Arizona Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce Focused On Housing During 25th Annual DATOS Event

Arizona Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce Focused On Housing During 25th Annual DATOS Event

By Terri Jo Neff |

The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce highlighted the future of housing during an Oct. 29 celebration of the release of 2021 DATOS: The State of Arizona’s Hispanic Market.  

The 2021 DATOS report is the most comprehensive compilation of research on the impact of Hispanics on the Arizona marketplace, providing critical insight through demographic, sociographic, and psychographic data. Nearly 43 percent of Phoenix residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, while Hispanics represent almost 32 percent of Arizona’s population.

In addition, Mexicans represent more than 55 percent of the foreign-born population in Arizona, according to the report edited by Monica Villalobos, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber.

This year’s report also delves into Latino contributions and impact in the housing sector. Key housing findings include the fact that 70 percent of new homeowners between 2020 and 2040 will be Latino, and that the Phoenix – Mesa – Scottsdale area ranks in the top 20 markets with the most mortgage-ready Hispanic millennials.

The event, which attracted hundreds of attendees to the Arizona Grand Hotel, was also livestreamed by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber. A panel discussion focused on housing included panelists Amy Schwabenlender of Human Services Campus Inc., Christopher Rodriguez of Ability360, and Gloria Muñoz, chairwoman of the Arizona Housing Coalition.

Gov. Doug Ducey attended and issued a formal commendation recognizing the Arizona Hispanic Chamber’s work and advocacy.

Among the dozens of subjected addressed in 2021 DATOS is the impact of a bill signed by Ducey earlier this year to allow acceptance of Mexican Consular ID cards in Arizona as of Sept. 29.

Jorge Mendoza Yescas, the Mexican Consul in Phoenix, explained that the consular card does more than provide proof of identity, residency, and Mexican nationality. The card “brings certainty to important economic activities such as opening a bank account, engaging in commercial activities, requesting loans, applying for individual taxpayer ID numbers, using rental services and signing up for utilities,” he noted.

It was also noted that if Hispanics were their own economy, they would be the 8th largest economy in the world.

Invest in Arizona Pulled Millions from Out-of-State Donors

Invest in Arizona Pulled Millions from Out-of-State Donors

By Corinne Murdock |

Invest in Arizona – a referendum to reverse the tax cuts passed recently by the Arizona legislature that would negate Prop 208 – reported several million in out-of-state funds in their latest campaign finance report. The National Education Association (NEA) donated over $2.4 million, $30,000 of which Invest in Arizona refunded.

The second-largest source of funds, nearly $2.4 million, came from Stand for Children Arizona, the local chapter of the national education advocacy group, Stand for Children. Stand for Children’s Arizona chapter hasn’t always donated to Invest in Arizona. Up until last July, their national organization headquartered in Portland, Oregon was responsible for those million-dollar donations.

Together, the NEA and Stand for Children Arizona comprised the vast majority of Invest in Arizona’s funds. Individual contributions amounted to just over $16,600, while total funds were reported to be over $4.7 million.

 AZ Free News inquired with Stand for Children Arizona about these recent donation patterns: specifically, whether these donations were furnished from their national organization to their local chapter. This was their response:

“Thank you for reaching out! Stand for Children Arizona has a long history supporting families in AZ,” stated Stand for Children Arizona spokesperson Carlos Alfaro. “Our support of Invest in AZ is one piece of that, as indicated by the donation of our 501c4 organization Stand for Children, Inc.”

A majority of the over-$4 million that Invest in Arizona raised went toward operating expenses – signature gathering to submit their two referendums. The top recipients, in order, were: Fieldworks LLC with nearly $4 million alone, Save Our Schools Arizona with $115,000, Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander for Equity (AZ AANHPI For Equity) Coalition with $10,000, Fieldcorps LLC with $75,500, La Machine with $65,000, and Valley Interfaith Project with $29,000.

Invest in Arizona also spent $48,000 in polling from Lake Research, $5,000 for campaign consultancy from Strategies 360, and gave Valley Interfaith Project an additional $49,000 for text messaging outreach, field organizers and coordinators, outreach captains, and travel expenses.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Phoenix Children’s Announces Inaugural Awards For Clinical Excellence

Phoenix Children’s Announces Inaugural Awards For Clinical Excellence

By Terri Jo Neff |

Phoenix Children’s recently announced the five winners of its inaugural Heart & Hand Clinical Excellence Awards which recognize exceptional contributions to pediatric medicine in the areas of clinical care, research, and medical education.

The Oct. 21 awards event was held at the Phoenix Country Club. Among the special guests were Phoenix Coyotes executive Shane Doan who provided the keynote speech, with Phoenix Children’s own Dr. Jared Muenzer, who is the hospital’s physician-in-chief, serving as emcee.

Other speakers included Phoenix Children’s President and CEO Robert L. Meyer along with Dr. Daniel Ostlie, the surgeon-in-chief.

“These awards are uniquely special because all of those nominated were done so by their peers,” said Steve Schnall, senior vice president of Phoenix Children’s Foundation. “With countless examples of excellence exhibited by our amazing physicians and advanced practice providers, we are honored to be able to recognize all of those who offer exemplary service and foster an environment of hope, healing, and world-class healthcare.”

Physician of the Year – Wendy P. Bernatavicius, MD, selected as the doctor “who lives and breathes” the values of exemplary service, while excelling clinically and going “the extra mile to demonstrate service” while communicating with staff and patient families.

Advanced Practice Provider of the Year – Katherine M. Harrison, MSN, RN, CPNP-AC, CCRN, selected for embodying family-centered care, placing the child’s needs first, and putting in the effort “to ensure the family is informed, empowered and valued as part of the care team.”

Researcher of the Year – Michael C. Kruer, MD, recognized for being actively involved “in the conversation around improvement and innovation, making contributions in clinical, translation and/or basic science research.” The researcher award is also designed “for the intensely curious.”

Teacher of the Year – Vasudha L. Bhavaraju, MD, selected from Phoenix Children’s teaching faculty for taking time to coach those around her and actively mentoring future clinicians “to carry on a shared mission of hope and healing.”

Advocate of the Year – Alexandra M. Walsh, MD, recognized for her passion every day “to help bridge the gaps in care in the surrounding community.”

Event sponsors recognized by the Phoenix Children’s Foundation include Arizona Coyotes, Gammage & Burnham, IES Communications, In-Group Hospitality, Littler, Maricopa Ambulance, Palo Alto Networks, Progressive Management Systems, Staybridge Suites, Stifel Hagen Wealth Management Group, and Trident Security.

Phoenix Children’s is one of the largest pediatric health systems in the United States, comprised of Phoenix Children’s Hospital – Main Campus, Phoenix Children’s Hospital – East Valley, 4 pediatric specialty and urgent care centers, 11 community pediatric practices, 20 outpatient clinics, 2 ambulatory surgery centers, and 6 community outpatient clinics throughout Arizona.

The Phoenix Children’s Care Network includes more than 850 pediatric primary care providers and specialists in more than 75 subspecialties.

Supreme Court To Consider Arizona’s Petition To Defend Rule Refusing Citizenship, Green Cards Based On Welfare Reliance

Supreme Court To Consider Arizona’s Petition To Defend Rule Refusing Citizenship, Green Cards Based On Welfare Reliance

By Corinne Murdock |

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) accepted Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s petition to defend previous President Donald Trump’s updates to a rule limiting green cards and citizenship to those who haven’t and won’t become dependent on welfare programs. Brnovich announced this update in a press release Friday.

“When other federal officials won’t defend the law, I will,” asserted Brnovich. “The Public Charge Rule is a commonsense policy based on a real inconvenient truth. Overrunning our welfare programs right now would be like pulling back the last safety net for Americans who need it most.”

Congress first enacted the “Public Charge Rule” in 1882: a concept that officials could deny immigrants entrance, visas, and even citizenship if officials deemed they were likely to become a “public charge.” The definition of “public charge” varied over the years. In 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defined “public charge” as illegal immigrants who received one year’s worth of welfare benefits in the aggregate within a three-year period. Under that definition, two benefits received in one month counted as two months.

According to the latest available data analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies, about 55 percent of noncitizens relied on welfare in 2018. Noncitizens in their study included both green card holders and illegal immigrants. While the law does prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving welfare benefits, noncitizens may receive benefits on behalf of any children they have born in the U.S.

In April, SCOTUS rejected a previous petition from 14 states attempting to revive Trump-era litigation that the Biden Administration halted. Texas led the charge on that petition. The states claimed that dropping the Trump rule would force them to provide millions of dollars of government benefits to illegal immigrants.

SCOTUS determined that states would have to work through lower courts before they’d take up the case, if at all.

Their recent acceptance means that Arizona and 12 other states – Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia – may be eligible to defend the rule even though the Biden Administration has decided against doing so.

SCOTUS will not be deciding on the legality of the rule, and oral arguments haven’t been scheduled.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Chandler Unified School Board Votes to Leave National School Boards Association

Chandler Unified School Board Votes to Leave National School Boards Association

By Corinne Murdock |

Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) became the latest to join the trend of school boards and state associations leaving the National School Boards Association (NSBA). The CUSD Governing Board voted on Wednesday to cease their annual payment for “National Connection Fees” under the federation, which amounted to $8,620 for this upcoming year.

Only one board member, Lindsay Love, voted against leaving; board member Lara Bruner abstained from voting. The vote against paying the membership fees earned applause from the public in attendance.

NSBA’s national connection fees come with certain perks like advanced and discounted registration for their annual conference, additional leadership and legal resources, insider knowledge on federal policies and developments, national networks, and the latest news.

The advanced and discounted registration to NSBA’s annual conference is the biggest perk. Attendees have access to the premiere vendors and thought leaders in education. Their upcoming conference next April will be held in San Diego, California.

Board member Jason Olive said that he wasn’t aware of any board members attending the annual conference in recent years. Board President Barb Mozdzen confirmed that nobody to her knowledge had gone to the annual conference in four or five years.

Bruner claimed that being part of NSBA was required to maintain policy revisions from Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA). Mozdzen clarified that NSBA membership wasn’t required to get ASBA policies. Superintendent Franklin Narducci added that ASBA reviews state-legislated policies, but NSBA doesn’t.

“It’s my understanding you can be in one without the other, and that they aren’t mutually inclusive of each other,” said Narducci.

Love questioned why they were leaving the NSBA at all. Olive’s reply prompted laughter.

“Uh – so we don’t have to give them any money,” responded Olive.

At that point, Love cited her involvement with NSBA’s National Black Council (NBC). She insinuated that CUSD wouldn’t have representation in the NSBA if they rescinded their membership.

“So essentially [we] as Chandler have direct access to [NSBA] and we impact national policies just by being at the table,” argued Love.

Love’s remarks were met with stretches of silence from her fellow board members.

Bruner voiced her concern again that their withdrawal from NSBA would jeopardize their membership within ASBA. Mozdzen said that the membership fees weren’t due until January, indicating the council had time to revisit the topic until then.

The NSBA has received negative attention nationwide after sending a letter to President Joe Biden last month, asking him to invoke the PATRIOT Act to investigate parents and community members for potential “domestic terrorism.” Less than a week later, the Biden Administration obliged. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo directing the FBI to investigate those concerns.

Shortly after the letter’s publication, open records requests revealed that the White House collaborated with the NSBA in their drafting of the letter. A day after the report on these records, the NSBA submitted an apology letter to its membership. Unlike their initial letter to Biden, however, the NSBA didn’t publicize this apology letter.

Watch CUSD’s vote on NSBA membership here: 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to