Arizona 360 heard from federal lawmakers this week as they returned to Arizona while waiting to vote on a potential solution to the partial government shutdown. Newly appointed Sen. Martha McSally sat down with Lorraine Rivera during a visit Tuesday to the border in Nogales. Their discussion began with McSally's decision to postpone her pay until the shutdown ends:
"I thought it was the right thing to do to say: 'I'm with you. I got your back. I'm standing with you as we fight to break this impasse, but I'm also not going to get paid during this time, and we're going to work through this together,'" McSally said.
She also addressed lawmakers' role in ending the shutdown.
"We need very quickly the House, the Senate and the administration to come together to figure out a path forward. Not the political games. But what do we really need to open up the federal government," McSally said.
And McSally spoke about working with Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema:
"We're already working together on a number of issues that we worked on together in the House," McSally said. "The campaign is over. Sen. Sinema won. I have been given the opportunity to be appointed. We are both now serving alongside each other on behalf of Arizona. And our approach is what's best for our state moving forward."
Rep. Raúl Grijalva stopped by Arizona Public Media last week during a brief visit to his district and spoke to Christopher Conover about the partial government shutdown and President Trump's demands for increased funding for a wall.
"He's defined security one way, and I think the ask from the Democrats in Congress is, 'Let's broaden that definition,'" Grijalva said.
Grijalva also discussed the role of the federal government in conserving water in the Colorado River. It comes as legislators in Arizona work on passing a revised drought contingency plan.
"We have a role both as a mediator. We have a role both as an arbitrator. … If the Colorado River is the nexus of this discussion then I think we should be at the table," Grijalva said. "Keeping the status quo is not going to deal with the drought and it's not going to deal with the fact that this is a finite resource. It's not going to be there forever."
In a return to Arizona 360's occasional commentary series, Own Words, we heard from Cassandra Keith. She and her husband support President Trump's calls for increased border security, however her husband has missed out on two paychecks as a federal employee in Tucson. In her own words, Keith shares how the partial government shutdown has impacted their family of five.
OSIRIS-REx, the University of Arizona-led mission to collect a sample of the asteroid Bennu and return it to Earth in 2023 has had a busy year already. The spacecraft went into orbit on New Year’s Eve and is currently just over a mile above the asteroid. The team of scientists and engineers is working toward finding the perfect place to collect 2 ounces of surface material next year. Arizona 360 offers a look back at some of the highlights of the decade-long mission.
Production is underway on a second documentary chronicling OSIRIS-REx's launch and planned sample retrieval. View Arizona Public Media's initial documentary "Countdown to Launch" here.
A former judge for the city of South Tucson will lead the charge to overhaul Title IX policies at the University of Arizona. The federal law bans sex discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funding. Ronald Wilson got started as Title IX director in October, shortly after the university launched a nationwide search amid several accusations of Title IX violations directed at the UA and its athletics department.
"One of the first orders of business is to create a Title IX office for the university," Wilson said. According to Wilson, the goal is to centralize resources for grievance procedures and other policies related to Title IX so they are more accessible to students and employees. Wilson also addressed restoring the public's trust in the university's procedures.
"One of the things we have to do as leaders is be open and honest with each other and create authentic lines of communication. So that we can have candid discussions about what some of the issues are and how we need to resolve them," Wilson said.