A Trip to the Arizona State Capita
Educational trips are an important aspect of learning. Besides instilling in the students the ability to reflect on experiences shared, they also afford teachers the privilege to assess how students’ learning outcomes may have been influenced by such an experience. One such trip involved a visit to the Arizona State Capital. Besides the thrill of experiencing the unique cultural diversity of this historical state, I also got to learn more about its rich history, and how Spanish explorers and Mexicans helped to define its socio-political landscape. The political inclinations of the state are also explored, along with the process of converting a bill into law, the governor and associated roles and privileges, as well as the museums in the capital state that delineates its rich history and traditions.
History of Arizona State Capital
Arizona State is laden with a rich history of political, social and economic development. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in its capital, Phoenix. I was therefore elated when we went on an educational trip and I got to see first-hand what the state has to show-case. Phoenix is not only the current state capital of Arizona state, but also bears a historical significance in that it housed the headquarters of Arizona’s Territorial government before it became the 48th state in 1912. Of the 50 states in the United States, Arizona became the 14th most populous, as well as the sixth largest. The state borders Mexico, New Mexico, California, and Nevada. Native American Tribes known to have inhabited Arizona prior to the arrival in 1539 of Marcos de Niza, the first explorer to the region include Mogollon, Hohokam, and the Ancestral Puebloan cultures. Spain was instrumental in the initiation of two presidios (of “fortified towns) at Tubac and Tucsan in 1752 and 1775, respectively. In 1821, Spain granted independence to Mexico and the modern-day Arizona was constituted as part of Alta California, or the Territory of Nueva California.
However, in the 1847 Mexican-American War, the United States not only occupied Mexico City, but also sought claim to a significant part of northern Mexico, of which Arizona was part of. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave the United States the right to claim the Territory of New Mexico under which Arizona was administered. This went on until 1861 when southern New Mexico Territory became the Confederate Territory off Arizona having seceded from the union. In 1862, Jefferson Davis through a presidential proclamation recognized Arizona as a Confederate Territory.
Republican and Democrats
The state of Arizona is generally viewed as a stronghold for the Republican Party. Presently, the state is home to Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. Nevertheless, statistics point towards a division among the state’s registered voters, with the Republicans being the majority at 36%, Democrats at 33%, while the independents are estimated at the remaining 30%. There is also evidence to show that in recent years, the independents have been growing at a relatively higher rate in comparison with either the Republicans or the Democrats (1). Nevertheless, the Republicans still play a key role in controlling politics within the state, especially from the conservative wing.
Bill to Law
Like in all other states in the United States, in the state of Arizona, a bill goes through a defined process before it becomes law. The first step is the first reading a member of the senate introduces the bill by formally reading it aloud to the house. The Senate president preserves the prerogative to decide which bills ought to be read. During the second reading, a committee identified by the Senate president gets assigned to the bill; otherwise it dies. At the committee stage, the committee the bill sponsor or legislative staff explains the bill to the committee in the first and second hearing. This is followed by Caucus meetings where lawmakers ponder over the merits and demerits of a bill. Legislators get to vote on the bill during the Third reading should it pass the full House, it crosses the courtyard to the Senate any amendments deemed appropriate are made. A conference committee is then appointed whose duty it is to recommend approval of the bill. Should both houses approve the bill, it then goes to the governor the governor has the powers to sign the new bill into law within 5 days, although his veto could be overridden by a2/3 vote by the Legislature.
Anthony Ducey is the current Governor of Arizona state under the Republican Party. He is the 23rd Governor in the history of the U.S. State of Arizona. As the commander-in-chief of the military forces in the state and head of the executive arm of the state government, the Governor of Arizona holds powers to veto or approve bills that the Legislative arm of the government passes. The governor can also grant pardons (save for cases of impeachment and treason), and convene the legislature. The state of Arizona holds gubernatorial elections every four years, and the winning candidate cannot govern for more than two consecutive terms. A gubernatorial term has to end too before the same individual can be elected for the position of a governor once more. Other privileges and duties of the governor of Arizona include: ensuring faithful upholding of all laws within the state of Arizona; conducting all state business transactions within the executive arm of the government; and signing, sealing and issuing all commissions granted by the state.
Phoenix boasts of various historical museums including the Phoenix Art Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum, Arizona Museum of Natural History, Arizona Historical Society Museum and Arizona Art Museum. In particular, the Historical Society Museum at Papago Park, Phoenix was of special interest to me as it is laden with the state’s inspiring and unique history. Besides getting a glimpse of the old Bills that have shaped modern-day Arizona over the years, the museum also gave us the rare opportunity to walk though the state’s past such as the rise of desert cities. More importantly, we got to experience the diversity and culture of the Arizonians through the ages.
The trip to Arizona State Capital was in many respects, both educational and an eye opener. Not only did I get to learn of how the state is divided politically, but also learned how a bill is passed into law, and the role and term of office of a governor. More importantly, a visit to the Arizona Historical Society Museum gave us a glimpse into how past events in the state were influential in shaping the politics and economy of Arizona, not to mention getting an in-depth experience of the diversity and culture of the Arizonians.