Do You Really Know Russell Pearce?

One day, Russell Pearce will live on in the many books that will be written about him. He will be honored for demonstrating extreme courage under extreme, sustained pressure. Do you possess the ability to think and to reason? Do you recognize courage when you see it? When you see it, doesn’t it strengthen you to carry on no matter what?

From: Talmage Pearce []
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2011 11:56 AM
To: undisclosed recipients:
Subject: Biography of Russell Pearce

I’m sure that you are all aware of the recall election this year and many of you may have very strong opinions for or against Russell, while others of you might not have an opinion either way.

Whether you love what Russell stand for, know him personally, or believe the negative fabrications that have so efficiently been propagated by the Arizona Republic, cheap labor groups, the Democratic Party, and Randy Parraz’ group, the biography I am attaching below is very well written and I can testify that it is 100% correct.

If any of you have heard negative propaganda on Russell’s character, I urge you to ask me about it so that I can tell you what is true and what has been fabricated by the media. As Mark Twain so eloquently put it, "If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed."

~Talmage Pearce

From Attorney Mel McDonald: I have known of Russell since his days with the Sheriff’s Department, and have followed his career through the years. We actually became very close in 2002. Russell was driving home from work along McKellips Road and saw a small girl who had escaped from her back yard walking down busy McKellips towards a canal. The road, at that time, was under construction. Russell jumped out of his car and ran and grabbed the little girl before she fell into the canal. He took her to his car. He looked down McKellips and saw a police car that had stopped for purposes of an accident. He took the little girl to the Mesa police officer. Her frantic parents later found her as they were running down McKellips Road looking for their daughter. CPS took an action against the parents, citing them for neglect. Senator Pearce appeared at the hearing. The parents, who were my clients later, won the action filed by CPS and were able to recover their attorneys fees in defending the action. I saw in Russell, at that time, a kindness and gentleness that I had never seen before that date.

I would like to share some of his personal life history. From a very difficult and challenging childhood, he has emerged as one of the genuine leaders of this state and our nation in our day.


Russell Pearce was born on June 23, 1947, and is one of thirteen children in a blended family. He is a fifth-generation Arizonan on both his mother and his father’s side. His family has long served the public interests of Arizona and its people. His Great, Great Grandfather Harrison Pearce built the Pearce Ferry on Lake Mead (now under water). His Great Grandfather James Pearce founded Taylor Arizona in the 1860’s. His Great Uncle Joe Pearce was one of the original Arizona Rangers serving from 1901-1909. His brother Lester Pearce was a state Senator in the 1990’s and is currently a Justice of the Peace and two of Senator Pearce’s sons are in law enforcement. His nephew Brent Bretz is an Iraq veteran where he lost both legs and many other severe injuries in a roadside bomb while defending freedom. Brent’s Mother and Senator Pearce’s sister Kathy Pearce runs a program for seriously injured veterans and travels in promoting awareness and gaining support for our returning injured veterans.

Russell’s youth was tough. His family was poor and his father was an alcoholic without a steady job. This caused the family to move from one squalid rental home to another. This story was related in an Arizona Republic article that his father “was a good man, but he had a struggle with alcoholism.” His father’s instability forced his mother to work and raise not only all of the children, but as Senator Pearce puts it, his Mother had to raise the kids and their father as well.

Pearce describes his mother as “a saint.” He does not ever remember going to bed when she was not up still working, or getting up when she was not already up working. Her integrity, do-it-yourself attitude, and sense of personal responsibility influenced Pearce’s core political beliefs and molded him into the man that he is today. In an Arizona Republic article, Pearce recounts how as a child, upon returning home one afternoon with his family, they discovered groceries left by a good Samaritan (a relative he is sure). Despite the helpful and necessary gift, Pearce’s mother refused to let her children touch the groceries, explaining, “it was her job to raise her family.” Consistent with that belief, though they could have used the help, his mother “never took a penny from government or anybody else that Senator Pearce could remember.”

After high school, from 1967 to 1969, Pearce went on a church mission in the Northeastern United where he, among other things, worked on projects to beautify neighborhoods and tended to the elderly and sick. While serving in the Easter States Mission, he was recognized for his hard work as he does at anything he believes. Senator Pearce has always put God, Family and Country above all else and walks the talk. He believes that America is not only a choice land, but believes God had His hand in the Making of America. Senator Pearce loves his studies of the Constitution and our Founding Fathers, and loves to speak of the miracles in the Making of America and the struggles to get this Republic that is based on agency and God given rights not to be tampered with by government, but to be protected by government.

Throughout his youth, Pearce dreamed of becoming a doctor but due to financial constraints, instead, upon returning to Arizona, opted to join the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, his second career choice. He served in the Sheriff’s Office for over twenty-one years from 1970 until 1991.

Pearce joined the National Guard as a junior in high school and served for eight years and received an honorable discharge.

Senator Pearce revered the police badge and justice was important to him, an issue which has helped define his political career. He believed public safety was the government’s number one responsibility, next to the protection of one’s liberty. He worked all aspects of law enforcement from deputy through Chief Deputy.


One event, in particular, on July 2, 1977, defines Pearce and his time with the Sheriff’s Office. While patrolling in Guadalupe, Pearce spotted three teenage gang members carrying what appeared to be beer and after confronting them, the teenagers were uncooperative and one of them instructed his Doberman to attack Pearce. While struggling with the dog and one of the teenage subjects, the dog’s owner, another teenager, seized Pearce’s .357 Magnum. Pearce smacked the dog with his flashlight and let get of the one teenager and grabbed for the gun, as the teenager aimed and shot. The bullet dismembered Pearce’s right ring finger before it slammed into his chest. Pearce was not wearing a protective vest. Despite his life-threatening wound, he continued his efforts and was able to wrestle one of the teenagers into his squad car. While calling for backup, Pearce realized the severity of his wounds, yet continued pursuing the other two teenagers who were still in possession of his gun. For his work, dedication and consistent demonstration of bravery in this and other related events, Pearce received the Medal of Valor, the highest award given in law enforcement for exceptional bravery. (Note: Senator Pearce has two sons in law enforcement, both highly decorated, Sean with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and Colten with Gilbert Police Department. Sean was critically wounded in a gun battle with an illegal alien, while servicing a homicide warrant.) Senator Pearce and his son Sean are the only father and son in Arizona to both have received the Medal of Valor.

The remainder of his time with the Sheriff’s Office was productive and celebrated. He was nominated several times as Deputy of the Year and Young Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. In addition to, and despite his full-time job and struggling to raise a family, Pearce earned his Bachelor of Arts in Management from the University of Phoenix in 1981, and later was recognized as the University of Phoenix Alumni of the Year.

Pearce worked all areas of law enforcement, including the SWAT (TOU) team, lake patrol, warrants, civil, patrol, training, records, special assistant to the Sheriff and liaison to the legislature, Sheriffs, County Attorneys and others in his assignments.


In March of 1991, Russell left the Sheriff’s office after he was appointed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to establish and lead the new North Mesa Justice Court, soon rated one of the most efficient courts in Maricopa County. .


After a brief eighteen-month stint as Justice of the Peace, Pearce returned to law enforcement as the Chief Deputy of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in 1993 for Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Pearce became known for his political savvy, budget awareness, and fiscal responsibility, while directing the operations of the fourth largest sheriff’s office in the nation, and as Chief Deputy, he was also responsible for overseeing the 4th largest jail in the United States. One of his accomplishments was to create and implement “Tent City” which received national attention and awards for saving millions of dollars in new jail construction costs and, as Pearce says, “our soldiers live in tents, our boy scouts live in tents and they have done nothing wrong. I guess it is ok for inmates to live in tents.” Pearce wrote and lobbied for the Arizona Automated Fingerprint identification (AFIS). AFIS is a high speed, high capacity image processing system that enhances the ability of the latent fingerprint examiners to search and identify crime scene evidence. Hailed as one of the best and most innovative law enforcement tools for catching criminals, Pearce crafted the system with fees and fines from convicts.

But his resourcefulness did not stop there. Upon learning that Arizona was the leading state in the nation for auto thefts, he created the Arizona Auto Theft Authority and funded it by assessments to insurance companies, requiring no taxpayer dollars. In 2006, the Auto Theft Authority received a national award for being the most effective of its kind in the country with lowering rates and with a return of over 1300% on every dollar spent.

Pearce co-created the Youth Assistance Foundation to generate positive interaction between youth and law enforcement, raising over a half million dollars and benefiting thousands of youth at risk in its first year.

Other accomplishments include helping to create a self-funding system to offset the taxpayer’s cost to housing inmates, cooperating with the FBI to create the “Desert Hawk Fugitive Force” (one of the most successful in the nation), and writing and implementing some of the toughest DUI legislation in the nation. Pearce also helped develop the very first helicopter aviation program to aid law enforcement and Search and Rescue efforts in Maricopa County.


In February of 1994, Pearce became the Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, continuing his get-tough law enforcement policies. He expanded the DUI Task Force into a statewide effort, promoted alcohol “Zero Tolerance” for youth under 21, and received national recognition and a national award for an Hispanic outreach program to reduce DUI’s and underage drinking.


In 1995, Senator Pearce was asked by Governor Symington to become the Director of the Motor Vehicle Department, an offer which he accepted, with an agreement with the Governor to “really” change MVD to make more sense and more customer friendly and less costly. His skills as an efficient manager and budgeter were on display when he eliminated the need for more than three million annual transactions and reduced wait times for MVD customers from over two hours to about twenty minutes. His innovations saved the MVD over $10 million annually in administration costs.

In another effort directed at saving the taxpayer time and money, Pearce implemented “Service Arizona,” the first program of its kind in the nation to renew vehicle registrations and other transactions online, 24/7 from the comforts of your home. “Service Arizona” has proven extremely successful (over 2 million annual transactions), meriting an E-Business award from IBM, the first and only presented to a government agency in the world.

While Director of MVD, Pearce consulted with the Governor in creating the GITEM (Gang, Intelligence, Training, Enforcement Mission) a state wide task force to combat the growing gang violence in Arizona. And then as a legislator expanded to include illegal immigration enforcement and changed the name of GIITEM (Gang, Intelligence, Immigration, Training, Enforcement Mission), and grew to cover the entire state within border enforcement emphasis and grant money for local law enforcement (to over 250 officers).


After leaving the MVD in August of 1999, Pearce became a Pro-Tem Judge for the Maricopa County Justice Courts. , Pearce was recruited and did campaign as a Republican to become the State Representative of District 18 (formerly District 29). . Pearce felt it was his duty to his country to become a state representative so that he could, with common sense and resourcefulness, make government smaller and more efficient, balance the budget, reduce the burden on taxpayers, and preserve liberty. The voters of District 18 in November of 2000 agreed and elected him to represent them in the Arizona House of Representatives.


Soon after he was sworn into public office, however, he suffered a heart attack, a year later followed by a stroke. Yet Pearce refused to resign, and within a few days after his stroke, was back at work at the Legislature. . This attitude and work ethic has been present throughout Pearce’s time in office as he has worked tirelessly on the behalf of District 18 and the citizens of our State.


Senator Pearce has become known as a committed public servant, with his love for the Constitution, liberty, advocating for lower taxes, freedom from government intrusion and restrictions, parental rights, school choice, property rights, excellence in education and his support of law enforcement. For many years while in the Legislature, Pearce served as Appropriations Chairman and was responsible for a balanced budget and eliminating the worst, structural deficit in Arizona’s history. Pearce remarked about his chairmanship as Appropriations Chair, “I am the gatekeeper, not the gift giver,” again demonstrating his respect for families and the taxpayer.

Under his leadership, a $500 million tax relief for taxpayers in Arizona has achieved. He authored and shepherded legislation for the largest tax relief package in state history. For his efforts on taxes, Pearce has been awarded “Hero of the Taxpayer” by the National Organization of Americans for Prosperity. Furthermore, he was the only Arizonan and only one of seven legislators nationally to receive the “Hero of the Taxpayer” award from the American Tax Reform Association. Similarly, the Arizona Tax Payers Association has consistently rated him as the number one “Friend of the Tax Payer.”

Pearce has been instrumental in protecting private property rights and guaranteed constitutional liberties. He was one of the prime sponsor of legislation to stop abuse of Eminent Domain by public entities and to protect private property rights.

Senator Pearce sponsored SB1108, also known as “Freedom to Carry Act,” which allows law abiding citizens their Constitutional right to carry, open or concealed guns in the process of receiving an A+ rating from the NRA and a top ranking from the Arizona Citizens Defense League, making Arizona the number One state in the nation for Second Amendment freedom.

Pearce was recognized by the Goldwater Institute as the number one legislator who “proved to be the strongest ally… against government encroachment on liberty.”


While Senator Pearce is best known for his work on behalf of taxpayers , he is quietly lauded for his compassion. For example in 2006, Pearce sponsored HB 2371 that provided funding for children with autism to “increase programming capacity for those affected by autism and improve the quality of service they receive” (Southwest Autism Research and Resource magazine Outreach, 29). As described in the SARRC magazine, Pearce “understood the fiscal ramifications of long-term cost avoidance for autism services and had deep compassion for the pain that many families with autism are experiencing” (Outreach, 29).

Similarly, this year (2011), Pearce was honored by Arizona School Public Relations Association for his outstanding contributions to public education. Additionally, in a ceremony at Arizona State University, Pearce was named a “Champion for ASU” for his support of students, their families, and higher education. And, without describing every achievement and every award, he was honored by the Arizona Technology Council for protecting and advancing Arizona as a top tier technology state several years in a row. He was also given he "Apple Award" by Parents for Education as he continues to work on achieving high results for education, while supporting Parents rights in educational choice.


But possibly Pearce’s greatest and most controversial achievements are associated with illegal immigration, supported by an overwhelming majority of votes in Arizona and across America. Pearce has introduced and authored several propositions against illegal immigration.

He believes, “that you have to have permission to enter this country just like you have to have permission to enter my home.”

His unwavering persistence has seen Pearce author of Prop 200 in 2004, a “Citizens Initiative” which Senator Pearce wrote and obtained enough signatures to get on the ballot, also known as Protect Arizona NOW. Prop 200 requires proof of citizenship to register to vote, requires ID at the polls, and requires proof of eligibility and legal presence in the U.S. to obtain public benefits. Prop 200 passed overwhelmingly at the polls. Prop 100 in 2006, which prevents individuals who are here illegally, who commit serious crimes, from being released on bond (passed by 78% of Arizona voters); Prop 102 in 2006 which prevents the same from receiving punitive damages, passed by 75% of voters; Proposition 103 in 2006 making English the Official Language of Arizona, passed by 72% of the voters; the Arizona Legal Workers Act in 2007, and, of course, SB1070 in 2010. The result has been a drop in violent crime three times the national average, a huge decline in K-12 enrollment, and a decline in jail and prison population, along with protecting American jobs and a huge cost savings to the taxpayers of Arizona.

Then in 2011 a huge state’s rights victory in the U.S. Supreme Court on a 5 to 3 decision on Pearce’s Employer Sanctions legislation called Arizona’s “Fair and Legal Employment Act.”

Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting

The Court said: “Our precedents ‘establish that a high threshold must be met if a state law is to be pre-empted for conflicting with the purposes of a federal Act.’ That threshold is not met here.”

The Court also rejected the Chamber’s (ridiculous) argument that Arizona’s law would be too effective in promoting law enforcement, by imposing too large a penalty. The Court said: “Of course Arizona hopes that its law will result in more effective enforcement of the prohibition on employing unauthorized aliens. But in preserving to the States the authority to impose sanctions through licensing laws, Congress did not intend to preserve only those state laws that would have no effect.”

Arizona’s “Fair and Legal Employment Act” will prove to be one the most effective and non-discriminatory laws enacted anywhere in the United States. It will truly prevent illegal aliens from obtaining permanent employment in this state and will serve as an example of real comprehensive immigration reform for the rest of our nation.

The disinformation campaign on HB2779 would have made a Soviet propagandist proud. The politicking regarding Arizona’s worksite enforcement law is at a full swing, it is creating real concern with the illegal employers, ACLU and the open border crowd. In his decision to refuse to block HB2779 Judge Wake said, "Those who suffer the most from unauthorized alien labor are those whom federal and Arizona law most explicitly protect. They are the competing lawful workers, many unskilled, low-wage, sometimes near or under the margin of poverty, who strain in individual competition and in a wage economy depressed by the great and expanding number of people who will work for less.

Most controversially by some, Pearce’s SB1070 in 2010, otherwise known as “Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act” which, at the time it was passed, was the broadest and strictest act against illegal immigration in the country. Since then, many states are modeling legislation after SB 1070 that removes all “illegal sanctuary” policies in the state of Arizona, taking the illegal political handcuffs off from law enforcement and requires the police to check the immigration status of an individual whom has already been stopped for another reason, if the officer has reason to believe that person is not in the country legally. It contained specific language prohibiting racial profiling. Some felt this was targeting Hispanics, but Pearce’s motives were once again focused on the interest of Arizona and enforcement of the nation’s border. As often stated, “illegal is not a race, it is a crime.”

Pearce remarked, “We must have the courage – to enforce, with compassion but without apology, those laws that protect the integrity of our border and the rights of our citizens.”

Pearce’s intentions as an elected representative of the people and throughout his over forty years in public service have always been to be “fair, honest, efficient, effective, innovative, passionate, assertive and loyal to the citizens and taxpayers [he] serves.” Pearce’s colleagues regard him highly.

GOVERNOR BREWER: “I have known Russell for over two decades; a dedicated law enforcement who was shot in the line of duty, a fiscal conservative who has consistently been a voice and a vote for decreased government spending, an uncompromising advocate for State’s Rights and now a national leader in our fight to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and to secure our border. His unwavering dedication to enforcing the rule of law will help save our country from an Obama administration dedicated to undermining our nation’s immigration laws. Until the rule of law is established on both sides of the Arizona-Mexico border there will be no peace, no future economic opportunity and no hope or resolving these issues undermining Arizona’s continued economic prosperity.”

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO: “As a Sheriff’s Deputy, Russell was shot in the line of duty. His son was also shot in the line of duty by an illegal immigrant. The Pearce family has put their lives on the line to protect us.”

TOM HORNE, Attorney General: “Senator Pearce has given law enforcement the tools to do the job President Obama refuses to do – secure our border. This includes authoring SB1070, requiring voter identification at the polls, and making it illegal for employers to hire illegal immigrants.”

JOHN HUPPENTHAL, Superintendent of Public Instruction: “Russell has consistently supported accountability in the classroom and school choice. He is a great supporter of education and making sure each child receives a quality education.”

DOUG DUCEY, Arizona State Treasurer: “Russell Pearce is a strong fiscal Conservative who has led the effort in the state senate to cut wasteful spending and balance the state’s budget. It’s why the Arizona Taxpayer Association recognized him as a “Champion of the Taxpayer” and the American Tax Reform Association called him a “Hero of the Taxpayer.”

BAY BUCHANAN of Team America (former Secretary of the Treasure, under President Ronald Reagan): “Let me be clear about this. Russell Pearce is the most effective legislator on immigration issues in the country….state or federal! For starters, he is the architect of SB 1070—the most effective piece of legislation against illegal immigration ever written and passed. It is so powerful a tool against illegal immigration that Open Borders Obama is suing Arizona in federal court to try and block it!”

ARIZONA POLICE ASSOCIATION – (APA) has chosen State Senate President Russell K. Pearce to be an Honorary Member of the APA. "Livingston concluded. This is the first time a legislator has received such an honor, President Pearce has a long and distinguished career as a law enforcement officer (Former Chief Deputy with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and as a Judge in Arizona). He has two sons in law enforcement also. As a Deputy Sheriff, President Pearce was critically wounded by gang members in Guadalupe (shot in the hand and in the chest with a 357 magnum), his son Sean Pearce a Deputy Sheriff was also critically wounded in a gun battle by an illegal alien wanted on homicide charges. President Pearce and his son both are recipients of the Medal of Valor for exceptional bravery in the line of duty and may be the only Father and Son team in Arizona to have both received the Medal of Valor the highest award given in law enforcement. President Pearce is a national figure in many battles, including securing our borders and enforcing our laws, he is the author of Prop. 200 in ’04, Prop. 100, 102, and 103 in ’06, Employer Sanctions in ’07 and SB1070 in 2010 that is loved from coast to coast by 70% of Americans.”

GARY PIERCE, Chairman, Arizona Corporation Commission: “I have personally known Russell Pearce for more than 40 years. He has made an honest effort to improve education and make Mesa a safer place to live. As Senate President, Russell led the charge to pass a truly balanced budget without borrowing or accounting gimmicks. Russell Pearce played a key role in legislation that will lower taxes and bring quality jobs and prosperity back to Arizona.”

ROC ARNETT, president of East Valley Partnership, says “[Pearce] is very dogmatic, he’s very driven with what he is doing.”

TOM FREESTONE, a veteran East Valley politician, finds Pearce to be “very thorough, very well-studied” and “one of the best presenters [he] has ever seen.” Furthermore, Freestone believes Pearce “is very respectful, even if he disagreed” and always “true to form.”

Today Pearce currently continues his public service in the Senate where he was elected by his peers to serve as President of the Senate. .


He and his wife LuAnne currently have three of their grandchildren, under the age of five, who live with them in their 1100 square foot home in Mesa. Every morning he wakes up to the sounds of his three energetic grandchildren and describes the comfort he feels when his littlest grandchild, Tatum, seven months old, smiles at him.