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Conversation with the Honorable Raúl Grijalva, U.S. House of Representative (D-AZ-03) and Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee

Congreso 2022


Betty Villegas, Latinos in Heritage Conservation


Raúl Grijalva Third Congressional District of Arizona and Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee

Sara Bronin, AIA, Cornell University School of Law

Betty Villegas a third-generation native of Tucson, Arizona. She retired from the Pima County government as the Housing Program Manager for Community Development and Neighborhood Conservation in 2016. In early 2020, after the unexpected death of Supervisor Richard Elias, she was appointed to serve out the remaining term as the Interim Pima County Board of Supervisors. She then returned to the workforce and is currently the City of South Tucson Housing Director. Betty stays connected to the community's needs, listening and taking action-driven solutions to address inequities. She is a founding member of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, Co-Director of Arizona's first Mexican American Heritage and History Museum, and Vice President of Los Descendientes de Tucson, a group founded by descendants of Tucson's first settlers and pioneers. Betty has served on several boards and commissions that support and promote equity and equality, healthy living, a sense of place, and social justice.

Sara Bronin is a Mexican-American architect, attorney, professor, and policymaker whose interdisciplinary work focuses on how law and policy can foster more equitable, sustainable, well-designed, and connected places. She is a Professor of the Cornell College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, an Associated Faculty Member of the Cornell Law School, and a Faculty Fellow of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. Among other visiting positions, Bronin has taught at the Yale School of Architecture and the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Kleinman Center on Energy Policy and the Sorbonne. Among other scholarly service, Bronin is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a past chair of the State & Local Government Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

Raúl Grijalva began his career in public service as a community organizer in Tucson. Four decades later, he continues to be an advocate for those in need and a voice for the constituents of his home community. From 1974 to 1986, Raúl served on the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, including six years as Chairman. In 1988, he was elected to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, where he served for the next 15 years, chairing the Board for two of those years. Raúl resigned his seat on the Board of Supervisors in 2002 to seek office in Arizona’s newly created Seventh Congressional District. Despite a nine-candidate primary and the challenge of being outspent three-to-one by his closest competitor, Raúl was elected with a 20-point victory, thanks to a diverse coalition of supporters that led the largest volunteer-driven election effort in Arizona. Throughout his career, Raúl has always fought for underrepresented voices. The passions that drove him as a School Board member to fight for and succeed at implementing bilingual education in Arizona are the same passions that motivated him to help pass the first bond package containing a $10 million commitment to reinvest in older, poorer neighborhoods while he was a County Supervisor. Likewise, they are what drive him today as he fights to reform our broken immigration system, ensure livable wages for American workers, and create vital land protections to safeguard our nation’s natural treasures for the next generation. In 2018, Raúl became Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. He also serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce and is the Chairman Emeritus of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, as well as a long-standing member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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