CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — Longtime Arizona Rep. Frank Pratt has died following a long illness. He was 79.
Speaker Rusty Bowers announced Pratt's death on Tuesday and called the Casa Grande Republican "an irreplaceable figure in the Arizona state Legislature."
Pratt was a farmer and rancher before forming a swimming pool construction business in 1986.
Pratt had served in the Legislature since 2009, bouncing back and forth between the House and Senate.
On Christmas Day in 2010, Pratt was tied up and beaten in a robbery at his business. Pratt's 8th Legislative District includes parts of Pinal and Gila counties. He must be replaced by a Republican.
Senator T.J. Shope met Pratt about 15 years ago when he was first making his run for the State House of Representatives. Both are from Florence and both represented legislative District 8, which includes parts of Pinal and Gila counties.
Shope says they were more than just colleagues, they were friends. “Somebody I could always reach out to and just go spend a little bit of time on his couch, sitting down with him in his office or what have you, and talking about the issues of the day,” said Shope.
Shope also looked up to Pratt as a mentor, saying he was quiet but passionate on issues he felt could make a positive impact. “He raised his hand and said, ‘Okay, well, I'll do it,' and that was sponsoring one of Governor
Jan Brewer’s biggest efforts, which was to expand Medicaid in Arizona back in 2013. He was, you know, very much of the belief that Arizona tax dollars that would go to Washington, D.C., should be brought back to Arizona,” says Shope.
“He understood his role as an elected official and that's not to get out there and be brash and brag about things, but to roll up your sleeves and get to work. He was that kind of guy,” says Stephen Miller, Pinal County Board of Supervisors, District 3 Supervisor.