Morgaine Ford-Workman/The Copper Courier Rep. Bret Roberts
Morgaine Ford-Workman/The Copper Courier

This is part of a series from The Copper Courier highlighting the Arizona legislators involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection or the events leading up to it. Read the rest here.

Rep. Bret Roberts was born in Ohio and moved to Arizona in 1999. He previously worked in mortgage financing and law enforcement as a detention officer for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. He was elected to the Arizona Legislature in 2018 and sworn in the next year, representing portions of Pinal and Pima counties.

Contributions to the Insurrection

Roberts was a fixture at a November daylong hearing at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix as Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis continuously made unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in Arizona’s election.

He repeatedly called the results of the election into question on social media. 

Roberts signed on to a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to accept 11 “alternate” electoral votes for Trump or to have all of the state’s electoral votes “nullified completely until a full forensic audit can be conducted.”In the weeks since, Roberts signed onto a number of bills that could impact voting in Arizona, including one bill that aims to prohibit same-day voter registration and another that would make automatic voter registration illegal.

How You May Have Heard of Them

Roberts has been a vocal critic of efforts to turn cities into sanctuary cities that would protect lower-priority undocumented immigrants from deportation, typically by limiting local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration requests.

After voters defeated an initiative to officially designate Tucson as a sanctuary city, Roberts introduced a bill aimed at perpetuating the anti-immigration narrative that immigrants are intrinsically criminals despite evidence showing they are half as likely to commit violent crimes than U.S.-born citizens. The bill would find any city or town that adopted sanctuary-city policies liable for damages against victims of crime committed by undocumented immigrants.”

Level of Involvement: The Copper Courier identified Bret Roberts as one of a number of lawmakers that helped shape the culture and heightened tensions that led to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
Denzel Boyd/The Copper Courier

“Although these efforts failed in Tucson, it is only a matter of time before liberal activists in other parts of Arizona attempt to replicate this effort,” Roberts said, referring to the nationwide efforts to create sanctuary cities. “For this reason, I have introduced this bill to strengthen the law and hold cities, towns, and counties who ignore our state laws civilly liable for releasing illegal immigrants into our communities.”

The bill ultimately failed

During a 2021 hearing for a bill that would create a National Day of Racial Healing, Roberts—who is a white man—said he did not experience any privilege due to the color of his skin.

He voted no on the bill.

He is up for re-election in 2022.

Roberts isn’t alone. See the others who played a role in the insurrection.