The Noble and the Notorious
—A congresswoman who was bridesmaid to Eleanor Roosevelt
—A car dealer who propelled himself to the governor's mansion with the help of public recognition of his TV commercials
—An Arizonan who served not only as governor and chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, but also as the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate and chief sponsor of the GI Bill
—A cowboy who delivered speeches to ranchhands and went on to become a U.S. senator known as one of the great orators of the twentieth century
—One of four Arizonans who lost a bid for the presidency yet made the Gallup Poll as one of the ten most admired men in the world
—A secretary who became the first woman in the nation to sit on a state supreme court
For a state with a small population, Arizona has had an unusually strong presence on the national political scene. Barry Goldwater, Mo Udall, Bruce Babbitt, and John McCain made memorable runs for the White House over just the past four decades. Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under Kennedy, was the first cabinet appointment from the state. Attorney General Richard Kleindienst and Supreme Court justice William Rehnquist were controversial appointees of Richard Nixon. And Arizona claims two of today's nine Supreme Court justices—not only Rehnquist, now Chief Justice, but also Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman ever appointed to the high court. Not all of Arizona's politicians have garnered such distinction. Two of the state's last four governors of the twentieth century, Evan Mecham and Fife Symington, faced criminal indictments and were forced out of office.
Journalist James Johnson has written profiles of 21 men and women from Arizona who have made their mark in the political arena. Chosen for their contributions to the state, their national prominence, their colorful personalities, and in some cases their notoriety, these prominent public servants—from first governor George W. P. Hunt to current senior senator McCain—all have been major participants in state or national affairs. Congressman Mo Udall once commented on Arizona's "civilized brand of politics," in which Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, treated one another with mutual respect. Johnson conveys both the spirit and spiritedness of Arizona politics and reveals how in many cases these politicians and their family members found their lives and careers overlapping. He tells their stories with humor and objectivity, while political cartoonist David Fitzsimmons captures their trademark styles in original drawings.
Although the individuals may speak from different platforms, all have been proud to call themselves Arizonans and proud to serve their state. This book shares their accomplishments and shows how, for better or worse, they've helped put Arizona in the spotlight.
"Johnson has an ear for the humorous anecdote that makes this book a readable one. It contains most of Arizona's best political jokes-including, as [Mo] Udall used to say, the ones we've elected."—Arizona Daily Star