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Rusty Bowers to receive Presidential Citizens Medal for role defending Arizona elections

By Katherine Davis-Young
Published: Thursday, January 5, 2023 - 2:22pm
Updated: Thursday, January 5, 2023 - 2:46pm

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Rusty Bowers
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Rusty Bowers in 2018.

It has been two years since rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol, attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In a White House ceremony marking the anniversary Friday, President Joe Biden will award the Presidential Citizens Medal to 12 individuals who stood up for democracy during the insurrection. One of the honorees will be former Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers.

During the insurrection, Bowers resisted pressure from some fellow Arizona Republicans to decertify the state’s electors. As House Speaker, he also killed a bill that would have allowed Arizona lawmakers to reject election results. Later, Bowers testified before the U.S. House Jan. 6 Committee.

Bowers told KJZZ’s The Show he’s been surprised by recognition from those on the left.

“I don’t feel I did anything heroic at all, I did what I was supposed to do, and I’ve been pilloried by many of the Right for doing that, which I’ve found unbelievably ironic," Bowers said.  

Last summer, the state Republican Party censured Bowers. He then lost his bid for state Senate in the 2022 elections.

This will be the first time Biden has awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal. It’s one of the nation’s highest civilian honors. Other honorees will include election workers and members of the Capitol police. 

Politics