Russell "Rusty" Bowers
Russell “Rusty” Bowers is an American politician. He was the 54th Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives. He assumed office on January 14, 2019, and concluded his tenure in the Arizona legislature in January 2023.
During his service, Bowers refused to cooperate with the illegal attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election when he publicly stated that there was no evidence of election fraud that would mandate rejection of the results of the 2020 United States presidential election in Arizona. He testified to The National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex. The Arizona Republican Party censured him following his testimony.
He also killed a bill in the Arizona House of Representatives that would have allowed the state legislature to override the results of a presidential election in Arizona.
For “courage to protect and defend democracy in the United States and abroad,” he was one of the five recipients of the 2022 Profile in Courage Award.
On the two-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack, Bowers was given the nation’s second-highest civilian honor. U.S. President Joe Biden awarded Bowers and 11 other individuals the Presidential Citizens Medal at a ceremony in Washington. The 12 recipients each “demonstrated courage and selflessness” surrounding the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The honor is awarded to “citizens of the United States of America who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.”
Prior to his service as Speaker, Bowers was a member of the Arizona Senate from the 21st district from January 1997 to January 2003. He served in the Arizona House of Representatives from January 1993 to January 1997.
In February 2022, he filed paperwork to run for the Arizona Senate in the 10th district; however, he lost in the primary election in August.
Bowers was born on October 20, 1952, in Mesa, Arizona. He attended Mesa Community College, Arizona State University, and Brigham Young University, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
He works in watercolor, oil painting, and sculpting. He has also been involved in the construction and education industries.
He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a full-time mission in Mexico.
Bowers and his wife, Donetta, have seven children.