CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) — Longtime Arizona Rep. Frank Pratt has died following a long illness. He was 79.
Speaker Rusty Bowers announced Pratt's death on Tuesday, calling 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, according to his biography in a legislative guide published by the parent company of the Arizona Capitol Times.
Pratt had served in the Legislature since 2009, first in the House, then in the Senate before returning to the House at the beginning of the year. He was a loyal Republican and a quiet legislator who rarely spoke on the House and Senate floor.
On Christmas Day in 2010, Pratt was tied up and beaten at his business, found hours later by his worried wife, Janice Pratt. The assailant stole his Rolex watch and vehicle, and Pratt was hospitalized.
More recently, he missed many legislative days this year as he battled an illness.
“He was a trailblazer not just in Pinal County politics but also in life,” said Sen. T.J. Shope, a Republican who represents the same district as Pratt. “While most knew him to be a quiet type who played his cards close to the vest, I knew him as somebody of deep conviction and a firm belief in right & wrong.”
Pratt's 8th Legislative District includes parts of Pinal and Gila counties. Republican precinct committeemen will choose three candidates to replace him, and county supervisors will select a winner, who must be a Republican. The Legislature is not scheduled to be in session until January.