. An interest group is touting the merits of high-speed rail in Arizona.

A high-speed rail line between Phoenix and Tucson would create jobs and relieve traffic congestion, an interest group contends. The push comes as Arizona is considering a statewide rail plan that includes six possible high-speed routes between the two cities. Read more»

Secretary of State Ken Bennett speaks Monday, Nov. 29, 2010, at an event during which he and other officials certified the official canvass of the general election.

General election results made official Monday set up the first recount of a statewide ballot proposition that officials can recall. Proposition 112, which seeks to move the initiative filing deadline forward by 60 days, trailed by only 128 votes. Read more»

Todd Lang, executive director of the Arizona CItizens Clean Elections Commission, says his staff doesn’t micromanage campaigns. However, he said the commission is aware of the tension between not wanting to interfere and keeping in mind that candidates are spending public money.

Some of the 107 candidates who received public money to run for the state Legislature this year bought computers, cameras and printers that are theirs to keep and paid relatives as campaign workers and consultants. Expenses included $60 for NRA dues, $650 for mariachis and $229.87 for a “post-debate discussion” with campaign staffers at T.G.I. Friday’s. Read more»

Latino immigrants, documented and undocumented, often turn to check-cashing businesses and payday lenders rather than banks. Research shows that as a group Latinos are less likely to be financially prepared for emergencies and retirement.

75 percent of Mexican immigrants – legal and illegal – don't have bank accounts. A lack of legal identification, a history of mistrusting banks in their home country and the perceived complexities of banking in another language keep many outside the financial system, with long-term effects. Read more»

Democratic U.S. Reps. Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick faced more than a GOP tidal wave Tuesday. In fact, their defeat was a return to normal in their traditionally right-leaning districts, political scientists said. Read more»

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell wants to spare voters – and her staff – from as much work as possible dealing with early ballots that have to be counted after election day. The popularity of early voting and rules that allow people to turn in ballots at polling places on election day traditionally leave hundreds of thousands of ballots needing to be verified, a process that strains staffs and budgets and delays outcomes in some races.

Early ballots will be the first tallied on election night. And if history is a guide, they will also be among the last. Election night is just the beginning for county election officials, who not only tabulate ballots cast on Nov. 2 but also count the slew of early ballots turned in on Election Day. Read more»

Republican congressional candidate David Schweikert and his dog, Charlie, at his Scottsdale campaign office. With national polls suggesting the GOP could take control of the U.S. House, Schweikert is in a close race with two-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Harry Mitchell, who represents a district in suburbs south, east and northeast of Phoenix.

David Schweikert said he's having more fun in this election than he's ever had, certainly more fun than two years ago when Rep. Harry Mitchell beat him by 10 points. A number of polls show the race is a toss-up, with both men pulling 40-45%. Read more»

Members of the group Pima County Tea Party Patriots hold a barbecue to support Republican congressional candidate Jesse Kelly, whose primary victory was attributed to Tea Party support.

Sherese Steffens wasn't politically active until President Obama took office in 2009. Today she's rallying against the federal health care law, a proposed cap-and-trade system to control greenhouse gases and other government expenditures she considers wasteful. Read more»

The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge took five and a half years and $114 million to complete.

Towering 900 feet above the Colorado River, the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge makes the Hoover Dam, just a stone's throw away, look small. Read more»

What people will pay higher taxes to support: More than six out of 10 respondents indicate they would be willing to pay higher taxes to maintain current funding for K-12 education. Fewer than three in 10 respondents say they would be willing to raise taxes to maintain current funding for transportation or prisons and corrections.

Most Arizonans would prefer to see lawmakers cut programs before they tax or borrow to balance the budget, but only if the essentials such as K-12 education and Medicaid are protected, according to a poll released Wednesday. Read more»

Proposition 112 would move up the deadline from four to six months before an election for turning in signatures to get citizens' initiatives on the ballot. Read more»

Sgt. Kevin Wood, a media relations specialist for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, speaks at a news conference Wednesday. Wood said DPS has a more limited role in investigating the reported shooting of a Pinal County sheriff’s deputy than suggested by Pinal County officials.

At a news conference Wednesday, Sgt. Kevin Wood, a DPS media relations specialist, contradicted a statement Monday from Pinal County authorities that the agency agreed Deputy Louis Puroll was shot by drug smugglers. Read more»

Arizona lags the rest of the nation in measures of civic engagement ranging from voting to following the news to participating in community group. The report from the Center for the Future of Arizona said the problem of low voter turnout is especially acute in rural areas of the state. Read more» 2

Kim Obert lost her son seven years ago to an accidental prescription drug overdose. Today she works for the advocacy group Drug Free AZ.

25 percent of Arizona 12th-graders are abusing prescription drugs — twice the national average. This Saturday, on Take-Back Day, Arizonans can anonymously drop off any old prescription drugs. Read more»

Proposition 107 seeks to amend the Arizona Constitution to ban state government and municipalities from giving preferential treatment on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnicity or national origin. This includes everything from state-funded programs that help women and minorities in areas where there is a disparity, such as science education, to hiring quotas in the state university system. Read more»

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