Welcome to the Arizona Agenda

Policy is complicated. Government is confusing. Politics is vicious, nasty and divisive. 

It’s easy to tune this crap out or to say it doesn’t matter.

But it does matter.

  • It matters when lawmakers try to take away your ability to vote. 

  • It matters when prosecutors make up nonexistent gangs so they can charge protesters with a crime.

  • It matters when your city council pays opposition research firms to track you if you speak out. 

  • It matters when courts overturn your rights.

  • And it matters when politicians try to overturn your elections. 

Do you ever wonder: Who are these people? What are they doing? How can I fix this?

Well, the Arizona Agenda is here to help.

We make sure you know your Arizona politicians, prosecutors and judges, how your government works and how you can change it.

When politicians lie, cheat, steal and scam, we tell you about it. 

When they buckle to the pressure of party bosses instead of keeping pledges to constituents, we call it out. 

When they scurry behind closed doors and use burner phones to conduct the public’s business, we pound on the doors and track down the screenshots.

We know our way around the famously weird landscape of Arizona politics.

Our founder, Hank Stephenson, has spent more than 15 years reporting on the beat. He has covered Arizona politics for the New York Times and Politico and most recently ran a high-priced political tip sheet written for Arizona lobbyists, politicians and consultants.

Now we’re writing for you.

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We’ll show you how to navigate the madness, point you to who’s to blame when things fall apart, and who to thank when something actually gets done.

We’ll introduce you to Arizona’s power players and give you the deep background on who’s a dirtbag, and who’s in it for the right reasons. 

We’ll be your guide… and your comic relief when it’s warranted.

Because Arizona politics and government is wildly funny, if you understand what you’re looking at. Outrageous, bewildering and rage-inducing, sure… But also funny.

Staying in the loop about local politics should be fun too. 


  • We connect the dots between who is doing what and why — as far as we can tell — at the Arizona state Capitol and beyond.

  • We help Arizonans understand the political machinations, so our readers — our fellow voters — can make informed decisions.

  • We explain how government works so that when you have a problem, you know who to call and who to blame.

The Agenda started in 2021 as a two-person weekday newsletter. (Shout-out to our original co-founder, Rachel Leingang!) Thanks to your support, we’re growing into a statewide newsroom that covers all things Arizona politics. 

Check out the newest addition to our family, the Tucson Agenda. It follows the policies, people and all the fine print that shapes Southern Arizona.


  • To understand the effects of political decisions and the motives of the people behind them.

  • Something more engaging and revealing than traditional political reporting.

  • A daily dose of political news that keeps you in the conversation.

  • Political coverage without the both-sides nonsense. We are not partisan hacks; we are equal-opportunity harassers. Some politicians just deserve it more often than others. 

  • Jokes, snark and gossip to keep you (and us) sane while reading this stuff.


  • Because you care about Arizona and local journalism.

  • Because the Agenda is a local, journalist-owned publication that serves your interests — not clicks, some corporate overlord, wealthy donors or a political party.

  • Because it’s worth every penny. Don’t believe us? Scroll to the bottom.

Think of it this way: Would you buy us a beer once a month to hear all the crazy stories we can dig up about Arizona politics and government? Of course you would! Just click the button.


The Agenda is a journalist-owned, nonpartisan, independent news and information company that is not beholden to corporate overlords, capitalist monsters or bureaucratic boards.

We’re reinventing old-school local journalism to serve you, not them.

Hank Stephenson is a politician’s greatest fear. He’s known for showing up and making a scene, sure, but he’s also known for beating his journalistic colleagues to big stories. He can craft a compelling narrative about a key political player as well as he can dive into public records — a rare feat.

  • Hank has covered Arizona for national outlets like The New York Times, Politico Magazine and Columbia Journalism Review. But he’s a community reporter at heart, having started his career bouncing around small-town papers from Nogales to North Dakota. He has covered Arizona politics and government since 2008. 

Nicole Ludden has been a journalist basically her whole life — she took charge of her high school newspaper and never looked back. She is obsessed with how government institutions work and why the people in power make the decisions they do. She loves a deep dive into the intricacies of policy.

  • Nicole joined the Agenda from the Arizona Daily Star, where she covered local government for Arizona’s second-largest paper. Before that, she worked at the Tucson Weekly and spent time in the Republic’s newsroom. She’s a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and a former teaching assistant at the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.

Caitlin Schmidt and Curt Prendergast hold down our sister newsletter, the Tucson Agenda. They’ve been reporting on Tucson and Southern Arizona for more than a decade each. Between them, they've covered just about every beat there is to cover. 

Tracy Townsend is our copy editor. Before joining us, she spent many years keeping reporters in check as a copy editor and manager at the Arizona Capitol Times.

BC Creative handles our administration. If you ever need help with your subscription, hit them up at info@arizonaagenda.com, or just reply to any of our newsletters.


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Insightful. Necessary. Witty. The Arizona Agenda is reported and written by two Arizona political junkies who explain politics and government to non-junkies.


Reporter for the Tucson Agenda. Curt@tucsonagenda.com