Candidate, U.S. House Arizona District 7
Raúl has a thirty-year record of exceptional public service in Southern Arizona. Raúl, his wife Ramona, and their three daughters, Adelita, Raquel and Marisa, have a lifelong commitment to improving the quality of life in the Southern Arizona community.
Raúl began his public career as a community organizer and continues to be an advocate for underrepresented constituencies in Tucson and Southern Arizona. In the 1970s, he joined other advocates at El Rio Community Health Center, (a once small local community health services clinic that Raúl and several others established in Tucson), to encourage local governments to invest in older and minority neighborhoods.
He helped organize neighborhood empowerment efforts that prompted the City of Tucson to expand services to the south and west sides, including the construction of neighborhood service centers such as El Rio, El Pueblo and Fred Archer. He served as Director of the El Pueblo Neighborhood Center from 1975 to 1986.
From 1974 to 1986, Raúl served on the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, including as chairman for the last six years of his tenure. The community looked to Raúl as an advocate for teacher and employee rights, civil rights, and increased funding and support for public education. He was instrumental in the establishment and implementation of bilingual education in Arizona as well as the creation of the magnet school programs in Tucson during desegregation. Raúl M. Grijalva Elementary School was named in his honor after he retired in order to recognize his service and contributions to education in the Tucson Unified School District.
Raúl continued his service to the community when he was elected to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, where he served from 1988 to 2003, including two years as the Board’s Chairman. At the Board of Supervisors, he was a staunch advocate for balanced planning and fairness in land use decisions. His leadership led to the creation of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.
He continued his advocacy for working families, reinvesting in older and minority neighborhoods by passing the first bond package that contained a $10 million commitment to reinvesting in older, low-income neighborhoods and the funding of a housing trust fund. He worked with community advocates to pass Countywide Universal Inclusive Home Designs Standards. These standards, the first in the nation, were applied to all new housing and provided simple, minimal cost design changes that make homes more accessible for people with disabilities and older adults.
In 2002, Raúl resigned from the Pima County Board of Supervisors to seek office in the newly created Seventh Congressional District. Volunteer efforts helped Raúl successfully overcome a nine-candidate primary against several former or then-current elected officials. Even as he was outspent three to one by his closest competitor, Raúl obtained a 20 point victory.
Raúl won with a diverse coalition of supporters that led the largest volunteer-driven election effort in Arizona. Raúl’s campaign, “A Whole Lot of People for Grijalva,” was driven by volunteers who knocked on doors, made phone calls, handled mailings, and made great friends that expanded the Grijalva political family. That election united hundreds of wonderfully dedicated activists of all ages, races and interests.
The 2002 election proved that volunteers and grassroots campaigning can win against money, connections, and powerful interests. Since his initial election, Raúl has continued to aggressively campaign for reelection with the help of a whole lot of dedicated volunteers, whose numbers have continued to grow. These supporters stand with Raúl because he has remained a steadfast leader who is unafraid to take tough votes. Raúl believes in educating the public rather than exploiting fears and insecurities.
Since his election to Congress in 2002, Raúl remains committed to bringing fairness and accountability to our federal government by providing services and protecting the health and safety of the public. Education, job creation, employee rights, immigration, and the environment are some of his top policy concerns.
As a member of the Committee on Education and Labor, Raúl helps fund early childhood and preschool programs within our nation’s consistently underfunded education system. He successfully worked to improve funding to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and to enhance outreach and services to Limited English Proficient children and their families.
Raúl continues to improve the quality of life for working families by promoting minimum wage increases, supporting legislation to prevent workplace intimidation, advocating for better labor standards and protections for farmworkers, and pushing to help employees organize and represent themselves in the workplace.
As Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, Raúl leads the fight to protect our public lands, advocate for the policy priorities of Indian Country, and ensure that all of us have access to clean air, water, and land. Raúl has taken on the mining companies that exploit our lands and played a leading role in pushing the protection of 1 million acres of land in the Grand Canyon from the threat of expanded uranium mining.
Long before the disastrous Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, Raúl pushed for effective oversight of the oil and gas drilling industries. As the top-ranking Democrat on the committee, he now leads the charge to prevent the Trump Administration from shrinking national monuments, selling our public lands to the highest bidder, and eroding tribal sovereignty.
For ten years, Raúl served as Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), where he led his colleagues in championing policies that invest in working families and strengthen our economy. As Co-Chair, Raúl was been an outspoken advocate for raising the minimum wage, increasing oversight on banking and lending institutions that prey on consumers, single-payer healthcare, and infrastructure plans that invest in America’s workers and reinvigorate our economy.
As a long-standing member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Chair of the Education and Labor Task Force, Raúl fights for comprehensive immigration reform and stands up to anti-immigrant candidates who want to exploit fear, insecurities and hatred to distract voters from the need to resolve common sense policy objectives.
He has successfully advocated for adequate funding for English language learners and fair access to quality education for minority communities in addition to standing up for legislation that permanently protects Dreamers.