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Raúl Grijalva

Raúl Grijalva
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Ben Quayle
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 7th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Ed Pastor
Personal details
Born Raúl Manuel Grijalva
(1948-02-19) February 19, 1948
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Ramona Grijalva
Children Adelita
Alma mater University of Arizona
Religion Roman Catholicism

Raúl Manuel Grijalva (; born February 19, 1948) is the U.S. Representative for Arizona's 3rd congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, numbered as the 7th District from 2003 to 2013, includes the western third of Tucson, all of Yuma and Nogales, and some peripheral parts of metro Phoenix.


  • Early life, education and career 1
  • U.S. House of Representatives 2
    • Committee assignments 2.1
    • Caucuses 2.2
  • Political positions 3
    • Abortion 3.1
    • Budget proposals 3.2
    • Deepwater Horizon and Oil Rig Safety 3.3
    • Education 3.4
    • Environment 3.5
    • Fossil fuel industry funding of climate change studies 3.6
    • Gun Control 3.7
    • Health Care 3.8
    • Immigration 3.9
    • Native Americans 3.10
    • SB 1070 and the Boycott Controversy 3.11
    • 2004 voting irregularities 3.12
    • Giffords Shooting 3.13
  • Political campaigns 4
  • Electoral history 5
  • Personal life 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Early life, education and career

Raúl Grijalva's father was a migrant worker from Mexico who entered the United States in 1945 through the Bracero Program and labored on southern Arizona ranches.[1] Grijalva was born in Tucson, Arizona, and graduated from Sunnyside High School in 1967. He is a 2004 inductee to the Sunnyside High School Alumni Hall of Fame. He attended the University of Arizona and earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology. While at the University, he was a member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) which, at that time, was a radical group identified with the separatist “Aztlán ” ideology. Grijalva also served as a leader of the Chicano Liberation Committee and other Chicano groups.

In addition, he was an Arizona leader of the [2][3]

In 1974, he was elected to the Tucson Unified School District board and served as a school board member until 1986. Grijalva Elementary School in Tucson was named for him in 1987.[4] From 1975 to 1986, Grijalva was the director of the El Pueblo Neighborhood Center, and in 1987 he was Assistant Dean for Hispanic Student Affairs at the University of Arizona. Grijalva was a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors from 1989 to 2002, and served as chairman from 2000 to 2002.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives

Arizona's 3rd congressional district, which Grijalva has represented since 2013.

Committee assignments


Grijalva is a member of several dozen caucuses. A full list is available at his Web site.[6]

Political positions

Grijalva co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus with Keith Ellison of Minnesota[7][8] and in 2008 was among 12 members rated by National Journal as tied for most liberal overall.[9] On the ideological map of all House members at GovTrack's website, Grijalva is ranked farthest to the left.[10] Liberal and progressive activist groups routinely give him high marks for his voting record. Grijalva received a 100 percent score from Americans for Democratic Action, Peace Action, the League of Conservation Voters, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Arab American Institute, and several other notable groups in recent years.[11] With the start of the 114th Congress, Grijalva became the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Grijalva is an advocate of mining law reform[12] and many other environmental causes. From his position on the House Committee on Natural Resources—where he has been the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands since 2007—he has led Democratic efforts to strengthen federal offshore oil drilling oversight since before the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill[13] and introduced a successful bill to create a permanent National Landscape Conservation System at the Bureau of Land Management.[14] He was a leading candidate for Secretary of the Interior when President Obama was elected, but the job eventually went to Ken Salazar[15]—according to the Washington Post, President Obama made the decision in part because of Grijalva's stated preference for more environmental analysis before approving offshore drilling projects.[16]

He has been a vocal opponent of Arizona's SB 1070 law that mandates police checks of citizenship documentation for anyone subjected to a legitimate law enforcement stop, detention or arrest as long as the officer does not consider race, color or national origin during the stop, detention or arrest.[17] Shortly after the measure was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Grijalva called on legal, political, activist and business groups not to hold their conventions or conferences in the state, a position that he said quickly became misconstrued as a call for a general boycott of the state economy.[18] In response, the Arizona Republican Party handed out bumper stickers reading "Boycott Grijalva, Not Arizona." After a federal judge stopped implementation of most of SB 1070, Grijalva withdrew the boycott, saying that he had reacted to it “very personally.” In an interview regarding the situation, Grijalva said that “to all of a sudden have a law that separates me from the whole, I found very offensive and demeaning.” [19]

He criticized the 2010 deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as "political symbolism" that he believed would not adequately address the issues of immigration and border security.[20]

Grijalva has frequently called for a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and supports the wider implementation of the National Solidarity Program as a way to improve Afghans' economic and educational infrastructure.[21] The group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave him an "A" rating for the 2007-2008 Congressional session.


Grijalva has a pro-choice voting record and voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.[22] He was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which sought to place limits on taxpayer-funded abortions in the Affordable Health Care for America Act.[23]

Budget proposals

As co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Grijalva has taken a leading role in shaping recent CPC "alternative budgets"—budget bills offered by various groups and caucuses in Congress other than the official majority or minority party plan. In 2011 the CPC introduced what it called the People's Budget, which reached budget balance in 10 years according to an assessment by the Economic Policy Institute based on nonpartisan government data.[24] The proposal was noted approvingly by some of the world's leading economists, including Jeffrey Sachs—who called it "a bolt of hope . . . humane, responsible, and most of all sensible"[25]—and Paul Krugman, who called it "genuinely courageous" for achieving budget balance "without dismantling the legacy of the New Deal.".[26][27]

In 2012, again with Grijalva as co-chair, the Progressive Caucus introduced the Budget for All, which is similar to the People's Budget and includes several new features, including a novel proposal to institute a small personal wealth tax above $10 million in net worth phased in over a period of five years.[28] The proposal received 78 votes, all from Democrats, when the House considered it on March 29, 2012.[29][30]

Deepwater Horizon and Oil Rig Safety

On Feb 24, 2010, Grijalva wrote a letter signed by 18 other Representatives calling for an investigation of the BP Atlantis offshore drilling platform due to whistleblower allegations that it was operating without approved safety documents.[31] He has called for Atlantis to be shut down.[32] Since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on April 20, 2010, Grijalva has written letters to the Minerals Management Service and the Department of the Interior questioning current offshore drilling regulations and calling for stronger oversight of the oil industry.[33]

Grijalva has gained prominence as an outspoken critic of what he calls lax federal oversight of the oil drilling industry, and in late 2010 launched an investigation of the White House's handling of the Horizon spill and its aftermath. That investigation revealed that scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and elsewhere in the federal government had voiced concerns about drafts of an official government report on the cause and scope of the spill, but were overruled because the report was meant as a "communications document".[34]

In 2010, he introduced H.R. 5355 to eliminate the cap on oil company liability for the cost of environmental cleanups of spills.[35]


Grijalva has sponsored numerous education bills during his time in Congress, including the Success in the Middle Act[36] and the Graduation for All Act.[37] Grijalva has long ties to the educational community from his time on the board of the Tucson Unified School District and his current position on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.


As a member and chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Grijalva was widely regarded as a central figure behind the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan,[38] an ambitious County program for planned land-use and biodiversity conservation.[39] He consistently supported endangered species and wilderness conservation on the Board of Supervisors and has continued to do so in Congress, introducing a bill in 2009 to make permanent the National Landscape Conservation System within the Bureau of Land Management. In 2008, Grijalva released a report called The Bush Administration's Assaults on Our National Parks, Forests and Public Lands,[40] which accused the Bush administration of mismanaging public land and reducing barriers to commercial access.[41]

Fossil fuel industry funding of climate change studies

On February 24, 2015, as the ranking Democratic member of the United States House Committee on Natural Resources, Grijalva sent letters to seven institutions employing scientists who disagree with most other climate scientists on man-made climate change. The letters requested information on any funding from fossil fuel companies, as well as copies of all emails concerning the content of their congressional testimony. One of the recipients, University of Colorado Professor Roger Pielke Jr., responded that he had already testified to Grijalva's committee that he has received no funding from fossil fuel interests, and characterized the letter as part of a politically motivated "'witch-hunt'".[42]

The heads of some mainstream scientific organizations criticized Grijalva’s letters. Margaret Leinen, the president of the American Geophysical Union posted in her AGU blog that in requiring information only of only a few scientists, based only on their scientific views, Grivalja’s action was contrary to academic freedom: “We view the singling out of any individual or group of scientists by any entity – governmental, corporate or other – based solely on their interpretations of scientific research as a threat to that freedom.”[43] The executive director of the American Meteorological Society wrote in a letter to Grvalja that his actiion “sends a chilling message to all academic researchers,” and “impinges on the free pursuit of ideas that is central to the concept of academic freedom.”[44]

In response to criticism that requesting communications was counter to principles of academic freedom, Grijalva said he was willing to eliminate that part of the request.[45]

Gun Control

Grijalva supports increasing restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns and increasing enforcement of existing restrictions on gun purchase and possession.[46] He was one of the 67 co-sponsors of the 2007 Assault Weapons Ban, HR 1022.[47] Grijalva has an F rating from the NRA.[48]

Health Care

As co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, Grijalva was a prominent supporter of a public option throughout the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[49] The House-approved Affordable Health Care for America Act included a public option — however, the Senate version did not include a similar provision, and it was ultimately not a part of the final reform package. Grijalva has largely been supportive of the health care reform law since its passage and argued the Supreme Court should not overturn it during a segment with Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, who opposes the law, for the PBS NewsHour on March 28, 2012.[50]

Grijalva has a long history in community health activism as an early supporter of Tucson's El Rio Community Health Center.[51] He supports single-payer health care, but voted in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act because he felt it was a major improvement over the status quo.[52]


Grijalva supports the DREAM Act and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act (CIR ASAP) and has recently come to greater prominence because of his role in promoting immigration reform.[53][54] He has opposed the expansion of a border fence, citing cost effectiveness concerns and potential damage to sensitive wildlife habitats.[55] The CIR ASAP bill includes his Border Security and Responsibility Act of 2009, which prioritizes remote cameras and other border monitoring techniques with a relatively slight environmental impact. The Immigrant Justice Advocacy Campaign gave him a 100 percent score for the first session of the 111th Congress. In previous years he voted against H.R. 4437 and the Secure Fence Act, and opposed Arizona Proposition 200 in 2004.

Grijalva has criticized armed civilian groups that patrol the Mexican border, accusing them of being “racist” and has reportedly used demeaning language to describe them. In return, some supporters of the armed patrols have called him “MEChA boy" in retaliation.[2][56]

Native Americans

Grijalva is a strong supporter of sovereignty and government-to-government relationships. In April 2010 he introduced the RESPECT Act, which mandates that federal agencies consult with Native tribes before taking a variety of major actions.[57] The bill would codify a Clinton-era executive order that has never had the force of law.

SB 1070 and the Boycott Controversy

After the passage in April 2010 of

United States House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Ed Pastor
Preceded by
Ben Quayle
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 3rd congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Scott Garrett
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jeb Hensarling

External links

  • Videos of Grijalva discussing various issues Tucson Citizen, March 22, 2006
  • A Report on the Bush Administration Assaults On Our National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, October 22, 2008
  • Rep. Raul Grijalva, Vows to Bring Public Option to House Floor - video report by Democracy Now!, October 30, 2009
  • Rep. Raul Grijalva: New Deployment of National Guard to US-Mexico Border Is Election-Year "Political Symbolism", May 28, 2010

Further reading

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Armando Navarro, La Raza Unida Party, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000, pp. 204.
  4. ^ Grijalva Elementary School in TUSD
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ National Journal Rankings 2008. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  10. ^ Rep. Raul Grijalva. GovTrack. July 29, 2012
  11. ^ Rep. Raul M. Grijalva: Organization Ratings & Scores. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Grijalva calls for economic boycott. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  19. ^
  20. ^ New Deployment of National Guard to US-Mexico Border Is Election-Year "Political Symbolism". Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Lawmakers seek halt to production at BP's Atlantis platform. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  32. ^ Lawmakers to urge BP to idle its Atlantis rig. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ Education for All Act GovTrack
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ Margaret Leinen, Protectinng academic freedom, 27 February 2015.
  44. ^ Dr. Keith L. Seitter, Letter on challenges to academic freedom, 27 Feb. 2015.
  45. ^
  46. ^ Gun Issues from Project Vote Smart
  47. ^ H.R.1022 THOMAS (Library of Congress)
  48. ^
  49. ^ Strong public option a cure for system. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^ Rep. Grijalva on Arizona Illustrated April 1 on YouTube. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  53. ^
  54. ^ Arizona Law Controversy Raises Grijalva's Profile Along With Immigration Issue. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  55. ^ Why environmental groups have been slow to fight the border wall. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^ ; for 2008 see United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2008
  69. ^


Grijalva and his wife Ramona have three daughters.[69]

Personal life

Arizona's 7th congressional district: Results 2002–2010[68] Arizona's 3rd Congressional District Results 2012
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Raúl M. Grijalva 61,256 59.00% Ross Hieb 38,474 37.06% John L. Nemeth Libertarian 4,088 3.94%
2004 Raúl M. Grijalva* 108,868 62.06% Joseph Sweeney 59,066 33.67% Dave Kaplan Libertarian 7,503 4.28%
2006 Raúl M. Grijalva* 80,354 61.09% Ron Drake 46,498 35.35% Joe Michael Cobb Libertarian 4,673 3.55%
2008 Raúl M. Grijalva* 124,304 63.26% Joseph Sweeney 64,425 32.79% Raymond Patrick Petrulsky Libertarian 7,755 3.95%
2010 Raúl M. Grijalva* 79,935 50.23% Ruth McClung 70,385 44.23% Harley Meyer Independent 4,506 2.83% George Keane Libertarian 4,318 2.71%
2012 Raúl M. Grijalva* 98,468 58.36% Gabriela Saucedo Mercer 62,663 37.14% Bianca Guerra Libertarian 7,567 4.48%
2014 Raúl M. Grijalva* 58,192 55.7% Gabriela Saucedo Mercer 46,185 44.3%

Electoral history

Grijalva's district was renumbered as the 3rd District after the 2010 census, and made somewhat more Democratic than its predecessor even though it lost some of its share of Tucson to the 2nd District (the reconfigured 8th). Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Grijalva broke from many of his colleagues and announced his support for Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders on 9 October 2015 at a rally for the insurgent Senator in Tucson, Arizona.[67]

During the 2010 midterms, Grijalva faced his toughest re-election campaign yet, against Republican Ruth McClung. It was reported that although Grijalva had decades of experience and McClung had none, and although there were twice as many Democrats in the district as there were Republicans, the two candidates were neck-and-neck in the polls. The main reason was Grijalva's call for a boycott of Arizona in response to the state's new immigration law, SB 1070. Grijalva won 50%-44% -- his closest margin of victory since being elected, and the first close election in what is now the 7th since 1978, when Udall was held to only 52 percent of the vote.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Grijalva endorsed Barack Obama for President; his district, however, was won by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

After the 2000 United States Census, Arizona gained two Congressional districts. The 2nd District, which had long been represented by Democrat Mo Udall, was renumbered as the 7th District. Ed Pastor, a Phoenix Democrat who had succeeded Udall in 1991, had his home drawn into the newly created 4th District and opted to run for election there, making the 7th District an open seat. Grijalva won a crowded seven-way Democratic primary, which was tantamount to election in this heavily Democratic, majority-Hispanic district. Before the 2010 election, he was reelected three times with no substantial Republican opposition. In 2008, he defeated Republican challenger Joseph Sweeney.

Political campaigns

After the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, Grijalva called it a consequence of the violent rhetoric that had been used by Tea Party members. Grijalva singled out Sarah Palin's rhetoric as “contributing to this toxic climate” and stated that she needs to monitor her words and actions.[66]

Giffords Shooting

After the General Election, Grijalva was one of 31 Representatives who voted in the House not to count the electoral votes from Ohio on grounds of unacceptable irregularities.[65]

Concerned about allegations of voting irregularities purportedly leading to disenfranchisement, in 2004 Grijalva joined Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and several other House Democrats in requesting that the United Nations observe and certify elections in the United States.[64]

2004 voting irregularities

The issue became a focal point in the 2010 election, in which Grijalva ultimately defeated Republican challenger Ruth McClung by less than 10,000 votes. [63]He subsequently said that his economic strategy was not as effective as he hoped in changing other state lawmakers' minds, and that he would focus on legal remedies in the future.
"After this ruling, everybody has some responsibility to pause, and that includes me," said Grijalva, a Tucson Democrat. "The issue of economic sanctions is a moot point now and I will encourage national organizations I'm in contact with to come and lend a hand - not just economically, but to help us begin to educate people about how we need to fix this broken system."[62]
, the largest paper in Tucson: Arizona Daily Star in July 2010, Grijalva ended his call for economic sanctions. As he told the [61] of the Arizona District Court enjoined major parts of the law Judge Susan BoltonWhen

[60] His opposition to SB 1070, as well as his suggestion of a boycott of Arizona, was widely viewed as the reason for multiple subsequent death threats against him and his staff, which led to several office closures in the spring of 2010.[59]

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