|Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee|
January 3, 2019
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
January 3, 2003
|Constituency||7th district |
Raúl Manuel Grijalva
February 19, 1948
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic (since 1974)|
|Raza Unida (before 1974)|
|Education||University of Arizona (BA)|
Raúl Manuel Grijalva (; born February 19, 1948) is an American politician who serves as the U.S. Representative for Arizona's 3rd congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, numbered as the 7th district from 2003 to 2013, includes the western third of Tucson, part of Yuma and Nogales, and some peripheral parts of metro Phoenix. He is the current dean of Arizona's congressional delegation.
Raúl Grijalva's father was a migrant worker from Mexico who entered the United States in 1945 through the Bracero Program and labored on southern Arizona ranches. Grijalva was born on Canoa Ranch, 30 miles south of Tucson. Grijalva graduated from Sunnyside High School in 1967. He is a 2004 inductee to the Sunnyside High School Alumni Hall of Fame. He attended the University of Arizona and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology.
In addition, he was an Arizona leader of the Raza Unida Party. According to the standard history of the party by Dr. Armando Navarro, "Grijalva was so militant that he alienated some members of Tucson's Mexican-American community. After losing in his first bid for elective office, a 1972 run for a seat on the school board, he began to cultivate a less radical image."
In 1974, he was elected to the Tucson Unified School District board and served as a school board member until 1986. Grijalva Elementary School in Tucson was named for him in 1987. From 1975 to 1986, Grijalva was the director of the El Pueblo Neighborhood Center, and in 1987 he was Assistant Dean for Hispanic Student Affairs at the University of Arizona. Grijalva was a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors from 1989 to 2002, and served as chairman from 2000 to 2002. He resigned as a supervisor in 2002 to run for Congress.
Grijalva is a member of several dozen caucuses. A full list is available at his website.
In 2015, Grijalva settled a complaint accusing him of drunkenness and a "hostile workplace environment" with a female staffer who'd been at her job for three months. The payment of $48,000, was made from House of Representative funds.
Grijalva formerly co-chaired the Congressional Progressive Caucus with Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, having been replaced by Pramila Jayapal after stepping down in order to chair the House Committee on Natural Resources. In 2008, he was among 12 members rated by National Journal as tied for most liberal overall. On the ideological map of all House members at GovTrack's website, Grijalva is ranked farthest to the left. Liberal and progressive activist groups routinely give him high marks for his voting record. Grijalva received a 100 percent score from Americans for Democratic Action, Peace Action, the League of Conservation Voters, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Arab American Institute, and several other notable groups in recent years. With the start of the 114th Congress, Grijalva became the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Grijalva is an advocate of mining law reform and many other environmental causes. From his position on the House Committee on Natural Resources--where he has been the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands since 2007--he has led Democratic efforts to strengthen federal offshore oil drilling oversight since before the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and introduced a successful bill to create a permanent National Landscape Conservation System at the Bureau of Land Management. He was a leading candidate for Secretary of the Interior when President Obama was elected, but the job eventually went to Ken Salazar--according to the Washington Post, President Obama made the decision in part because of Grijalva's stated preference for more environmental analysis before approving offshore drilling projects.
He has been a vocal opponent of Arizona's SB 1070 law that mandates police checks of citizenship documentation for anyone subjected to a legitimate law enforcement stop, detention or arrest as long as the officer does not consider race, color or national origin during the stop, detention or arrest. Shortly after the measure was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Grijalva called on legal, political, activist and business groups not to hold their conventions or conferences in the state, a position that he said quickly became misconstrued as a call for a general boycott of the state economy. In response, the Arizona Republican Party handed out bumper stickers reading "Boycott Grijalva, Not Arizona." After a federal judge stopped implementation of most of SB 1070, Grijalva withdrew the boycott, saying that he had reacted to it "very personally." In an interview regarding the situation, Grijalva said that "to all of a sudden have a law that separates me from the whole, I found very offensive and demeaning." 
He criticized the 2010 deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as "political symbolism" that he believed would not adequately address the issues of immigration and border security.
Grijalva has frequently called for a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and supports the wider implementation of the National Solidarity Program as a way to improve Afghans' economic and educational infrastructure. The group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave him an "A" rating for the 2007-2008 Congressional session.
Grijalva has a pro-choice voting record and voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. He was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which sought to place limits on taxpayer-funded abortions in the Affordable Health Care for America Act.
As co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Grijalva took a leading role in shaping CPC "alternative budgets"--budget bills offered by various groups and caucuses in Congress other than the official majority or minority party plan. In 2011 the CPC introduced what it called the People's Budget, which reached budget balance in 10 years according to an assessment by the Economic Policy Institute based on nonpartisan government data. The proposal was noted approvingly by some of the world's leading economists, including Jeffrey Sachs--who called it "a bolt of hope ... humane, responsible, and most of all sensible"--and Paul Krugman, who called it "genuinely courageous" for achieving budget balance "without dismantling the legacy of the New Deal.".
In 2012, again with Grijalva as co-chair, the Progressive Caucus introduced the Budget for All, which is similar to the People's Budget and includes several new features, including a novel proposal to institute a small personal wealth tax above $10 million in net worth phased in over a period of five years. The proposal received 78 votes, all from Democrats, when the House considered it on March 29, 2012.
On Feb 24, 2010, Grijalva wrote a letter signed by 18 other Representatives calling for an investigation of the BP Atlantis offshore drilling platform due to whistleblower allegations that it was operating without approved safety documents. He has called for Atlantis to be shut down. Since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on April 20, 2010, Grijalva has written letters to the Minerals Management Service and the Department of the Interior questioning current offshore drilling regulations and calling for stronger oversight of the oil industry.
Grijalva has gained prominence as an outspoken critic of what he calls lax federal oversight of the oil drilling industry, and in late 2010 launched an investigation of the White House's handling of the Horizon spill and its aftermath. That investigation revealed that scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and elsewhere in the federal government had voiced concerns about drafts of an official government report on the cause and scope of the spill, but were overruled because the report was meant as a "communications document".
In 2010, he introduced H.R. 5355 to eliminate the cap on oil company liability for the cost of environmental cleanups of spills.
Grijalva has sponsored numerous education bills during his time in Congress, including the Success in the Middle Act and the Graduation for All Act. Grijalva has long ties to the educational community from his time on the board of the Tucson Unified School District and his current position on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
As a member and chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Grijalva was widely regarded as a central figure behind the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, an ambitious County program for planned land-use and biodiversity conservation. He consistently supported endangered species and wilderness conservation on the Board of Supervisors and has continued to do so in Congress, introducing a bill in 2009 to make permanent the National Landscape Conservation System within the Bureau of Land Management. In 2008, Grijalva released a report called The Bush Administration's Assaults on Our National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, which accused the Bush administration of mismanaging public land and reducing barriers to commercial access.
The Trump administration proposed changes to "the way it enforces the Endangered Species Act" in 2018. Among other things, the proposal would facilitate delisting endangered species and "streamline interagency consultations". Grijalva, a ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee at the time, referred to the proposal as "a favor to industry". He posited that the administration "doesn't seem to know any other way to handle the environment" than "as an obstacle to industry profits".
In 2011, Grijalva (along with Democratic Representatives Barbara Lee, Mike Honda, and Lynn Woolsey) criticized Obama for failing to seek congressional authorization for military intervention in Libya, and was one of the 70 Democrats to vote to defund the Libyan war. In 2013, Grijalva opposed intervening in Syria.
On April 25, 2018, 57 members of the House of Representatives, including Grijalva, released a condemnation of Holocaust distortion in Poland and Ukraine. They criticized Poland's new Holocaust law, which would criminalize accusing Poland of complicity in the Holocaust, and Ukraine's 2015 memory laws glorifying Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and its leaders, such as Roman Shukhevych.
On February 24, 2015, as the ranking Democratic member of the United States House Committee on Natural Resources, Grijalva sent letters to seven institutions employing scientists who disagree with most other climate scientists on man-made climate change. The letters requested information on any funding from fossil fuel companies, as well as copies of all emails concerning the content of their congressional testimony. One of the recipients, University of Colorado Professor Roger Pielke Jr., responded that he had already testified to Grijalva's committee that he has received no funding from fossil fuel interests, and characterized the letter as part of a politically motivated "'witch-hunt'".
The heads of some mainstream scientific organizations criticized Grijalva's letters. Margaret Leinen, the president of the American Geophysical Union, posted in her AGU blog that in requiring information of only a few scientists, based only on their scientific views, Grivalja's action was contrary to academic freedom: "We view the singling out of any individual or group of scientists by any entity - governmental, corporate or other - based solely on their interpretations of scientific research as a threat to that freedom." The executive director of the American Meteorological Society wrote in a letter to Grvalja that his action "sends a chilling message to all academic researchers," and "impinges on the free pursuit of ideas that is central to the concept of academic freedom."
Grijalva supports increasing restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns and increasing enforcement of existing restrictions on gun purchase and possession. He was one of the 67 co-sponsors of the 2007 Assault Weapons Ban, HR 1022. Grijalva has an F rating from the NRA.
As co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, Grijalva was a prominent supporter of a public option throughout the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The House-approved Affordable Health Care for America Act included a public option -- however, the Senate version did not include a similar provision, and it was ultimately not a part of the final reform package. Grijalva has largely been supportive of the health care reform law since its passage and argued the Supreme Court should not overturn it during a segment with Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, who opposes the law, for the PBS NewsHour on March 28, 2012.
Grijalva has a long history in community health activism as an early supporter of Tucson's El Rio Community Health Center. He supports single-payer health care, but voted in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act because he felt it was a major improvement over the status quo.
Grijalva supports the DREAM Act and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act (CIR ASAP) and has recently come to greater prominence because of his role in promoting immigration reform. He has opposed the expansion of a border fence, citing cost effectiveness concerns and potential damage to sensitive wildlife habitats. The CIR ASAP bill includes his Border Security and Responsibility Act of 2009, which prioritizes remote cameras and other border monitoring techniques with a relatively slight environmental impact. The Immigrant Justice Advocacy Campaign gave him a 100 percent score for the first session of the 111th Congress. In previous years he voted against H.R. 4437 and the Secure Fence Act, and opposed Arizona Proposition 200 in 2004.
Grijalva has criticized armed civilian groups that patrol the Mexican border, accusing them of being "racist" and has reportedly used demeaning language to describe them. In return, some supporters of the armed patrols have called him "MEChA boy" in retaliation.
On July 26, 2019 Grijalva, whose district runs along the U.S.-Mexico border, called Trump's emergency declaration a "pathetic attempt to circumvent Congress."
Grijalva is a strong supporter of sovereignty and government-to-government relationships. In April 2010 he introduced the RESPECT Act, which mandates that federal agencies consult with Native tribes before taking a variety of major actions. The bill would codify a Clinton-era executive order that has never had the force of law.
After the passage in April 2010 of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 law, which he saw as opening the door to racial profiling and granting traditionally federal immigration enforcement powers to local authorities, Grijalva suggested that civic, religious, labor, Latino, and other like-minded organizations refrain from using Arizona as a convention site until the law was repealed. His opposition to SB 1070, as well as his suggestion of a boycott of Arizona, was widely viewed as the reason for multiple subsequent death threats against him and his staff, which led to several office closures in the spring of 2010.
When Judge Susan Bolton of the Arizona District Court enjoined major parts of the law  in July 2010, Grijalva ended his call for economic sanctions. As he told the Arizona Daily Star, the largest paper in Tucson:
After this ruling, everybody has some responsibility to pause, and that includes me," said Grijalva, a Tucson Democrat. "The issue of economic sanctions is a moot point now and I will encourage national organizations I'm in contact with to come and lend a hand - not just economically, but to help us begin to educate people about how we need to fix this broken system.
He subsequently said that his economic strategy was not as effective as he hoped in changing other state lawmakers' minds, and that he would focus on legal remedies in the future. The issue became a focal point in the 2010 election, in which Grijalva ultimately defeated Republican challenger Ruth McClung by less than 10,000 votes.
Concerned about allegations of voting irregularities purportedly leading to disenfranchisement, in 2004 Grijalva joined Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and several other House Democrats in requesting that the United Nations observe and certify elections in the United States.
After the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, Grijalva called it a consequence of the violent rhetoric that had been used by Tea Party members. Grijalva singled out Sarah Palin's rhetoric as "contributing to this toxic climate" and stated that she needs to monitor her words and actions.
After the 2000 United States Census, Arizona gained two Congressional districts. The 2nd district, which had long been represented by Democrat Mo Udall, was renumbered as the 7th district. Ed Pastor, a Phoenix Democrat who had succeeded Udall in 1991, had his home drawn into the newly created 4th district and opted to run for election there, making the 7th district an open seat. Grijalva won a crowded seven-way Democratic primary, which was tantamount to election in this heavily Democratic, majority-Hispanic district. Before the 2010 election, he was reelected three times with no substantial Republican opposition. In 2008, he defeated Republican challenger Joseph Sweeney.
During the 2010 midterms, Grijalva faced his toughest re-election campaign yet, against Republican Ruth McClung. It was reported that although Grijalva had decades of experience and McClung had none, and although there were twice as many Democrats in the district as there were Republicans, the two candidates were neck-and-neck in the polls. The main reason was Grijalva's call for a boycott of Arizona in response to the state's new immigration law, SB 1070. Grijalva won 50%-44% -- his closest margin of victory since being elected, and the first close election in what is now the 7th since 1978, when Udall was held to only 52 percent of the vote.
Grijalva's district was renumbered as the 3rd district after the 2010 census, and made somewhat more Democratic than its predecessor even though it lost some of its share of Tucson to the 2nd district (the reconfigured 8th). Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Grijalva broke from many of his colleagues and announced his support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on 9 October 2015 at a rally for Sanders in Tucson, Arizona.
|Arizona's 7th Congressional District Democratic Primary Election, 2002|
|Democratic||Raúl M. Grijalva||14,835||40.85|
|Democratic||Luis Armando Gonzales||2,105||5.80|
|Arizona's 3rd Congressional District Democratic Primary Election, 2012|
|Democratic||Raúl Grijalva (Incumbent)||24,044||65.63|
|Year||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|2002||61,256||59.00%||Ross Hieb||38,474||37.06%||John L. Nemeth||Libertarian||4,088||3.94%|
|2004||Raúl M. Grijalva (Incumbent)||108,868||62.06%||59,066||33.67%||Dave Kaplan||Libertarian||7,503||4.28%|
|2006||80,354||61.09%||Ron Drake||46,498||35.35%||Joe Michael Cobb||Libertarian||4,673||3.55%|
|2008||124,304||63.26%||Joseph Sweeney||64,425||32.79%||Raymond Patrick Petrulsky||Libertarian||7,755||3.95%|
|2010||79,935||50.23%||Ruth McClung||70,385||44.23%||Harley Meyer||Independent||4,506||2.83%||George Keane||Libertarian||4,318||2.71%|
|2012||98,468||58.36%||Gabriela Saucedo Mercer||62,663||37.14%||Bianca Guerra||Libertarian||7,567||4.48%|
|2014||58,192||55.7%||Gabriela Saucedo Mercer||46,185||44.3%|
Grijalva and his wife Ramona have three daughters, including Tucson Unified School District board member Adelita Grijalva who was reelected to the post in 2018. Grijalva identifies as Catholic. On August 1, 2020, he tested positive for COVID-19.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|New constituency|| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 7th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 3rd congressional district
| Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee|
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
Served alongside: Lynn Woolsey, Keith Ellison, Mark Pocan
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority