Senate President Bob Burns Ousts Taxpayer Champions From Key Positions

From Patrick Gleason on Thursday, July 9, 2009

Last night Arizona Senate President Bob Burns, in what is viewed by many as a legislative temper tantrum,  booted two colleagues in leadership from key posts. Senator Thayer Verschoor (R-Gilbert) was ousted from his position as Senate President Pro Tem and Senate Majority Whip Pamela Gorman (R-Anthem) was removed from the Rules Committee.

Their crime: Defending taxpayers from a massive tax increase pushed by an unelected governor in the middle of a recession.

It has been a sad state of affairs for Republicans in Arizona this year. There was hope among many that years of fiscal irresponsibility would end with Governor Janet Napolitano being replaced by Republican Jan Brewer. Yet in a move that left many puzzled, Brewer came out of the gate early this year with a proposal for the aforementioned multi-billion dollar sales tax increase. Now true conservatives such as Gorman and Verschoor are being punished for not supporting the Governor’s tax hike.

Verschoor will be replaced by Senator Steve Pierce (R-Prescott). Gorman’s replacement on the rules committee has yet to be named.

Americans for Tax Reform condemns Burns’ actions. ATR urges Arizona taxpayers to contact their representative in the legislature and urge them to join Verschoor and Gorman in standing up against the chocolate soldiers who are pushing to the Brewer-Coughlin tax hike. CLICK HERE to take action!


  1. Steve Pierce is not exactly laying down on this issue, there is more to the story.

  2. MaricopaGOP says

    I have respected and supported Steve Pierce in the past. However, if he agrees to replace Verschoor as President Pro Tem, he is aiding and abetting Burns’ childish tantrums to the detriment of the caucus and the citizens of this state.

    Pierce needs to stop enabling Burns. It is like buying beer for an alcoholic. Instead, Pierce would do all of us a favor by leading the charge for a new President.

  3. Ann is correct. Anyone who has been following the lege knows these two have been stabbing Burns in the back all session long. It’s surprising Burns didn’t take action earlier.

  4. Diogidog says

    Bob Burns and the rest of the tax and spend Republicans need to look closely in the mirror at their coveted self-infused “Conservative” credentials.

    The Governor, Burns and the rest of the tax and spend R’s are fraying at the edges … Sure hope those fraying threads don’t get too close to each other, as they may tie themselves all up into a big, ugly, obvious

  5. MaricopaGOP says


    Your statement is just totally false in every way possible when it comes to Verschoor. Gray and Gorman are the two that have consistently had press releases and public comments, caucus confrontations, and other actions negative to Burns. Verschoor did not participate in any of those events.

    Get your facts straight before you agree with Ann. By the way, Ann always says something along the line that there is more to the story than is being told when she has no other documentation for her position – but she never reveals her super secret information that no one else knows.

  6. Oh puleeze! There is no super secret information. It is obvious; if it is an issue generated move, why would you replace someone with a very similar someone else? Unless, of course, that is not the compelling cause.

    I agree with you on Gray/Gorman; one more reason to say, there must be more to the story.

  7. MaricopaGOP says

    Simple – Gray wants to be President next term and has caved to the Burns demand for servile obedience in order to maintain his position of leadership.

    Verschoor and Gorman are not people who would give their word in advance to support any position Burns took, regardless of its impact on the rest of us. Obsequious following of the President was not on their campaign literature.

  8. kralmajales says

    Again…your party controls the Senate, House, Governor, Treasurer, Supt. of Public Schools, etc. All committees and committee staff, rules committees, etc are GOP controlled. All state agencies in the Executive Branch are controlled by GOP leader Brewer.

    Keep blaming yourselves and pointing the finger at each other because your party is to blame.

  9. Any bets down on how long before the is an Albany-style coup at the Copperdome?

  10. Ann,

    Wrong again. Burns made the move to cave to the left(pro-sales tax increase) of his caucus. Mark my words if and when that sales tax increase comes through rules again, Pierce will be right there with Burns. If I am wrong, I will gladly admit it.

  11. So, Verschoor didn’t vote for the budget until he got his $20 million for the Road to Williams Gateway? I understand that. But it doesn’t really give him conservative credentials, does it? And it ought to give the anti-tax people pause as well.

    Gorman is apparently a very undisciplined person. Maybe she’s conservative, and maybe not so much, but as a member of the R caucus she should know better than to take on a chairmanship job if she’s not going to cooperate with the guy that appointed her.

  12. Burns and Pierce have the conservative credentials. There is more to this story.

  13. 50GreenDodge says

    Ol’ Blackheart is a straight shooter. I’ve known him 25+ years and I would trust him on anything.

    All this “more to the story” is just filler, code for “we don’t know what.” There is ALWAYS more to the story when you have a group of erstwhile adults who spend so much time together as a condition of being an elected official.

    There is, first, what we see every day. Then, second, there are extracurricular activities – people away from home, being feted by various organizations and lobbyists. Things get said. Things get done that few talk about.

    Remember AZScam? I was around the Legislature at that time, and there was absolutely NO buzz about what was going on until it hit the papers.

    That’s what I mean by “more to the story.”

    What others mean… ??

  14. I agree.

    “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Not their own set of facts.” The solution is to go ask ’em. Then decide.

  15. MaricopaGOP says

    Green Dodge

    Blackheart says that Jan Brewer in this pressure cooker is not like the person he has known for 25 years. Likewise, many are seeing him do things in this pressure cooker that is not like the person they have known for many, many years.

    When he throws tantrums, alienates his friends and takes precipitous actions that leaves all concerned shaking their head, he needs to step back, admit his mistakes, and clean up the collateral damage he caused.

  16. MaricopaGOP,

    I think your take on Burns is right. One day he opposes the tax increase, the next he’s there with it. The pressure, I suspect, is getting to him.

  17. From the outside, it looks like Gorman, especially, wanted the title of leader, but wanted to carry out her own agenda. You can’t have it both ways. The opposition to tax increases was ineffective, because there was no articulation of any thoughtful alternative, other than “no”. When one assumes a leadership post, there is a broader responsibility than just personal aggrandizement. Verschoor I don’t get, unless he said one thing and did another.

  18. MaricopaGOP says

    And how do you explain the fact the Chuck Gray escaped when he went public with Gorman earlier in the session against the Prez as well as voting against the tax referral in Rules?

    Did Burns have another motive for removing Verschoor. There is something here that smells.

  19. As I said in the beginning…there is more to this story. There has to be.

  20. I suggest that you read the article in Seeing Red to find Ann’s “rest of the story”. It is an unseemly story of back room treachery, seemingly irrational actions fed by a vicious grab for personal power.

    Some of these people need to be recalled, starting with Burns.

  21. LiberalWatcher says

    Pamela Gorman needed to have her soap box jerked out from under her.
    She’s all bluster but at the end of the day is doing nothing but positioning herself as the pretty person to vie for the CD3 seat.
    She spends half her time in Chicago with her boyfriend and the other half being a critic.
    She’s long on rhetoric but if her skirt were brains, it would show she’s easy on the eyes but lacking in intellectual substance. Burns was overdue in making the move.

  22. It appears that Burns was actually protecting her from a coup on her Whip position by Pierce. He was calling for a closed caucus next Monday to remove her from that position.

    Saw on Seeing Red that she was responsible for Burns’ election. Removing Verschoor created a space for Pierce and his quest for additional power while protecting Gorman.

    What a vicious, backstabbing crew. Meanwhile, they take junkets to Atlanta for a week instead of working on a 4.5 billion budget deficit. Seems they only have time to advance their personal agendas instead of what they were elected to do.

Leave a Reply