/ Modified feb 21, 2020 2:34 p.m.

Trump rally, building the wall, retaining UA grads

Plus, Phoenix finds itself in the political spotlight.

Arizona’s significance to this year’s election came into sharper focus with a visit from President Trump this week and an announcement that the Democratic candidates will face off in a debate in Phoenix next month. Arizona 360 attended the Trump campaign rally at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix to hear from supporters and protesters at the event.

Similar to 2016, President Trump’s platform in 2020 includes improving border security. Throughout his first term he has met with Border Patrol agents on multiple occasions, including Tucson Sector agent Art Del Cueto. Del Cueto serves as vice president and spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council. He sat down with Lorraine Rivera to discuss what his meetings with the president have entailed and how that feedback has helped shape the Trump administration’s agenda.

“We’re very thorough and we explain exactly what the needs are. Sometimes it’s frustrating because I know agents come back and say, ‘Well we needed this, we needed that.’ But there’s also Congress in the way,” Del Cueto said.

The political fight for Arizona voters has so far taken place in Phoenix. Less than a month after the president’s rally, Democratic candidates will debate in the city. For insight into some of the reasons Phoenix is being thrust into the national spotlight, Lorraine Rivera spoke to Steve Goldstein, host of KJZZ’s The Show.

“Maricopa County is where a lot of the new businesses are coming from. The point of emphasis, whether it’s Phoenix or the surrounding suburbs, [is that] it’s a pretty safe bet that many people are doing very well,” Goldstein said.

While Phoenix’s economy and population outpace Tucson's, growth in the state’s second-largest metro area has remained steady over the past several years. Arizona 360 learned more about some of the trends and barriers the Tucson Metro Chamber is tracking from the group’s president Amber Smith.

“Because we have small and midsize businesses, which many would think is a hindrance because there aren’t a ton of corporate giants, what you can do is have a larger impact within a small company,” Smith said. “Those small companies are really paying attention to what employees want and they’re able to create that workplace culture that a lot of this next generation find really important.”

While a majority of University of Arizona undergraduate students move on from Tucson after earning their degrees, a survey from the office of Student Engagement and Career Development finds about a third of them choose to stay to work or continue their education. Abra McAndrew, assistant vice president of access, engagement and opportunity, spoke to Lorraine Rivera about how the office supports students and what the community can learn from their decisions.

“I think it’s very helpful to just add this data to the conversation about what’s happening so that if there is a need that’s not being met, we can understand it better and we can understand how to help the community connect to our students better,” McAndrew said.

As several thousand University of Arizona students earn their bachelor’s degrees each year, Arizona 360 wanted to learn more about what factors help determine their next steps after graduation. Lorraine Rivera heard from seniors who are part of the UA’s Blue Chip Leadership program about their impressions of Tucson and the university, as well as their plans for the future.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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