The highlight of ATRA’s Annual Meeting luncheon on November 19th was the presentation of the 2010 ATRA Watchdog Award to Senate President Bob Burns. Senator Burns is the seventh recipient of the award that ATRA instituted in 1990 as a way of recognizing an Arizona elected official for the often thankless job of opposing frivolous and wasteful spending of taxpayers’ dollars.
First elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1988, Senator Burns served 12 years there before being elected to the Arizona Senate in 2002. Through most of his service in the Legislature, he was a fixture in the Appropriations Committees, serving as the committee’s chairman in both Houses. He currently serves as the Senate President in the 49th Legislature.
The award was presented by ATRA board member Russell Smoldon, who noted that Senator Burns’ long career was almost singularly focused on advocacy for taxpayers’ rights and principled stands against wasteful spending.
Smoldon said, “Bob leaves behind a great legacy of statesmanship that every member of the Legislature should aspire to. He was always working on issues of statewide importance. Not because they were fun or easy but because good statesmen embrace the major challenges of the day. His entire career has truly exemplified all of the qualities that this award is intended to honor and support.”
In accepting the award, Senator Burns said “this is certainly a surprise and I am moved and very appreciative of the recognition.”