Arizona (; ) (; O'odham: Al onak) is a state of the United States, located in the southwestern region of the country. Arizona is also part of the Western United States and of the Mountain West states. Arizona is the sixth most extensive and the 16th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. The second largest city is Tucson, followed in population by eight cities of the Phoenix metropolitan area: Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe, Peoria, and Surprise.
Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, and it achieved statehood on February 14, 1912. Arizona is noted for its desert climate in its southern half, where there are very hot summers and quite mild winters. The northern half of Arizona also features forests of pine, Douglas fir, and spruce trees, a very large, high plateau (the Colorado Plateau) and some mountain ranges such as the San Francisco Mountains as well as large, deep canyons, where there is much more moderate weather for three seasons of the year, plus significant snowfalls. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff and Alpine.
Arizona is one of the Four Corners states. Arizona has borders with New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and Mexico, and it has one point in common with the southwestern corner of Colorado. Arizona has a -long international border with the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.
Arizona is the most populous landlocked state of the United States, ranking slightly ahead of Tennessee as of 2011. In addition to the Grand Canyon National Park, several national forests, national parks, and national monuments are located in Arizona. About one-quarter of Arizona is federal land that serves as the home of the Navajo Nation; the Hopi tribe; the Tohono O'odham; the Apache tribe; the Yaqui peoples; and various Yuman tribes, such as the Yavapai people, the Quechan people, and the Hualapai people.
The general consensus is that the name of the state comes from an earlier Spanish name, Arizonac, derived from the O'odham name , meaning small spring , which initially applied only to an area near the Mexican silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora. This is supported by the fact that that area is still known as in the O'odham language. Other possible origins that have been proposed are the Spanish phrase rida zona ( arid zone ), shortened to Arizona or the Basque phrase aritz ona ( the good oak ).
Saguaro at Sunset from Saguaro National Park Rincon District east of Tucson, Arizona
- See also lists of counties, islands, rivers, lakes, state parks, national parks, and national forests.
Arizona is located in the Southwestern United States as one of the Four Corners states. Arizona is the sixth largest state in area, after New Mexico and before Nevada. Of the state's , approximately 15% is privately owned. The remaining area is public forest and park land, state trust land and Native American reservations.
Arizona is best known for its desert landscape, which is rich in xerophyte plants such as the cactus. It is also known for its climate, which presents exceptionally hot summers and mild winters. Less well known is the pine-covered high country of the Colorado Plateau in the north-central portion of the state, which contrasts with the desert Basin and Range region in the southern portions of the state (see Arizona Mountains forests).
View from Mogollon Rim
Like other states of the Southwest, Arizona has an abundance of topographical characteristics in addition to its desert climate. Mountains and plateaus are found in more than half of the state. Despite the state's aridity, 27% of Arizona is forest, a percentage comparable to modern-day France or Germany. The largest stand in the world of Ponderosa pine trees is contained in Arizona.
The Mogollon Rim, a escarpment, cuts across the central section of the state and marks the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, where the state experienced its second worst forest fire ever in 2002.
Arizona belongs firmly within the Basin and Range region of North America. The region was shaped by prehistoric volcanism, followed by the cooling-off and related subsidence. Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a colorful, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado River, in northern Arizona. The canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is largely contained in the Grand Canyon National Park one of the first national parks in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of designating the Grand Canyon area, visiting on numerous occasions to hunt mountain lion and enjoy the scenery.
The canyon was created by the Colorado River cutting a channel over millions of years, and is about long, ranges in width from and attains a depth of more than . Nearly 2 billion years of the Earth's history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through layer after layer of sediment as the Colorado Plateaus have uplifted.
Arizona is home to one of the most well-preserved meteorite impact sites in the world. The Barringer Meteorite Crater (better known simply as Meteor Crater ) is a gigantic hole in the middle of the high plains of the Colorado Plateau, about west of Winslow. A rim of smashed and jumbled boulders, some of them the size of small houses, rises above the level of the surrounding plain. The crater itself is nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, and deep.
Arizona is one of two states that does not observe Daylight Saving Time, except in the Navajo Nation, located in the northeastern region of the state. The other state is Hawaii.
The Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River Due to its large area and variations in elevation the state has a wide variety of localized climate conditions. In the lower elevations, the climate is primarily desert, with mild winters and hot summers. Typically, from late fall to early spring, the weather is mild, averaging a minimum of . November through February are the coldest months with temperatures typically ranging from 40 75 F (4 24 C), although occasional frosts are not uncommon. About midway through February, the temperatures start to rise again with warm days, and cool breezy nights. The summer months of June through September bring a dry heat ranging from 90 128 F (32 53 C), with occasional high temperatures exceeding having been observed in the desert area. Arizona s all time record high is recorded at Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994, and July 5, 2007; the all time record low of was recorded at Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.
Due to the primarily dry climate, large temperature swings often occur between day and night in less developed areas of the desert. The swings can be as large as () in the summer months. In the state s urban centers, the effects of local warming result in much higher measured nighttime lows than in the recent past.
Arizona has an average annual rainfall of , which comes during two rainy seasons, with cold fronts coming from the Pacific Ocean during the winter and a monsoon in the summer. The monsoon season occurs towards the end of summer. In July or August, the dewpoint rises dramatically for a brief period. During this time, the air contains large amounts of water vapor. Dewpoints as high as 81 F (27 C) have been recorded during the Phoenix monsoon season. This hot moisture brings lightning, thunderstorms, wind, and torrential, if usually brief, downpours. These downpours often cause flash floods, which can turn deadly. In an attempt to deter drivers from crossing flooding streams, the Arizona Legislature enacted the Stupid Motorist Law. It is rare for tornadoes and hurricanes to occur in Arizona, but there are records of both occurring.
The northern third of Arizona is a plateau at significantly higher altitudes than the lower desert, and has an appreciably cooler climate, with cold winters and mild summers. Extremely cold temperatures are not unknown; cold air systems from the northern states and Canada occasionally push into the state, bringing temperatures below to the northern parts of the state.
Indicative of the variation in climate, Arizona is the state which has both the metropolitan area with the most days over (Phoenix), and the metropolitan area in the lower 48 states with the most days with a low temperature below freezing (Flagstaff).
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon Marcos de Niza, a Spanish Franciscan, explored parts of the area in 1539 and met some of its original native inhabitants, probably the Sobaipuri. The expedition of Spanish explorer Coronado entered the area in 1540 1542 during its search for C bola. Father Kino was the next European in the region. A member of the Society of Jesus, he led the development of a chain of missions and converted many of the Indians to Christianity in the Pimer a Alta (now southern Arizona and northern Sonora) in the 1690s and early 18th century. Spain founded presidios ( fortified towns ) at Tubac in 1752 and Tucson in 1775. When Mexico achieved its independence from Spain in 1821, what is now Arizona became part of the Territory of Nueva California, also known as Alta California. In the Mexican American War (1847), the U.S. occupied Mexico City and pursued its claim to much of northern Mexico, including what later became Arizona. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) specified that the sum of US$15 million in compensation (equivalent to about $ in 2012) be paid to the Republic of Mexico. In 1853, the land below the Gila River was acquired from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase. Arizona was administered as part of the Territory of New Mexico until southern New Mexico seceded from the Union as the Confederate Territory of Arizona on March 16, 1861. Arizona was recognized as a Confederate Territory by presidential proclamation of Jefferson Davis on February 14, 1862. This is the first official use of the name. Arizona supported the Confederate cause with men, horses, and supplies. Formed in 1862 Arizona Scout Companies fought with the Confederate Army throughout the war. Arizona has the farthest recorded Western engagement of the war, the Battle of Picacho Pass. A new Arizona Territory, consisting of the western half of New Mexico Territory was declared in Washington, D.C., on February 24, 1863. The new boundaries would later form the basis of the state.
Although names, including Gadsonia , Pimeria , Montezuma and Arizuma had been considered for the territory, when President Lincoln signed the final bill, it read Arizona , and the name became permanent. (Montezuma was not the Aztec Emperor, but the sacred name of a divine hero to the Pima people of the Gila River Valley, and was probably considered and rejected for its sentimental value before the name Arizona was settled upon.)
Brigham Young sent Mormons to Arizona in the mid-to-late 19th century. They founded Mesa, Snowflake, Heber, Safford and other towns. They also settled in the Phoenix Valley (or Valley of the Sun ), Tempe, Prescott, and other areas. The Mormons settled what became northern Arizona and northern New Mexico, but these areas were located in a part of the former New Mexico Territory. Depression]]-era migrant workers, Pinal County, 1937 During the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1920, a few battles were fought in the Mexican towns just across the border from Arizonan border settlements. Throughout the revolution, Arizonans were enlisting in one of the several armies fighting in Mexico. The Battle of Ambos Nogales in 1918, other than Pancho Villa s 1916 Columbus Raid in New Mexico, was the only significant engagement on U.S. soil between American and Mexican forces. The battle resulted in an American victory. After U.S. soldiers were fired on by Mexican federal troops, the American garrison then launched an assault into Nogales, Mexico. The Mexicans eventually surrendered after both sides sustained heavy casualties. A few months earlier, just west of Nogales, an Indian War battle occurred, thus being the last engagement in the American Indian Wars which lasted from 1775 to 1918. The participants in the fight were U.S. soldiers stationed on the border and Yaqui Indians who were using Arizona as a base to raid the nearby Mexican settlements, as part of their wars against Mexico.
Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912. This resulted in the end to the territorial colonization of Continental North America. Arizona was the 48th state admitted to the U.S. and the last of the contiguous states to be admitted. Eleanor Roosevelt at the Gila River relocation center, April 23, 1943 Cotton farming and copper mining, two of Arizona s most important statewide industries, suffered heavily during the Great Depression, but it was during the 1920s and 1930s that tourism began to be the important Arizonan industry it is today. Dude ranches, such as the K L Bar and Remuda in Wickenburg, along with the Flying V and Tanque Verde in Tucson, gave tourists the chance to experience the flavor and life of the old West . Several upscale hotels and resorts opened during this period, some of which are still top tourist draws to this day; they include the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in central Phoenix (opened 1929) and the Wigwam Resort on the west side of the Phoenix area (opened 1936).
Arizona was the site of German and Italian POW camps during World War II and Japanese-American internment camps. The camps were abolished after World War II. The Phoenix area site was purchased after the war by the Maytag family (of major home appliance fame), and is currently the site of the Phoenix Zoo. A Japanese-American internment camp was located on Mount Lemmon, just outside of the state s southeastern city of Tucson. Another POW camp was located near the Gila River in eastern Yuma County. Because of wartime fears of Japanese invasion of the west coast, all Japanese-American residents in western Arizona were required to reside in the war camps.
Arizona was also home to the Phoenix Indian School, one of several federal institutions designed to forcibly assimilate Native American children into Anglo-American culture. Children were often enrolled into these schools against the wishes of their parents and families. Attempts to suppress native identities included forcing the children to cut their hair and take on English names.
Arizona s population grew tremendously after World War II, in part because of the development of air conditioning, which made the intense summers more comfortable. According to the Arizona Blue Book (published by the Arizona Secretary of State s office each year), the state population in 1910 was 294,353. By 1970, it was 1,752,122. The percentage growth each decade averaged about 20% in the earlier decades and about 60% each decade thereafter.
The 1960s saw the establishment of retirement communities, special age-restricted subdivisions catering exclusively to the needs of senior citizens who wanted to escape the harsh winters of the Midwest and the Northeast. Sun City, established by developer Del Webb and opened in 1960, was one of the first such communities. Green Valley, south of Tucson, was another such community and was designed to be a retirement subdivision for Arizona s teachers. Many senior citizens arrive in Arizona each winter and stay only during the winter months; they are referred to as snowbirds.
In March 2000, Arizona was the site of the first legally binding election to nominate a candidate for public office ever held over the internet. In the 2000 Arizona Democratic Primary, under worldwide attention, Al Gore defeated Bill Bradley, and voter turnout increased more than 500% over the 1996 primary.
Three ships named USS Arizona have been christened in honor of the state, although only USS Arizona (BB-39) was so named after statehood was achieved.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Arizona was 6,482,505 on July 1, 2011, a 1.42% increase since the 2010 United States Census.
Arizona remained sparsely settled for most of the 19th century. The 1860 census reported the population of Arizona County to be 6,482, of whom 4,040 were listed as Indians , 21 as free colored and 2,421 as white . In 1980, the Census Bureau reported Arizona's population as 16.2% Hispanic, 5.6% Native American, and 74.5% non-Hispanic white. As of 2006, Arizona had an estimated population of 6,166,318. Arizona s continued population growth puts an enormous stress on the state s water supply.
View of suburban development in the Phoenix metropolitan area The population of metropolitan Phoenix increased by 45.3% from 1991 through 2001, helping to make Arizona the second fastest growing state in the U.S. in the 1990s (the fastest was Nevada). As of January 2012, the population of the Phoenix area is estimated to be over 4.3 million.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Arizona had a population of 6,392,017. In terms of race and ethnicity, the state was 73.0% White (57.8% Non-Hispanic White Alone), 4.1% Black or African American, 4.6% Native American and Alaska Native, 2.8% Asian, 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 11.9% from Some Other Race, and 3.4% from Two or More Races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 29.6% of the state s population.
Arizona s five largest ancestry groups, as of 2009, were:
- Mexican (27.4%);
- Irish (10.8%);
- English (10.1%);
- Italian (4.6%).
Arizona is home to the largest number of speakers of Native American languages in the 48 contiguous states, with over 85,000 individuals speaking Navajo, and 10,403 persons reporting Apache as the language spoken at home in 2005. Arizona s Apache County has the highest concentration of speakers of Native American Indian languages in the United States.
In 2010, illegal immigrants constituted an estimated 7.9% of the population. This was the second highest percentage of any state in the U.S.
San Xavier del Bac]], founded in 1700 As of the year 2000, the RCMS reported that the three largest denominational groups in Arizona were Roman Catholic, Evangelical Protestant and Mainline Protestant. The Roman Catholic Church has the highest number of adherents in Arizona (at 974,883), followed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 251,974 members reported and the Southern Baptist Convention, reporting 138,516 adherents. The religious body with the largest number of congregations is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (with 805 congregations) followed by the Southern Baptist Convention (with 323 congregations).
According to a 2007 survey conducted by The Pew Forum, the religious affiliation of the people of Arizona were:
- Mainline 15%
- Evangelical 23%
- Other Protestant 2%
- Roman Catholic 25%
- Unaffiliated 22%
- LDS (Mormon) 4%
- Jehovah Witness 1%
- Jewish 1%
- Other Religions 4%
- Don't Know/Refused 2%
A November 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 44% of Arizona voters supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 45% opposed it and 12% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 72% of respondents supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 40% supporting same-sex marriage, 32% supporting civil unions, 27% opposing all legal recognition and 1% not sure.
The 2011 total gross state product was $259 billion. This figure gives Arizona a larger economy than such countries as Ireland, Finland, and New Zealand. The composition of the state's economy is moderately diverse; although health care, transportation and the government remain the largest sectors. The hub of economic output remains in the Phoenix metropolitan area accounting for approximately 74% of the states domestic product. Arizona s projected $1.5 billion deficit for fiscal year 2012, one of the largest in the country, behind such states as Texas, California, Michigan, and Florida, to name a few. Scottsdale]]. The climate and imagery are two factors behind Arizona s tourism industry. The state s per capita income is $40,828, ranking 39th in the U.S. The state had a median household income of US$50,448, making it 22nd in the country and just below the U.S. national median. Early in its history, Arizona s economy relied on the five C s : copper (see Copper mining in Arizona), cotton, cattle, citrus, and climate (tourism). At one point, Arizona was the largest producer of cotton in the country. Copper is still extensively mined from many expansive open-pit and underground mines, accounting for two-thirds of the nation s output.
The state government is Arizona s largest employer, while Wal-Mart is the state s largest private employer, with 17,343 employees (2008). As of June 2010, the state s unemployment rate was 9.6%.
Nearly 70 percent of the land in Arizona is owned by the U.S. government, which leases a portion of the public domain to ranchers or miners.
According to the Arizona Republic, the largest private employers in the state as of 2010 were:
||Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
||Wells Fargo & Co.
||Bank of America Corp.
||Apollo Group Inc.
||Defense (missile manufacturing)
||JP Morgan Chase & Co.
||Honeywell International Inc.
||Catholic Healthcare West
||Home Depot Inc.
||Retail home improvement
||Safeway Stores Inc.
||American Express Co.
||Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.
||Pinnacle West Capital Corp.
||Circle K Corp.
||Defense, information systems and technology
||Carondelet Health Network
||CVS Caremark Corp.
||Pharmaceutical services (including retail drugstores)
||Salt River Project
||Membership warehouse club/discount retailer
||Abrazo Health Care
||Grocery stores, retail drugstores
||Courier, logistics services
||Southwest Airlines Co.
||Resorts and hotels
||United Parcel Service
||John C. Lincoln Health Network
||Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
||Cox Communications Inc.
||Mobile network operator
||Cigna HealthCare of AZ
||Grand Canyon University
||Starbucks Coffee Co.
||Go Daddy Group Inc.
||Domain name registry/Web hosting service
In southern Arizona, the top ten largest public employers, as of 2011, were:
||University of Arizona
||State of Arizona
||Davis Monthan Air Force Base
||Tucson Unified School District
||U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca
||City of Tucson
||Tohono O'odham Nation
||United States Border Patrol
Arizona collects personal income taxes in five brackets: 2.87%, 3.20%, 3.74%, 4.72% and 5.04%. The state transaction privilege tax is 6.6%; however, county and municipal sales taxes generally add an additional 2%.
The state rate on transient lodging (hotel/motel) is 7.27%. The state of Arizona does not levy a state tax on food for home consumption or on drugs prescribed by a licensed physician or dentist. However, some cities in Arizona, including Phoenix at 2%, do levy a tax on food for home consumption.
All fifteen Arizona counties levy a tax. Incorporated municipalities also levy transaction privilege taxes which, with the exception of their hotel/motel tax, are generally in the range of 1-to-3%. These added assessments could push the combined sales tax rate to as high as 10.7%.
I-10]] from New Mexico
20px Interstate 8 | 20px Interstate 10 | 20px Interstate 15 | 20px Interstate 17 | 20px Interstate 19 | 20px Interstate 40
20px U.S. Route 60 | 20px U.S. Route 64 | 20px U.S. Route 70 | 20px U.S. Route 89 | 20px U.S. Route 66
20px U.S. Route 91 | 20px U.S. Route 93 | 20px U.S. Route 95 | 25px U.S. Route 160 | 25px U.S. Route 163
25px U.S. Route 180 | 25px U.S. Route 191 | 25px U.S. Route 466 | 25px U.S. Route 491
Main interstate routes include Interstate 17, and Interstate 19 running north-south, Interstate 40, Interstate 8, and Interstate 10 running east-west, and a short stretch of Interstate 15 running northeast/southwest through the extreme northwestern corner of the state. In addition, the various urban areas are served by complex networks of state routes and highways, such as the Loop 101, which is part of Phoenix s vast freeway system.
Public transportation, Amtrak, and intercity bus
The Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas are served by public bus transit systems. Yuma and Flagstaff also have public bus systems. Greyhound Lines serves Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma, and several smaller communities statewide.
A light rail system, called Valley Metro Rail, has recently been completed in Phoenix; it connects Central Phoenix with the nearby cities of Mesa and Tempe. The system officially opened for service in December 2008.
In May 2006, voters in Tucson approved a Regional Transportation Plan (a comprehensive bus transit/streetcar/roadway improvement program), and its funding via a new half-cent sales tax increment. The centerpiece of the plan is a light rail streetcar system (possibly similar to the Portland Streetcar in Oregon) that will travel through the downtown area, connecting the main University of Arizona campus with the Rio Nuevo master plan area on the western edge of downtown.
Amtrak Southwest Chief route serves Northern AZ, stopping at Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams and Kingman. The Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited routes serve South-Central Arizona, stopping at Tucson, Maricopa, Yuma and Benson. Phoenix's Amtrak service was canceled in 1996, and now an Amtrak bus runs between Phoenix and the station in Maricopa.
Airports with regularly scheduled commercial flights include: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (IATA: PHX, ICAO: KPHX) in Phoenix (the largest airport and the major international airport in the state); Tucson International Airport (IATA: TUS, ICAO: KTUS) in Tucson; Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IATA: AZA, ICAO: KIWA) in Mesa; Yuma International Airport (IATA: NYL, ICAO: KNYL) in Yuma; Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC) in Prescott; Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (IATA: FLG, ICAO: KFLG) in Flagstaff, and Grand Canyon National Park Airport (IATA: GCN, ICAO: KGCN, FAA: GCN), a small, but busy, single-runway facility providing tourist flights, mostly from Las Vegas. Phoenix Sky Harbor is currently 7th busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft movements, and 17th for passenger traffic.
Other significant airports without regularly scheduled commercial flights include Scottsdale Municipal Airport (IATA: SCF, ICAO: KSDL) in Scottsdale, and Deer Valley Airport (IATA: DVT, ICAO: KDVT, FAA: DVT) home to two flight training academies and the Nation's busiest general aviation airport.
Law and government
The state capital of Arizona is Phoenix. The original Capitol building, with its distinctive copper dome, was dedicated in 1901 (construction was completed for $136,000 in 1900), when the area was still a territory. Phoenix became the official state capital with Arizona's admission to the union in 1912.
The House of Representatives and Senate buildings were dedicated in 1960, and an Executive Office Building was dedicated in 1974 (the ninth floor of this building is where the Office of the Governor is located). The original Capitol building was converted into a museum.
The Capitol complex is fronted and highlighted by the richly landscaped Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, named after Wesley Bolin, a governor who died in office in the 1970s. Numerous monuments and memorials are on the site, including the anchor and signal mast from the USS Arizona (one of the U.S. Navy ships sunk in Pearl Harbor), a granite version of the Ten Commandments, and the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
State legislative branch
The Arizona Legislature is bicameral (like the legislature of every other state except Nebraska) and consists of a thirty-member Senate and a 60-member House of Representatives. Each of the thirty legislative districts has one senator and two representatives. Legislators are elected for two-year terms.
Each Legislature covers a two-year period. The first session following the general election is known as the first regular session, and the session convening in the second year is known as the second regular session. Each regular session begins on the second Monday in January and adjourns sine die (terminates for the year) no later than Saturday of the week in which the 100th day from the beginning of the regular session falls. The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, by rule, may extend the session up to seven additional days. Thereafter, the session can only be extended by a majority vote of members present of each house.
The current majority party is the Republican Party, which has held power in both houses since 1993.
Arizona state senators and representatives are elected for two year terms and are limited to four consecutive terms in a chamber, though there is no limit on the total number of terms. When a lawmaker is term-limited from office, it is not uncommon for him or her to run for election in the other chamber.
The fiscal year 2006 07 general fund budget, approved by the Arizona Legislature in June 2006, is slightly less than $10 billion. Besides the money spent on state agencies, it also includes more than $500 million in income- and property tax cuts, pay raises for government employees, and additional funding for the K 12 education system.
State executive branch
|State of Arizona Elected Officials
||Jan Brewer (R)
|Secretary of State
||Ken Bennett (R)
||Tom Horne (R)
||Doug Ducey (R)
|Superintendent of Public Instruction
||John Huppenthal (R)
|State Mine Inspector
||Joe Hart (R)
- Gary Pierce (R)
- Brenda Burns (R)
- Bob Stump (R)
- Sandra D. Kennedy (D)
- Paul Newman. (D)
Arizona s executive branch is headed by a governor, who is elected to a four-year term. The governor may serve any number of terms, though no more than two in a row. Arizona is one of the few states that does not maintain a governor s mansion. During office the governors reside within their private residence, and all executive offices are housed in the executive tower at the state capitol. The current governor of Arizona is Jan Brewer (R). She assumed office after Janet Napolitano had her nomination by Barack Obama for Secretary of Homeland Security confirmed by the United States Senate. Arizona has had four female governors including the current Governor Jan Brewer, more than any other state.
Other elected executive officials include the Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Mine Inspector and a five member Corporation Commission. All elected officials hold a term of four years, and are limited to two consecutive terms (except the office of the state mine inspector, which is exempt from term limits).
Arizona is one of seven states that do not have a specified lieutenant governor. The secretary of state is the first in line to succeed the governor in the event of death, disability, resignation, or removal from office. The line of succession also includes the attorney general, state treasurer and superintendent of public instruction. Since 1977, four secretaries of state and one attorney general have risen to Arizona's governorship through these means.
State judicial branch
The Arizona Supreme Court is the highest court in Arizona. The court currently consists of one chief justice, a vice chief justice, and three associate justices. Justices are appointed by the governor from a list recommended by a bi-partisian commission, and are re-elected after the initial two years following their appointment. Subsequent re-elections occur every six years. The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction in death penalty cases, but almost all other appellate cases go through the Arizona Court of Appeals beforehand. The court has original jurisdiction in a few other circumstances, as outlined in the state constitution. The court may also declare laws unconstitutional, but only while seated en banc. The court meets in the Arizona Supreme Court Building at the capitol complex (at the southern end of Wesley Bolin Plaza).
The Arizona Court of Appeals, further divided into two divisions, is the intermediate court in the state. Division One is based in Phoenix, consists of sixteen judges, and has jurisdiction in the Western and Northern regions of the state, along with the greater Phoenix area. Division Two is based in Tucson, consists of six judges, and has jurisdiction over the Southern regions of the state, including the Tucson area. Judges are selected in a method similar to the one used for state supreme court justices.
Each county of Arizona has a superior court, the size and organization of which are varied and generally depend on the size of the particular county.
Arizona is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. As of 1983 there were 15 counties in the state, ranging in size from to .
||Percent of total
||Area (sq. mi.)
||Percent of total
Arizona's two United States Senators are John McCain (R), the 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee, and Jon Kyl (R).
Arizona's representatives in the United States House of Representatives are Paul A. Gosar (R-1), Trent Franks (R-2), Ben Quayle (R-3), Ed Pastor (D-4), David Schweikert (R-5), Jeff Flake (R-6), and Raul Grijalva (D-7). Arizona gained a ninth seat in the House of Representatives due to redistricting based on Census 2010.
Presidential elections results
See also: Elections in Arizona, Political party strength in Arizona
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment 
||Number of Voters
From statehood through the late 1940s, Arizona was primarily dominated by the Democratic Party. During this time period, the Democratic candidate for the presidency carried the state each election, with the only exceptions being the elections of 1920, 1924 and 1928 all three of which were national Republican landslides.
Since the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, however, the state has voted consistently Republican in national politics, with the Republican candidate winning it in most presidential elections. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan won Arizona by particularly large margins. The sole exception to this trend was the victory of Democrat Bill Clinton in 1996. Clinton also came within about a percentage point of gaining Arizona's electoral votes in 1992. However, the closest loss by a Democrat was by Lyndon Johnson in 1964, who lost the state by slightly over 5,000 votes to Senator Barry Goldwater, an Arizona native. This was also the most closely contested state in that year's presidential election.
In recent years, the Republican Party has also dominated Arizona politics in general. The fast-growing Phoenix and Tucson suburbs became increasingly friendly to Republicans from the 1950s onward. During this time, many "Pinto Democrats," or conservative Democrats from rural areas, became increasingly willing to support Republicans at the state and national level. While the state normally supports Republicans at the federal level, Democrats are often competitive in statewide elections, as in 2006, when Janet Napolitano was handily reelected the state's governor.
On March 4, 2008, John McCain effectively clinched the Republican nomination for 2008, becoming the first presidential nominee from the state since Barry Goldwater in 1964.
Arizona politics are dominated by a longstanding rivalry between its two largest counties, Maricopa County and Pima County--home to Phoenix and Tucson, respectively. The two counties have almost 75 percent of the state's population and cast almost 80 percent of the state's vote. They also elect a substantial majority of the state legislature.
Maricopa County is home to almost 60 percent of the state's population, and most of the state's elected officials live there. It has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1948. This includes the 1964 run of native son Barry Goldwater; he would not have carried his home state had it not been for a 20,000-vote margin in Maricopa County. Similarly, while McCain won Arizona by eight percentage points in 2008, the margin would have likely been far closer if not for a 130,000-vote margin in Maricopa County.
In contrast, Pima County, home to Tucson, and most of southern Arizona have historically been more Democratic. While Tucson's suburbs lean Republican, they hold to a somewhat more moderate brand of Republicanism than is common in the Phoenix area.
Arizona rejected a same-sex marriage ban in a referendum as part of the 2006 elections. Arizona was the first state in the nation to do so. Same-sex marriage was already illegal in Arizona, but this amendment would have denied any legal or financial benefits to unmarried homosexual or heterosexual couples. In 2008, Arizona voters passed Proposition 102, an amendment to the state constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman, though by a narrower majority than similar votes in a number of other states.
In 2010, Arizona passed the toughest illegal immigration legislation in the nation, igniting a fierce debate between supporters and detractors of the law.
Important cities and towns
Phoenix, located in Maricopa County, is the largest city in Arizona and also the state capital. Other prominent cities in the Phoenix metro area include Mesa (the third largest city in Arizona), Glendale, Peoria, Chandler, Sun City, Sun City West, Fountain Hills, Surprise, Gilbert, El Mirage, Avondale, Tempe, Tolleson and Scottsdale, with a total metropolitan population of just over 4.3 million.
With a metro population of just over one million, Tucson is the state's second largest city, and is located in Pima County, approximately southeast of Phoenix. It is home to the University of Arizona.
The Prescott metropolitan area includes the cities of Prescott, Sedona, Cottonwood, Camp Verde and numerous other towns spread out over the of Yavapai County area. With 212,635 residents, this cluster of towns forms the third largest metropolitan area in the state. The city of Prescott (population 41,528) lies approximately northwest of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Situated in pine tree forests at an elevation of about , Prescott enjoys a much cooler climate than Phoenix, with average summer highs in the upper 80s Fahrenheit and winter temperatures averaging .
Yuma is center of the third largest metropolitan area in Arizona. It is located near the borders of California and Mexico. It is one of the hottest cities in the United States with the average July high of . (The same month's average in Death Valley is .) The city also features sunny days about 90% of the year. The Yuma Metropolitan Statistical Area has a population of 160,000. Yuma also attracts many winter visitors from all over the United States.
Flagstaff is the largest city in northern Arizona, and is situated at an elevation of nearly . With its large Ponderosa Pine forests, snowy winter weather and picturesque mountains, it is a stark contrast to the desert regions typically associated with Arizona. It sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona, with Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at . Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to numerous tourist attractions including: Grand Canyon National Park, Sedona, and Oak Creek Canyon. Historic U.S. Route 66 is the main east-west street in the town. The Flagstaff metropolitan area is home to 134,421 residents and the main campus of Northern Arizona University.
Lake Havasu City known as "Arizona's playground" resides on the Colorado river and is named after Lake Havasu. Lake Havasu City has a population of about 53,000 people. It is famous for huge spring break parties, sunsets and the London Bridge. Lake Havasu City was founded by Robert P. McCulloch in 1963. It has 2 colleges, Mohave Community College and ASU.
Elementary and secondary education
Public schools in Arizona are separated into about 220 local school districts which operate independently, but are governed in most cases by elected county school superintendents; these are in turn overseen by the Arizona State Board of Education (a division of the Arizona Department of Education) and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction (elected in partisan elections every even-numbered year when there is not a presidential election, for a four-year term). In 2005, a School District Redistricting Commission was established with the goal of combining and consolidating many of these districts.
Arizona is served by three public universities: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University. These schools are governed by the Arizona Board of Regents.
Private higher education in Arizona is dominated by a large number of for-profit and "chain" (multi-site) universities. Only one traditional (single-site, non-profit, four-year) private college exists in Arizona (Prescott College). Arizona has a wide network of two-year vocational schools and community colleges. These colleges were governed historically by a separate statewide Board of Directors but, in 2002, the state legislature transferred almost all oversight authority to individual community college districts. The Maricopa County Community College District includes 11 community colleges throughout Maricopa County and is one of the largest in the nation.
Public universities in Arizona
- Arizona State University, (Sun Devils) Tempe/Phoenix/Mesa
- Northern Arizona University, (Lumberjacks) Flagstaff/Yuma
- University of Arizona, (Wildcats) Tucson/Sierra Vista and UA Agricultural Center in Yuma
Private colleges and universities in Arizona
- American Indian College
- Apollo College
- Art Center College of Design
- Art Institute of Tucson
- Art Institute of Phoenix
- A.T. Still University
- Brown Mackie College
- Collins College
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- Grand Canyon University
- International Baptist College
- Lamson College
- Midwestern University
- Northcentral University
- Ottawa University
- University of Phoenix
- Phoenix School of Law
- Prescott College
- Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
- Southwestern College
- Thunderbird School of Global Management
- University of Advancing Technology
- Western Governors University
- Western International University
- Arizona Western College
- Central Arizona College
- Cochise College
- Coconino Community College
- Din College
- Eastern Arizona College
- Chandler-Gilbert Community College
- Estrella Mountain Community College
- GateWay Community College
- Glendale Community College
- Maricopa County Community College District
- Mesa Community College
- Mohave Community College
- Northland Pioneer College
- Paradise Valley Community College
- Phoenix College
- Pima Community College
- Rio Salado Community College
- Scottsdale Community College
- South Mountain Community College
- Yavapai College
Professional sports teams in Arizona include:
||National Football League
||2 (1925, 1947)
||Major League Baseball
||National Hockey League
||National Basketball Association
||Arena Football League
||2 (1994, 1997)
||Central Hockey League
||1 (2007 08)
||Women's National Basketball Association
||2 (2007, 2009)
||Professional Arena Soccer League
||National Premier Soccer League
||USL Premier Development League
||Pacific Coast League
||Golden Baseball League
Due to its numerous golf courses, Arizona is home to several stops on the PGA Tour, most notably the Phoenix Open, held at the TPC of Scottsdale, and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana.
With three state universities and several community colleges, college sports are also prevalent in Arizona. The intense rivalry between Arizona State University and the University of Arizona predates Arizona's statehood, and is the oldest rivalry in the NCAA. The thus aptly named Territorial Cup, first awarded in 1889 and certified as the oldest trophy in college football, is awarded to the winner of the Duel in the Desert, the annual football game between the two schools. Arizona also hosts several bowl games in the Bowl Championship Series. The Fiesta Bowl, originally held at Sun Devil Stadium, will now be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The University of Phoenix Stadium was also home to the 2007 BCS National Championship Game and hosted Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008. The Insight Bowl is also held at Sun Devil Stadium.
Besides being home to spring training, Arizona is also home to two other baseball leagues, Arizona Fall League and Arizona Winter League. The Fall League was founded in 1992 and is a minor league baseball league designed for players to refine their skills and perform in game settings in front of major and minor league baseball scouts and team executives, who are in attendance at almost every game. The league got exposure when Michael Jordan started his time in baseball with the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Arizona Winter League, founded in 2007, is a professional baseball league of four teams for the independent Golden Baseball League. The games are played in Yuma at the Desert Sun Stadium, but added two new teams in the California desert, and one more in Sonora for the 2008 season.
Mesa]] Arizona is a popular location for Major League Baseball spring training, as it is the site of the Cactus League. The only other location for spring training is in Florida with the Grapefruit League. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a new spring training facility in Phoenix owned by Glendale which opened in 2009, making them the 14th team in Arizona. Spring training has been somewhat of a tradition in Arizona since 1947 (i.e. the Cleveland Indians in Tucson until 1991, and the San Diego Padres in Yuma until 1992) despite the fact that the state did not have its own major league team until the state was awarded the Diamondbacks in Phoenix as an expansion team. The state hosts the following teams:
- Arizona Diamondbacks in Salt River Fields.
- Chicago Cubs in HoHoKam Park of Mesa.
- Chicago White Sox in Camelback Ranch-Glendale of Phoenix.
- Cincinnati Reds in Goodyear Ballpark.
- Cleveland Indians in Goodyear Ballpark.
- Colorado Rockies in Salt River Fields.
- Kansas City Royals in Surprise Stadium, but also in Sun Cities Park near Youngtown.
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Tempe Diablo Stadium
- Los Angeles Dodgers in Camelback Ranch-Glendale of Phoenix.
- Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale Baseball Park of Phoenix.
- Oakland Athletics in Phoenix Municipal Stadium, but also in Indian School Park in Scottsdale.
- San Diego Padres in Peoria Sports Complex.
- San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale Stadium, but also in Papago Park of Phoenix.
- Seattle Mariners in Peoria Sports Complex, but also in Chandler.
- Texas Rangers in Surprise Stadium.
Art and culture
Visual arts and museums
Phoenix Art Museum, located on the historic Central Avenue corridor in Phoenix, is the Southwest s largest collection of visual art from across the world. The museum displays international exhibitions along side the Museum s collection of more than 18,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. With a community education mandate since 1951, Phoenix Art Museum holds a year-round program of festivals, live performances, independent art films and educational programs. The museum also has PhxArtKids, an interactive space for children; photography exhibitions through the Museum s partnership with the Center for Creative Photography; the landscaped Sculpture Garden and dining at Arcadia Farms.
Arizona is a recognized center of Native American art, with a number of galleries showcasing historical and contemporary works. The Heard Museum, also located in Phoenix, is a major repository of Native American art. Some of the signature exhibits include a full Navajo hogan, the Mareen Allen Nichols Collection containing 260 pieces of contemporary jewelry, the Barry Goldwater Collection of 437 historic Hopi kachina dolls, and an exhibit on the 19th century boarding school experiences of Native Americans. The Heard Museum has about 250,000 visitors a year.
Sedona, Jerome, and Tubac are known as a budding artist colonies, and small arts scenes exist in the larger cities and near the state universities.
Monument Valley in the northeastern part of the state is famous for its scenery and Hollywood Western films.
Several major Hollywood films, such as Billy Jack, U Turn, Waiting to Exhale, Just One of the Guys, Can't Buy Me Love, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Scorpion King, The Banger Sisters, Used Cars, and Raising Arizona have been made there (as indeed have many Westerns). The 1993 science fiction movie Fire in the Sky, which was actually based on a reported alien abduction in the town of Snowflake, was set in Snowflake, but filmed in the Oregon towns of Oakland, Roseburg, and Sutherlin.
The climax of the 1977 Clint Eastwood film The Gauntlet takes place in downtown Phoenix. The final segments of the 1984 film Starman take place at Meteor Crater outside Winslow. The Jeff Foxworthy comedy documentary movie Blue Collar Comedy Tour was filmed almost entirely at the Dodge Theatre. Arguably one of the most famous examples could be Alfred Hitchcock's classic film Psycho. Not only was some of the film shot in Phoenix, but the main character is from there as well.
Some of the television shows filmed or set in Arizona include The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Medium, Alice, The First 48, Insomniac with Dave Attell, COPS, and America's Most Wanted. The 1974 film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, for which Ellen Burstyn won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and also starred Kris Kristofferson, was set in Tucson, the TV sitcom Alice, which was based on the movie was set in Phoenix. Also the movie, Twilight was filmed in Phoenix at the beginning and the end of the movie.
Arizona is prominently featured in the lyrics of many Country and Western songs, such as Jamie O'Neal's hit ballad "There Is No Arizona". George Strait's "Oceanfront Property" uses "ocean front property in Arizona" as a metaphor for a sucker proposition. The line "see you down in Arizona Bay" is used in a Tool song in reference to the possibility that L.A. will one day fall into the ocean.
"Arizona" was the title of a popular song recorded by Mark Lindsay. Arizona is also mentioned by the hit song "Take It Easy" written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey and performed by the Eagles. The song includes the lines:
- Well, I'm a standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,
- and such a fine sight to see
- It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford,
- slowin' down to take a look at me
Arizona's budding music scene is helped by emerging bands, as well as some well-known artists. The Gin Blossoms, Chronic Future, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Jimmy Eat World, Caroline's Spine, and others began their careers in Arizona. Also, a number of punk bands got their start in Arizona, including JFA, The Feederz, Sun City Girls, The Meat Puppets, The Maine, and more recently Authority Zero.
Arizona also has its share of singers and other musicians. Singer, songwriter and guitarist Michelle Branch is from Sedona. Chester Bennington, the lead vocalist of Linkin Park, Bob Stubbs a former member and drummer of the band Social Distortion lives in Arizona, and mash-up artist DJ Z-Trip are both from Phoenix. One of Arizona's better known musicians would be shock rocker Alice Cooper, who helped define the genre. Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer of the bands, Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer, calls the town of Jerome his current home. Other notable singers include country singer Marty Robbins, folk singer Katie Lee, Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, CeCe Peniston, Rex Allen, 2007 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and Linda Ronstadt.
Arizona is also known for its heavy metal scene, centered in and around Phoenix, which includes bands such as Job for a Cowboy, Knights of the Abyss, Eyes Set To Kill, blessthefall, and Abigail Williams. The band Soulfly calls Phoenix home and Megadeth lived in Phoenix for about a decade.
Some famous Arizonans involved in politics and government are:
- Former United States Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters
- Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
- Former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist
- Former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini
- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack
- National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel
- Junior Republican Senator Jon Kyl, current Senate Minority Whip, the No.2 Republican in the Senate.
- Presidential candidate (2000), (2008) and Senior Republican Senator John McCain
- Presidential candidate (1964) and former U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater
- Former Governor, Secretary of the Interior, and Presidential candidate (1988) Bruce Babbitt
- Presidential candidate (1976) and former Arizona congressman Mo Udall and his brother Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall
- Former U.S. Senator Carl Hayden
- Former United States Solicitor General Rex E. Lee.
- Former Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama Administration Janet Napolitano
Arizona notables in culture and the arts include:
- Labor leader and civil rights pioneer Cesar Estrada Chavez was from San Luis, near Yuma
- Actors Emma Stone and Gail Edwards
- Author Zane Grey
- Architect Frank Lloyd Wright
- Film director Steven Spielberg grew up in Scottsdale, as did David Spade and Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter
- Musicians Chester Bennington of Linkin Park (Phoenix), Alice Cooper (Phoenix), Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac (Phoenix), Maynard James Keenan of Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer (Jerome), Linda Ronstadt (Tucson), Michelle Branch (Sedona)
- Musicians in the bands Meat Puppets (Phoenix/Tempe), Authority Zero (Mesa), Gin Blossoms (Tempe), Chronic Future (Scottsdale), Jimmy Eat World (Mesa), The Format (Glendale), and Stellar Kart (Phoenix).
- Poet Jim Simmerman of Flagstaff
- Frederick Sommer an artist/photographer moved to Tucson in 1931 and lived in Prescott from 1935 1999
For a complete list, see List of people from Arizona.
- Arizona state amphibian: Arizona Treefrog (Hyla eximia)
- Arizona state bird: Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)
- Arizona state butterfly: Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata)
- Arizona state colors: Federal Blue and old gold
- Arizona state fish: Arizona Trout (Oncorhynchus gilae apache)
- Arizona state flag: Flag of the State of Arizona
- Arizona state flower: Saguaro blossom (Carnegiea gigantea)
- Arizona state fossil: Petrified wood
- Arizona state gemstone: Turquoise
- Arizona state mammal: Ringtail (Bassariscus astutus)
- Arizona state motto: Ditat Deus (Latin God enriches)
- Arizona state neckwear: Bola tie
- Arizona state reptile: Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)
- Arizona state seal: Great Seal of the State of Arizona
- Arizona state slogan: Grand Canyon State
- Arizona state songs: "Arizona March Song" (by Margaret Rowe Clifford) and "Arizona" (by Rex Allen, Jr.)
- Arizona state tree: Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia florida)
- Arizona state gun: Colt Single Action Army revolver
- List of National Register of Historic Places in Arizona
- List of people from Arizona
- List of places in Arizona
- Bayless, Betsy, 1998, Arizona Blue Book, 1997 1998. Phoenix, Arizona.
- McIntyre, Allan J., 2008, ''The Tohono O'odham and Pimeria Alta.'' Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina. (ISBN 978-0-7385-5633-8).
- Miller, Tom (editor), 1986, Arizona: The Land and the People. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (ISBN 978-0-8165-1004-7).
- Officer, James E., 1987, Hispanic Arizona, 1536 1856. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (ISBN 978-0-8165-0981-2).
- Thomas, David M. (editor), 2003, Arizona Legislative Manual. In ''Arizona'' Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona Legislative Council. Google Print. Retrieved January 16, 2006.
- Trimble, Marshall, 1998, Arizona, A Cavalcade of History. Treasure Chest Publications, Tucson, Arizona. (ISBN 978-0-918080-43-1).
- Woosley, Anne I., 2008, ''Early Tucson.'' Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina. (ISBN 978-0-7385-5646-8).
Official state government website
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