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Immigration hawk Pearce elected president of Arizona Senate

Sen. Russell Pearce will lead the Arizona Senate next year after colleagues elected him to be president of the chamber during a closed-door meeting Nov. 3.

Pearce defeated Sen. Steve Pierce and Senators-elect Steve Yarbrough and John McComish. All four had been rounding up votes for months in anticipation of the leadership elections. Until now, it wasn’t clear which candidate had the edge, although many sources were saying Yarbrough appeared to have the most support prior to the Nov. 2 elections.

Republicans gained new seats in nearly every facet of Arizona government, sweeping the statewide positions and amassing what appears to be a veto-proof supermajority in the state House and Senate.

Many legislators have said they want fixing the budget and jumpstarting the economy to be the primary focus next year, and they have indicated that going through another contentious round of immigration legislation might be a distraction.

The incoming set of senators also chose Scott Bundgaard, a former legislator, as Majority Leader. Meanwhile, Sen. Steve Pierce remains as the Majority Whip.

Senate President Bob Burns presided over the meeting and left when the incoming president was chosen.

Burns said they went through three or four rounds of voting before a majority settled on Pearce.

Pearce and his leadership team will have their hands full next year.

They will have to fix a budget deficit that grew substantially after the Nov. 2 general election.

Voters rejected two ballot proposals that would have swept money from voter approved programs into the state’s general fund. The failure of the measures punched a $450 million hole in this year’s budget.

Lawmakers will have to decide whether to fix that deficit this year or wait for the new set of lawmakers to take their oath next year before tackling the problem.

Another challenge will be to jumpstart a struggling economy, as revenue collections remain sluggish and economists warn of a slow recovery.

Lawmakers are considering passing a “jobs” bill or an “economic package.”

Pearce joined the Legislature in 2001. He was elected to the Senate two years ago.

He has served as chairman of the Appropriations committees in both chambers.

Pearce has a deep background in law enforcement. He was a chief deputy with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for nearly two decades. He also has served as director for Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Division as director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Republican leaders

Sen. Russell Pearce, Senate President
Senator-elect Scott Bundgaard, Majority Leader
Sen. Steve Pierce, Majority Whip

Rep. Kirk Adams, House Speaker
Rep. Andy Tobin, Majority Leader
Rep. Debbie Lesko, Majority Whip

Democratic Leaders

Senator-elect David Schapira, Minority Leader
Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, Assistant Minority Leader
Sen. Paula Aboud, Minority Whip

House (has not yet met)


  1. I guess the “anchor baby” proposal did NOT hold him back ! Good.

  2. I am happy to see Senator Pearce elected to be Senate President.
    He has extensive experience, know-how, and the personality to
    have this position.

    Senator Pearce will bring a vast store of knowledge to the Senate.

    Senator Pearce always carries with him a stong, “can do”,
    attitude, and the ability to befriend even those who strongly
    disagree with him.

    He is an excellent choice.

    Congratulations Senator Pearce!

  3. Where would Arizona be without Russell Pearce? The open-border forces in Arizona and Washington have been determined to cram illegal immigration and amnesty right down the state’s throat. Pearce is one of only a handful of people who have had the guts to stand up and fight the cheap-labor cheap-vote lobby. He has stood for the rule of law despite a constant wave of politically correct crapola from the likes of Janet Napolitano, Filth Gordon, and media darling lunatic Kyrsten Sinema. He has even survived pro-illegal sellouts from his own party including George W. Bush, John McCain, Jon Kyl, and the lowest of the low Grant Woods. Russell Pearce will be remembered in Arizona history as the man who saved the state from political takeover by Mexico. And he isn’t done yet.

  4. To the Editor:

    In the past, Arizona Senator Russell Pearce sponsored the anti-immigrant bill SB1070 the result of which would have caused many many more prisons to be built for the purpose of housing all those undocumented workers. Now he has been elected Arizona’s Senate President.

    If SB1070 is upheld by the courts and given Senator Pearce’s antipathy towards undocumented workers Arizonans can expect more attempts to create more laws which target people he does not like. If this happens the cost to Arizona will be massive. Using the $61.64 per prisoner per day cost per the Arizona Dept of Corrections web page, if even 10% of the 485,000 illegal aliens as reported by Jan Brewer were caught and housed the cost we’re talking about an extra $1.09 Billion per year or about an extra 11% added to the state budget.

    Since the Republicans do not plan on additional taxes to balance the budget, the cost of housing all these prisoners will cause further reductions in the state budget in addition to those already planned due to the current deficit.

    The only question is where Senator Pearce and the Republicans plan to cut. One may assume that it will not be in Arizona’s prison budget. In fact given the trends we may expect more cuts in education and health care with concomitant rises in poverty, epidemics, and unnecessary deaths. I would urge all Arizonans to write and call the State Legislature urging the repeal of SB1070 and to oppose any more such expensive and unaffordable laws

  5. Kurt Cooper – you gave yourself away in your first sentence with that “anti-immigrant” **** and in your third sentence with “undocumented workers” garbage. Perhaps you work at KPHO or are a member of the Arizona teacher’s union?

    The filth at channel 5 have been trying desperately for over a month to make the rule of law appear to be profit motivated. To begin with, the housing of illegal immigrants at state cost is temporary (until turned over to ICE), and the private prisons KPHO has tried to claim motivated SB1070 are contracted with THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, NOT ARIZONA. Secondly, if SB1070 goes into effect that does not dictate wholesale arrests of illegal aliens bolstering prison populations – that is more dream weaver dog doo dreamed up by the pro-illegal CBS affiliate. As Sheriff Arpaio has stated, he will put up tent cities all the way to the border if necessary.

    The major intent of this law is ATTRITION. If ILLEGAL ALIENS are uncomfortable in Arizona over SB 1070, they can get up and get the hell out of here. The only “epidemic” we have in Arizona is people like yourself who, if I was guessing, are profitting handsomely from the flood of squalor squatting in the state. Why don’t you just ask Arizonans to recall Jan Brewer and replace her with Raul Grijalva? That would be more reasonable than asking them to repeal SB 1070. Why don’t you pack up the old U-Haul and head for California? Their pro-illegal climate has invaders backing up in toilets; their weather would suit your clothes.

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