This week the U.S. Senate welcomed back Jon Kyl, a day after Gov. Doug Ducey appointed the Republican to the seat vacated by the late Sen. John McCain. Kyl previously served three terms before retiring in 2012 and said he will stay through the current congressional session, which ends on Jan. 3. Until then, Republicans will likely count on him for votes on key issues. Arizona 360 got analysis from Arizona Capitol Times editor Luige del Puerto.
"In Arizona, there are very few people that can get into this role right away and do the job that is expected of this position. And quite frankly Jon Kyl is at the very top of that list," del Puerto said.
With the focus on November's general election, speculation continues to build on whether crucial congressional seats will flip from red to blue. Understandably, we received very different responses from the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties in Pima County, Jo Holt and David Eppihimer.
"I have too many people walking into my headquarters every day and calling us on the phone … saying: 'I haven't been active for a long time. I need to get active. I need to help.' And they're being motivated by what's happening at the federal level," Holt said.
"And we have Democrats walk into our office every day changing their registration because they say their party has gone too far left," Eppihimer said.
In November, voters will decide the future of Arizona's energy sources. A recent ruling from the Arizona Supreme Court cleared the way for Proposition 127 to appear on the ballot, which would require the state's utilities get half of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. Vanessa Barchfield spoke to proponents and opponents of the initiative.
This month, dozens of people have arrived at the ports of entry in Nogales to request asylum. Customs and Border Protection says the agency's current policy is to keep families together while at the ports "to the extent that is operationally feasible." Lorraine Rivera met asylum seekers in Nogales, Sonora, waiting to be processed.
As NAFTA talks between the United States and its neighbors ramp up, those in Southern Arizona whose livelihoods depend on trade are watching closely. That includes Scott Vandervoet, owner of Vandervoet & Associates and chairman of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas. Member companies import fruit and produce from Mexico and distribute those goods across the U.S. and Canada. Vandervoet discussed what he would like federal negotiators to know is on the line for companies like his.
"This is a very vibrant economy and a vibrant community that's dependent on U.S.-Mexico trade. And hampering that trade would have detrimental effects to our area," Vandervoet said. "You can't put a price on it. It is our entire livelihood and our future."