U.S House, District 3: Raúl Grijalva seeks 9th term, poverty and education are top issues

Rep. Raúl Grijalva is running for re-election in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District. He has served in the House of Representatives since 2003. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Raúl Grijalva)

Name: Raúl Grijalva
Political party: Democrat
Position sought: U.S. House of Representatives, District 3
City of residence: Tucson
Current office: U.S. representative, 3rd Congressional District

What is the greatest issue Arizona residents face? If elected, how would you address this issue?

Grijalva listed several short and long-term goals for the state: reducing poverty, increasing economic development and encouraging diversity. He said his most important long-term goal is improving Arizona’s education system.

The 70-year-old incumbent, who has been in the House since 2003, said he hopes to provide college graduates some relief.

“There’s over $1.5 trillion dollars in student debt,” he said, “and we need to find a way to reduce that and allow everyone to have the opportunity to learn.”

What other issues are important to you and your campaign?

Congress needs to fight to protect the environment, he said, noting uranium mining near the Grand Canyon as a problem he would address.

“We need to stress conservation of public lands and protect the culture and value of the land we have,” he said.

Grijalva serves on the House Natural Resources Committee, and he introduced legislation to preserve the Grand Canyon that won the support of a number of Arizona tribal leaders.

What in your past work, political or volunteer experience makes you a better choice to hold this office?

Grijalva said his 30 years of public service show his qualifications for re-election. He said he has supported progressive ideas, such as universal health care and a debt-free college experience, for more than a decade.

These ideas used to be considered extremely progressive, Grijalva said, but they have become mainstream in recent years.

“In being progressive on those issues then, I have the best handle on this election and how to try to implement those things,” he said.

He prides himself on consistency, and he wants to continue fighting for the district he represents, which includes southwestern Arizona and portions of Tucson.

Having served in Congress for 15 years, he said he doesn’t need any job training to implement change.

Before serving in Congress, he was on Pima County Board of Supervisors and served on the Tucson Unified School District.

What is a personal challenge you feel you need to overcome?

Grijalva said his biggest challenge would be taking on a leadership role in Congress if the Democrats win a majority in the House.

He said he is used to being in the “opposition,” or the minority in the House.

“Being in the opposition keeps the worst from happening,” he said, “but here is an opportunity to actually implement some of our policies and benefit people in my district.”

Please share a quote or advice that guides you.

Grijalva said he does not have one specific quote that he lives by because he often finds new quotes through his frequent reading. But a phrase he has referenced over the years, he said, is a Native American proverb from the Pueblo people: “Never go to sleep while your meat is cooking on the fire.”

That may have a lot of different meanings, “but I use it to make sure I’m always focusing on what I need to focus on.”

Campaign website for Raúl Grijalva.

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