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David Bradley, former legislator from Tucson, dead at 69

David Bradley, former minority leader in the Arizona State Senate and a behavioral health expert, died Saturday at age 69. He served in the Legislature across nearly two decades, in the House from 2003 to 2011, and in the Senate from 2013 until following the 2020 election.

In addition to his 16 years as a lawmaker, Bradley was a longtime leader in mental health care in Southern Arizona, working as the development officer for La Frontera Arizona and CEO of La Paloma Family Services.

Bradley, who was born in Seattle, served in the U.S. Navy for eight years in the 1970s, and earned degrees in psychology and counseling from the University of Maryland and Old Dominion University. He also eared an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Gov. Doug Ducey ordered that flags across the state be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sunday in his honor.

"During his time in the Senate, he lived as an example that working across the aisle, for a common good, benefits all Arizonans," Ducey said. "Whether by expanding educational opportunities for foster kids, addressing the opioid epidemic, or passing the Drought Contingency Plan, he made a lasting impact on our state."

Bradley "had an unwavering dedication to serving the people of Arizona, and we honor his life and years of public service. He was a true statesman who made a positive impact on the lives of many Arizonans across our state," Ducey said.

Bradley "died in California surrounded by his family," state Democrats said.

Bradley "was a respected statesman and mentor to those following in his footsteps," said Rep. Domingo DeGrazia, a Tucson legislator who serves as the House Democratic whip. "It goes without saying that he was a skilled lawmaker, but he will also be remembered for the kindness and dignity he showed to others. With a big heart and humble demeanor, he would always lift up the accomplishments of his colleagues without mentioning his own. He worked tirelessly to find help for kids and families through years of tough budget decisions. We will miss him most in difficult political times, because in tough situations he always had a joke and a kind smile that put people at ease and helped discussions move forward." 

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Supervisor Sharon Bronson said he "was perhaps best known for his service to the people of Arizona in the Legislature, serving in both the House and the Senate for 16 years. But we in Pima County know him best for his more than 30 years working for nonprofits aiding disadvantaged families and people struggling with substance abuse and addiction. He was a kind and gentle man who could also fight like a lion for what is right and just. He was, in a word, a mensch and I will miss him."

Bradley was also a past chair and vice-chair of the Pima County Democratic Party. He was the top Democratic leader in the state Senate in his final two years in office, 2019-2020.

In 2010, he unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission. He then returned to the Legislature, ousting incumbent Sen. Frank Antenori in the 2012 election. Bradley first entered politics in 1992, losing a race for a state House seat. He also lost a House race in 2000, before succeeding in his next election.

Bradley is survived by his wife, Debra D'Amore, their four children, and six grandchildren. Services are pending.

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David Bradley