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Helping you keep up with what matters in Arizona's political news. Each week we interview politicians, public figures or journalists to break down one local issue and how it affects your life in Arizona. Coming to you every Wednesday morning, The Gaggle is hosted by The Arizona Republic's national political reporters Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Ron Hansen. You can find them on Twitter at @yvonnewingett and @ronaldjhansen.
 
Whether you're a longtime Arizona resident or a newcomer, chances are there's something you've always wondered about the Valley. From The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com comes Valley 101, a weekly podcast where our journalists find answers to your questions about metro Phoenix. From silly to serious, you tell us what to investigate. You can submit questions at valley101podcast.azcentral.com or reach us on Twitter @Valley101pod.
 
In April 2010, Arizona enacted the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, better known as Senate Bill 1070. The state law required police officers to inquire about the legal status of anyone they thought might be in the country illegally. But what would make an officer think someone was in the country illegally? To its opponents, it codified and provided legal cover for racial profiling, something that continues to be an issue. To its supporters, SB 1070 tackled the issue of ...
 
For almost 2,000 miles, one line defines a country and divides the world. What is life like at the U.S.-Mexico border now, and how would a wall change that? In this podcast, journalists take you with them to the border to find out. Meet a human smuggler. Ride with armed vigilantes. Get bitten – lightly! – by a jaguar. Fly over the entire border line. Hear what journalists go through to get these stories – and the surprising things they learn along the way. This podcast is hosted by Nicole Ca ...
 
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For most Americans, the clock springs forward an hour or falls back one because of Daylight Saving Time. But that's not the case in two states: Arizona and Hawaii. In today's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, podcast intern Jonathan Tease dives into the history and debates that led to Arizona's decision t…
 
The race for Maricopa County Attorney has grown heated and competitive this year. Facing off are candidates Allister Adel, a Republican, and Julie Gunnigle, a Democrat. Allister Adel, the sitting county attorney, was appointed to the office in October 2019 by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. This came after her predecessor, Republican Bill…
 
President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 built 41,000 miles of interconnected highways across the country. The bill arrived in an era of post-World War II, Cold War tension. Its proponents said highways were necessary for national defense. In case of an attack, people in densely populated cities would need roadways to evacua…
 
Arizona's 1st Congressional District was designed to be competitive. The district is immense. It stretches from the Navajo Nation in the northwest corner of the state, to the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff. From there, it heads south, covering Show Low and Globe. Then it switches west to include Casa Grande and the city of Maricopa, just south of Phoen…
 
Can a lengthy ethics investigation and a charismatic opponent mean the end for Rep. David Schweikert, a Republican from Arizona's 6th Congressional District? Schweikert's district is home to some of Arizona's wealthiest residents. It's also home to a host of working-class entrepreneurs, he said. Topping their list of important issues this election …
 
On Monday, for the first time ever, Arizona will recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. It's a move that State Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai has been working toward for years. "The United States is first and foremost, and always has been and always will be, Indigenous peoples' sacred homeland," Peshlakai said. On Sept. 4, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a …
 
The race between retired astronaut and Democrat Mark Kelly and Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) could determine the control of the Senate and makeup of the Supreme Court. On Tuesday night, voters heard from the candidates directly. In a debate hosted by The Arizona Republic, Arizona PBS, KJZZ-FM (91.5) and Arizona Public media, the candidates responde…
 
As newcomers to the Valley, Stephen Richer and his wife Lindsay noticed a ton of photo shoots taking place in downtown Phoenix. He saw women walking in downtown accompanied by professional photographers. Richer lived in other cities like Chicago, New Orleans and Portland. The phenomenon he saw in Phoenix was new to him. To find out what was going o…
 
The Patriot Movement AZ was once seen as a fringe group within the Republican Party. Now they are impacting local policy while garnering national attention for their public actions. Investigative reporters Rob O'Dell and Richard Ruelas spent six months diving into the history of the group and reviewing thousands of online posts to learn how the gro…
 
Once a reliably red state, Arizona has become increasingly purple over the last decade. When it comes to the 2020 election, it's districts like Arizona's 9th Congressional District that could swing outcomes on the federal level. The 9th Congressional District falls in the heart of the Valley. It includes east Phoenix, Tempe, south Scottsdale and pa…
 
Hattie Mosher had a pioneering spirit. The daughter of one of the wealthiest families in turn of the century Phoenix, Hattie wasn't one to hold back. She made waves by being one of the first — if not the first — women to ride a bike in Phoenix. She worked as a reporter at the Denver Post. She ran for political office a decade after white women in A…
 
As the 2020 election draws near, Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden are racing to shore up support from suburban voters in the battleground state of Arizona. Analysts say suburbanites will be the decisive voting faction in this year's election, making them the most important group for each of the presid…
 
West of the White Tank Mountains in Buckeye, there's a 30-mile, four-land highway that connects Interstate 10 in the south to Bell Road in the north. It was once seen as the key to city growth, anchoring dozens of future master planned communities and some 300,000 anticipated residents. After dozens of private investors constructed the highway in 1…
 
The course of the 2020 political season leading up to election day has been inexorably altered as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to render large, in-person gatherings a social taboo. Campaign events have largely been cancelled. The Democratic and Republican National Conventions were held virtually. As questions over the safety of in-person voting …
 
The first day of school is always a big day for students. Many plan out their outfits and memorize their schedules for the day. They walk out on campus with a map in hand to find their classrooms. But this year, many students are not getting that same experience. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic put the traditional rituals of returning to school on ho…
 
Socialism. Guns. Water. Those are some of the top issues for voters from Arizona's 4th Congressional District. Also top of mind are keeping taxes low and ensuring the election this November is safe and accessible for all the district's voters, including Indigenous constituents. It's for those reasons that Congressional District 4 is not considered …
 
Labor Day is a anational holiday that celebrates the contributors to the work force. During this holiday, our Valley 101 podcast team thought it would be fitting to explore one of the largest and most important labor movements in our state's history, the Farmworkers Movement. Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta are two of the most well-known organizers…
 
This November, Arizonans will cast their votes not just for the leaders they hope to see guiding their futures, but for the multiple voter-driven propositions that will shape their communities. What are the props on the ballot this election cycle and what do voters need to know about them? This week Arizona's politics podcast, The Gaggle, dives int…
 
Walk along almost any canal in the metro Phoenix area and you're sure to find thousands of shells each smaller than a quarter. What are they and how did they get there? Those are the questions reporter John D'Anna wonders about every time he walks his dog George along the neighborhood canal path. This week, Valley 101 is answering them. The shells'…
 
Every four years supporters of the Democratic and Republican parties pack convention centers and arenas to nominate their candidate for president. This year, that tradition is a bit different. Instead of large crowds and in-person festivities, Zoom meetings and video live streams took its place. The COVID-19 pandemic ousted the traditional conventi…
 
It's August, which means your TV news broadcasts are usually filled with stories about monsoon season, including stories about flooding, how to drive safely and how much rain we've received. This year has been a little different thanks to a hotter and drier summer. But when the rain hits, there's a noticeable scent to it. That's thanks to a certain…
 
Mark Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut, is vying to become Arizona's second Democratic senator. Kelly ran uncontested in the Democratic Senate primary and will face off with Republican Sen. Martha McSally in November. In this week's episode of The Gaggle: An Arizona politics podcast, Kelly joins hosts Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Ronald J. Hansen to di…
 
In a previous episode of Valley 101, producer Taylor Seely broke down the grid system of Phoenix streets. The streets in Phoenix run north and south, and east and west. This created streets that run perpendicular to each other. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Grand Avenue is one of those. Today we’re answering two questions submit…
 
Arizona's Congressional District 2 has a history of voting for both Republicans and Democrats, but as COVID-19 upends life for residents across the state, the question of which direction the district will lean in the 2020 election is in flux. The district is located in the southeast corner of Arizona, abutting Mexico and New Mexico. It includes par…
 
Health care workers in Arizona are struggling through the burdens of a public health crisis that has hospitalized thousands of Arizonans and pushed emergency rooms and ICUs near full capacity. With higher than usual patient-to-nurse ratios, stringent PPE protocols and looming fears over exposing their loved ones to the novel coronavirus, health car…
 
Arizona's primary election may have lacked the gravitas of November's much-anticipated general election, but there were key races to watch. This includes races in the state Legislature, which could determine whether Democrats retake the state House of Representatives for the first time since the 1966 elections. Democrats also had to choose their op…
 
Phoenix is the largest metropolitan city in the U.S. without passenger-rail service, but that wasn't always the case. In 1923, Phoenix Union Station opened. And in 1926, a transcontinental line was completed, meaning someone could take the train anywhere in the country. In this episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and azcentra…
 
When it comes to negotiating the next coronavirus stimulus package, House Democrats and Senate Republicans are at odds. Again. In May, Democrats, who control the House, proposed a $3 trillion plan that extended the $600 emergency unemployment benefit until January. Their plan also included an additional $1,200 stimulus check and additional funding …
 
For several people in the Valley who've contracted COVID-19 or watched someone they love contract it, a switch flipped afterward. They felt compelled to convince others to take the disease seriously. Jimmy Flores, a 30-year-old man from Tempe, told Arizona Republic reporter Audrey Jensen he thought COVID-19 was a joke. He figured he was too young a…
 
In March, in-person schools shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sudden transition was difficult for teachers, students and parents alike. In recent weeks, the debate on when and how to reopen schools for in-person curriculum has made headlines across the country. The pressure to reopen this fall was amplified by President Donald Tru…
 
What's it like to be a migrant or correctional officer in an immigrant detention facility located in a global hotspot during a pandemic? At the Eloy Detention Center in southern Arizona, correctional officers and immigrants' rights advocates and lawyers are decrying dangerous conditions they say have exacerbated the outbreak of COVID-19 at the faci…
 
As a lifelong Valley resident, I would often drive by the spring training stadiums for the Chicago Cubs or the Los Angeles Angels. I always wondered why we had outside teams playing in the Arizona. The reason dates back to the 1940s before the state even had its own Major League Baseball team. Arizona's relationship to Americans' favorite pastime s…
 
Episode 1: You're not welcome here In the early 2000s, Arizona’s rapid population growth and investor speculation fueled a homebuilding binge in the state. Contractors took advantage of a lax employment-verification system and hired undocumented workers at a cut rate, often from Mexico, in droves. At its peak, Arizona proportionately had the second…
 
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