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Arizona lawmaker pushes for a monument to Russell Pearce

By Matthew Casey
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 6:39am
Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 6:47am

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The bust of Don Bolles
Amanda Luberto/KJZZ
A bust of Don Bolles at the Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix, which has been deemed a historic site in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists.

A pair of bills introduced at the Arizona Legislature aim to build a monument near the Capitol to a slain investigative journalist.

Don Bolles was fatally wounded in a 1976 car bombing in midtown Phoenix while investigating the mafia.

But at least one GOP lawmaker thinks an icon to anti-immigrant extremists should get a marker instead.

The murder of Bolles, who endured multiple amputations until dying almost two weeks after the bombing, is one of Arizona’s darkest chapters. 

Now some want a monument to Bolles put on a plaza near the Capitol.

In a recent House Republican caucus hearing, Rep. Barbara Parker called on colleagues to instead plan a statue to honor the late former state Senate President Russell Pearce. 

Russell Pearce
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Sen. Russell Pearce in 2009 discussing policy with colleagues in the Senate Republican caucus.

“Who is a patriot here in Arizona, who fought for many of the finest laws that we have that we’re building upon,” said Parker.

The 2010 “show me your papers” law which Pearce is most famous for requires local police to act as immigration enforcers.

But much of SB 1070 was thrown out by federal courts.