By Phil Riske | Senior Reporter/Writer
A specialist in loading up Republican bills to confuse or kill them, former lawmaker Bill Brotherton has decided to again run for the Arizona House of Representatives from District 30.
A Democrat, Brotherton served in the House 1998-2003 and in the Senate 2003-2007.
He is a trustee of Canyon Institute and a recipient of the Freedom of Information Award from the Arizona Newspaper Association.
What have you been doing since you left the Legislature?
Shortly after I left the Legislature, I was appointed to the state Superior Court bench by Gov. Janet Napolitano. I served on the bench for ten and a half years and was on several assignments including criminal, family and juvenile cases.
Why do you want to serve at the Capitol again?
Even though I was in a private law practice for many years, I always found public service to be the most professionally rewarding thing I have done. After deciding to retire as a judge, I didn’t want my service to the public to end. So after speaking with several friends in District 30, I decided to run for the State House. I think my time as a judge will make me an even better legislator than I was before.
What issues will you highlight in your campaign?
Safe neighborhoods, good-paying stable jobs and quality public education are the priorities of the working families of District 30, so they are my priorities too. From preschool to grad school or job training programs, motivated students, whatever their background, must have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Our families are the backbone of Arizona’s economy and the Legislature must protect access to clean air and water, affordable health care and economic opportunity if Arizona is to maintain its quality of life.
Do your former colleagues tell you the Legislature is a different animal than when you served?
I have been told the Legislature has changed and some have jokingly(I think) questioned my sanity for wanting to go back. Change is inevitable and with it new opportunities for service may occur. It is those opportunities that I hope to find and bring to fruition.
Is bipartisanship a dead duck?
Democracy needs its members to find common ground if it is to survive and thrive. My favorite saying when it came to working with my Republican colleagues was: “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” I have found this to be true even with people with whom I would seem to have little in common.
While there, did you witness any sexual harassment and do recent allegations at the Capitol surprise you?
I never witnessed any sexual harassment, nor was I advised of any occurring. Even so I am not surprised by the recent allegations. As I was told years ago by a veteran lawmaker, the Legislature tends to be a reflection of what is occurring in the broader society.
What must Democrats do to gain more seats?
Get more like-minded voters to the polls. I think much of what the Democratic Party stands for resonates with the voters, but we need to have a clear message and motivate voters to vote. I think the last presidential election is an example of voter apathy once again causing this nation to elect a president who didn’t receive a majority of the votes cast.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I have been energized by the reception I have received at voters’ doorsteps and by those I used to work with in regards to my decision to seek legislative office once again. I can assure everyone that my energy and commitment has not diminished one iota from what it was during my past service.