By Terri Jo Neff |
Longtime Republican state lawmaker Frank Pratt died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 79.
“Frank Pratt did it all – public servant, business owner, rancher, farmer and family man,” said Gov. Doug Ducey, who ordered flags at all state buildings lowered to half-half on Wednesday to honor the Florence native. “He was one of the good guys, and we’re lucky he called Arizona home.”
Pratt, who lived in Casa Grande, was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in November 2008 to serve the citizens of what was then Legislative District 23. After district boundaries were redrawn, Pratt went on to win a House seat in November 2012 of what is now Legislative District 8 across parts of Gila and Pinal counties.
In 2016, Pratt handily beat his Democratic Party opponent to serve LD8 as state senator. Then last November, he won election to return to the House.
Pratt earned extra admiration from his fellow Republican caucus members earlier this year for the dedication he showed during the legislative session, participating daily in House business despite his illness.
“The honor, integrity, and high ethic by which he conducted himself in his service is incomparable,” House Speaker Rusty Bowers said Tuesday in announcing Pratt’s passing. “He loved what he did and wouldn’t let anything stop him from doing it. He never quit.”
Pratt chaired a variety of committees at the Legislature, including the House Judiciary, Senate Transportation and Technology, and the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources. He was named Legislator of the Year by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce in 2010, and he enjoyed the support of groups like the National Rifle Association and Fraternal Order of Police over the years.
Among those issuing condolences is the Home Builders Association, which called Pratt “a true statesman who looked out for the interests of Pinal County and above all this great state.” The Greater Phoenix Chamber also weighed in, noting Pratt’s “demeanor, leadership and friendship will be sorely missed at the Capitol.”
A statement from the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association recalled Rep. Pratt’s love for his community and all of Arizona. “We are incredibly grateful for his service and leadership,” the group tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Janice and his family.”
Sen. T.J. Shope, who served LD8 with Pratt, tweeted that everyone is better off because of his friend’s hard work on behalf of Arizonans.
“Whether it was on his ranch or farm, his successful business, or in the Legislature, he conducted himself with the type of honor & dignity we should all aspire to,” Shope said.
Pratt’s term runs through the end of 2023. In the coming days, the Arizona GOP chairperson will provide formal notice of the vacancy to all elected Republican precinct committeemen (PC) of the Pinal County portion of LD8 where Pratt lived.
Those PCs will have 21 days to nominate three Republican electors who meet the statutory requirements for the seat and who reside in the LD8 area of Pinal County. The Pinal County Board of Supervisors will appoint one of those nominees to fill the remainder of Pratt’s term.