By Emery Cowan | Arizona Daily Sun
Rep. Bob Thorpe on the floor of the Arizona State House of Representatives.
Rep. Bob Thorpe has become known for bringing some controversial bills to the Legislature, including one that would have prohibited cities and towns from setting a local minimum wage and another that would have barred college students from voting in the place where they attend school.
But this year, the Flagstaff Republican has introduced at least one piece of legislation that has support from some of his strongest critics — a proposal to increase the pay of the state’s 90 state senators and representatives.
The only problem? Similar pay proposals have been rejected over the past 20 years and this one likely has similarly slim chances of gaining support from legislators.
“For me it’s uncomfortable to want to force what I’m being paid. It’s uncomfortable for members (of the Legislature) to want to do that,” said Sen. Sylvia Allen, of Snowflake, who represents Legislative District 6 with Thorpe.
Even if that’s the case, paying legislators more would help attract a broader range of candidates and make races more competitive, which means more choices for voters, said Eva Putzova, a member of the Flagstaff City Council. As a result, the state would likely get a legislative body that is more diverse and representative of the population, said Putzova, who acknowledged this was one of the few times she found herself in agreement with Thorpe.