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Congressman Grijalva on Unemployment Benefits and the Minimum Wage

Lou Gum
KAWC Colorado River Public Media
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-3)

Arizona Edition- Congressman Raul Grijalva (Democrat, 3rd District) was in Somerton recently, focused on two issues—extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and increasing the minimum wage.  Grijalva told a small crowd at his office in Somerton that 19,000 Arizonans lost their unemployment insurance on December 28th when Congress decided not to extend benefits.  About 20 percent of that number live in Yuma County and statewide 865 people who have been out of work long-term lose their unemployment insurance each week, bringing that 19,000 number in December to over 22,000 now.  Grijalva says that is a loss for local economies, since people who receive unemployment checks tend to spend that money.  In fact, every dollar paid out means over $1.50 spent in the community.  But you’d be forgiven for thinking extension of unemployment benefits is off the table for Washington politicians, since it hasn’t gotten much coverage in the last few weeks.  But, as Grijalva tells KAWC’s Lou Gum, he and others are still hopeful they can push through legislation…(originally aired 02/05/14).

This piece was featured in the February 5th Arizona Edition.  Other pieces featured in the show can be found below in the related content section.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.