Bob Thorpe (politician)
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|Member of the Arizona House of Representatives|
from the 6th district
|Assumed office |
January 14, 2013
Serving with Brenda Barton
Early life and career
Bob Thorpe was born and raised in Burbank, California. Before serving in the Arizona legislature, he had a varied career in residential construction, website design, as a small business owner of a software company, and worked for Price Waterhouse among many other endeavors. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from California State University, Northridge in 1981. He went on to complete graduate coursework in several different disciplines at CSU Northridge and Los Angeles Pierce College among other colleges. He moved to Arizona in 2003 where he was a volunteer firefighter.
- 2016 Thorpe and Brenda Barton defeated democrat Alex Martinez in the general election.
- 2014 Thorpe won reelection by a 16 percent margin.
- 2012 Thorpe was one of two candidates winning the August 28, 2012 Republican Primary with 14,280 votes, and won the first seat in the four-way November 6, 2012 General election with 42,675 votes.
Thorpe has introduced legislation that challenges federal authority in environmental matters. In 2014, Thorpe introduced and later amended a bill that aimed to end the Endangered Species Act in Arizona and deport certain endangered animals. He also introduced legislation asserting Arizona's right to decline to cooperate with the EPA on air quality standards.
In 2014, Thorpe also sponsored SB1093, which would have required federal law enforcement and other agencies doing business in an Arizona county to register with and present a warrant to the county sheriff. The proposed bill also stipulated that half of all fines imposed by the federal government must be turned over to Arizona's general fund. The bill was rejected by the Senate Rules Committee, which voted 4-2 against it after its attorney said that it would likely violate the Constitution.
Thorpe has campaigned on the issues that "assert the primacy of county sheriffs in enforcing the law in their counties". AZcentral described this as "a central tenet of the sovereignty movement".
Thorpe's web page says that "Arizona sheriffs need to arrest federal agents whenever they harm the sovereign rights of our citizen's [sic], especially concerning land, water and the right to earn a living."
In 2017 Thorpe introduced HB2120 which would ban all activities from college campuses in the state which "are designed primarily for a particular ethnic group" and "promote social justice toward a race."
Statements about Cliven Bundy
In April 2014, Thorpe travelled at his own expense to meet with people gathered at Cliven Bundy's ranch in Nevada. During the weekend of his visit, Bundy supporters engaged in an armed standoff with law enforcement officers. Upon returning to Arizona, Thorpe reportedly urged Arizona state legislators to support Cliven Bundy.
After Thorpe's visit, Bundy was recorded saying that "the Negro" was better off in slavery. Thorpe wrote that he disagreed with Bundy's "racially insensitive statements", and he also wrote disapprovingly of the cattle round-up that prompted the standoff. AZcentral criticized the mild language that Thorpe used to describe Bundy's statement, noting that Thorpe had also used the phrase "racially insensitive" to describe posts that he had deleted from his own Twitter account. The Center for Biological Diversity alleged that Thorpe's statement "repeats the core beliefs of the posse comitatus movement."
Steve Hansen, a Democratic Arizona House candidate in a different district, criticized Thorpe's understanding of the Bundy conflict. Citing Thorpe's own admission that he is “unfamiliar with the (Bundy) legal case,” Hansen wrote, "One would think that an Arizona lawmaker that is interested enough to travel to Nevada and meet with the people assembled at the Bundy 'event' would be intellectually curious enough to look into the legality of actions on both sides of the dispute."
In April 2013, Thorpe invited other legislators to a demonstration from a bulletproof vest retailer. The demonstration was to be held at the state Capitol. Thorpe cancelled the event after he received advice from a legislative lawyer about the impropriety of such a demonstration. He called the plan a "rookie mistake", and described his belief that mental health issues are responsible for most violent events. "I support people owning guns and doing that lawfully," Thorpe said, "but we’ve got some wackos out there."
Later that year, Thorpe tweeted a series of race-related messages later that year that were criticized by Democrats, civil rights activists, and the Republican House Speaker. One of the messages Thorpe posted suggested that Eric Holder, the first black attorney general, was "soft on crime" for race-related reasons. Democratic legislator Martin Quezada described the tweets as "race-baiting", and Republican House Speaker Andy Tobin said that he was "dismayed and disappointed". Thorpe apologized for his actions, deleted the offending tweets, locked down his Twitter account, and prevented reporters from following it.
- "Bob Thorpe". Phoenix, Arizona: Arizona State Legislature. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
- "Bob Thorpe's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
- Tea Party Lawmaker: Nev. Cattle Roundup ‘Reminded Me Of Tiananmen Square’
- "State of Arizona Official Canvass 2016 General Election November 8, 2016" (PDF). Phoenix, Arizona: Secretary of State of Arizona. p. 15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-20. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
- "State of Arizona Official Canvass 2014 General Election November 4, 2014" (PDF). Phoenix, Arizona: Secretary of State of Arizona. p. 9. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
- "State of Arizona Official Canvass 2012 Primary Election August 28, 2012" (PDF). Phoenix, Arizona: Secretary of State of Arizona. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
- Betz, Eric (1 March 2014). "Bob Thorpe trims wolf proposal". Arizona Daily Sun. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
State Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, said he’s amending a bill he introduced last week that aims to end the Endangered Species Act in Arizona and deport some of the endangered animals ... Thorpe has pushed other recent legislation that challenges federal supremacy in environmental matters. The Flagstaff state representative also introduced legislation this month that would assert Arizona’s right as a sovereign state to choose whether it cooperates with the Environmental Protection Agency on air quality standards established under the Clean Air Act.
- Aleshire, Pete (13 March 2014). "Local Lawmakers Would Make Sheriffs Ultimate Authority". Payson Roundup. Archived from the original on 15 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
A bill sponsored by Rim Country’s state legislative delegation that would have required federal law enforcement personnel to register with local sheriffs and turn over half of their fines to the counties has died in committee ... The law represented an effort to write into state law a movement that insists county sheriffs have a constitutional position superior to the federal government — so they don’t have to adhere to federal law if they think that law is in conflict with the U.S. Constitution ... The Senate Rules Committee voted against the bill 2-4, effectively killing it. The committee’s attorney said the bill would probably violate the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives federal laws priority over conflicting state laws.
- "SB1093: federal agencies; registration with sheriff". Arizona State Legislature.
- "At the Capitol". Azcentral. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, had returned to Phoenix in time for Monday's floor session and urged members of the House of Representatives to support Bundy. Thorpe also said that if he is re-elected, he plans to introduce legislation in 2015 that would assert the primacy of county sheriffs in enforcing the law in their counties. That's a central tenet of the sovereignty movement, which rejects much federal control.
- "Some of the Issues that Face Arizona". Committee to elect Robert J. Thorpe. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
During Arizona's Centennial, after becoming a state 100-years ago, it is high time that the federal government honor it's [sic] commitment to Arizona and its citizens by fulfilling all of the requirements of the 1911 Enabling Act, and give us back our sovereignty over Arizona land, air, water and mineral rights, just like all the other states that joined the union during the 18th and 19th centuries. In outrageous cases, such as where the U.S. Forest Service recently blocked the city of Tombstone from repairing its water wells that have been in use for over 130 years, Arizona sheriffs need to arrest federal agents whenever they harm the sovereign rights of our citizen's [sic], especially concerning land, water and the right to earn a living. There's an old saying: 'Arizonians don't fight over whiskey... we fight over water!'
- Thorpe, Bob (5 May 2014). "From Bunker Hill to Bunkerville, struggles continue". Arizona Capitol Times. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
Since my Nevada visit, Mr. Cliven Bundy has made statements that I simply do not agree with, especially racially insensitive statements.
- Suckling, Kieran (3 May 2014). "Hey, Rep. Thorpe: Why you defending Cliven Bundy?". Azcentral. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
Bob Thorpe is embracing the Nevada rancher, asking us to look beyond his 'racially insensitive statements.' ... Thorpe's use of 'insensitive' is especially galling, as it's the very same term he used to apologize for his own racially charged tweets in August. He quelled that firestorm by deleting the offensive tweets.
- Center for Biological Diversity. "Guest Column: Thorpe backs discredited movement". Arizona Daily Sun. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
Thorpe’s statement repeats the core beliefs of the posse comitatus movement. The movement denies all federal authority, including land ownership, but especially its police authority. Posse comitatus members believe the county sheriff to be the highest and only rightful police authority and to have a responsibility to disarm all federal police, (as Bundy repeatedly called on them to do).
- Hansen, Steve (16 May 2014). "Bunkerville myths debunked: response to Rep. Bob Thorpe's Cliven Bundy commentary". Arizona Capitol Times. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Christie, Bob (8 April 2013). "Arizona lawmaker cancels bulletproof vest demo". Arizona Capitol Times. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
An Arizona lawmaker invited a bulletproof vest retailer to do a demonstration at the state Capitol but canceled the event on Monday after a legislative lawyer advised him that making a sales pitch to lawmakers on state property was improper.
- Duda, Jeremy (14 August 2013). "Thorpe erases tweets, locks down Twitter account following racism accusations". Arizona Capitol Times. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
Rep. Bob Thorpe locked down his Twitter account, barred reporters from following it and erased several comments after Democrats and civil rights activists called several of his tweets racially insensitive ... Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, suggested on Twitter that Holder, who is black, was changing DOJ’s sentencing policies in order to give preferential treatment to black inmates.
- "Flagstaff lawmaker Rep. Bob Thorpe apologizes for offensive tweets". Associated Press, appearing in ABC 15 Arizona. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, rebuked Thorpe for the Medicaid email that prompted a public apology. Tobin's spokesman said he did the same thing after learning of Thorpe's latest action, calling him and telling him he was 'dismayed and disappointed' and suggesting he apologize ... Rep. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, said at some point Thorpe's actions go beyond inexperience. 'It's the same tactic that hardcore conservatives have been using for a long time, it's race baiting,' Quezada said. 'It's making people afraid of certain groups and using statistics that have multiple different explanations to justify fear-mongering.'