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Farley to serve as expert panelist at D.C. distracted driving summit

House Democratic Policy Leader Steve Farley, of Tucson, will serve as a panel expert during a Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 1. The U.S. Department of Transportation sponsors the two-day summit, and invited Farley to participate as one of 200 safety experts, researchers, elected officials and members of the public who will share experiences and develop ways to reduce distracted driving.

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Arizona Dems have, at times, bucked leadership (access required)

As Democratic leaders in the House scramble to corral the votes necessary to pass health care legislation, the party may not be able to rely on three Democrats from Arizona. That's because Reps. Harry Mitchell, Gabrielle Giffords and Ann Kirkpatrick have all showed independent streaks during their first several hundred votes in office, according to a review of their voting records.

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Senate committee approves Burke for US attorney post

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Dennis Burke as the next U.S. attorney for Arizona. Burke, who served as chief of staff for former Gov. Janet Napolitano, was one of four U.S. attorney nominees to be approved by the committee on Sept. 10, according to media reports. His nomination still must be approved by the full Senate before he takes his post.

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Arizona delegation responds to Obama health care speech

President Obama on Sept. 9 offered what could be his administration's last direct attempt to convince Americans to rally around his health care plan, offering an outline Democrats found encouraging. But even as Democrats hope for a new wind on health care, Republicans were largely unswayed, with Arizona Rep. Trent Franks calling the address "divorced from reality completely."

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GAO report faults Border Patrol on checkpoints

A draft government study found the Border Patrol isn't measuring how its checkpoints along the border affect the quality of life in surrounding communities. One of the findings of a Government Accountability Office draft report was that the Border Patrol hasn't documented how many agents it needs to confront smugglers sneaking around a proposed permanent checkpoint on Interstate 19 in southern Arizona.

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Gorman to serve on NCSL executive committee

Sen. Pamela Gorman has been selected to serve on the governing body of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which lobbies the federal government on behalf of the states. Gorman, who recently resigned her leadership position in the Senate majority caucus, will serve as chairwoman of the 2009-2010 NCSL standing committees.

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McCain touts own health care reform (access required)

As President Obama wavers on the public option sought by the left, Sen. John McCain lashed out against the "government plan" and single-payer proposals, while touting a few health care reform ideas of his own.

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