Morgaine Ford-Workman/The Copper Courier Rep. John Fillmore
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. John Fillmore was born in Idaho. He served in the Vietnam War and later relocated to Arizona. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2011 to represent District 16, which covers portions of east Mesa and Apache Junction. He lost in 2014 and 2016 before winning in 2018 and was re-elected in 2020. He also runs a small chain of retail stores selling evaporative coolers, fireplaces, and other items.

Contributions to the Insurrection

Fillmore attended multiple “Stop the Steal” protests in the weeks leading up to the insurrection. He also 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.”

Since the insurrection, Fillmore has signed on as the primary sponsor of a bill that would limit voting by mail to only those who physically cannot vote in person while also cutting the number of in-person polling locations. 

Level of Involvement: The Copper Courier identified John Fillmore 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

He’s also a co-sponsor on several other bills that could impact voting in Arizona, including one that would require voters to present a photo ID to be added to the permanent early voting list, and another that would make it a felony to affirmatively send an absentee ballot to anyone not on the permanent early voter list.

How You May Have Heard of Them

Fillmore came under fire after comparing transgender people to farm animals during a hearing on a bill that would prevent people from identifying as anything other than male or female on state documents.

Fillmore, who sponsored the bill, said he wanted to avoid some of the “identity ambiguousness” that was “overrunning the country.” He made transphobic comments about transgender men using women’s bathrooms and compared gender nonconforming people to animals.

“What’s gonna happen when someday someone wakes up and they wanna go to a far extreme and identify as a chicken, for crying out loud? Where do we draw the line?” Fillmore said.

He’s facing multiple ethics complaints in connection with the incident. 

Following the insurrection, Fillmore told The New York Times that he wasn’t concerned with dropping party numbers, comparing it to a “cleansing.” He told the publication he was more concerned about purging those who criticized former President Donald Trump.

In 2020, Fillmore faced criticism for comparing mandating wearing a mask to tattooing Holocaust victims. 

He is up for re-election in 2022.

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