The governors of Arizona – A look back

During this upcoming election year, we are faced with the task of choosing our new governor. As we look forward to the future changes, we also look back at previous Arizona governors and what they did while in office.

George W.P. Hunt: 1912-1917, 1917-1919, 1923-1929, 1931-1933

Started the Colorado River rights movement

Supported organized labor, women’s suffrage, secret ballots, income tax, free silver coinage, and compulsory education

Wrote and introduced House Bill 42 during which created what is now the Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona in Tucson

Thomas E. Campbell: 1917, 1919-1923

Arizona’s first native-born governor

Contributed to Arizona’s early-century infrastructure, linking mining towns to developing cities

Helped modernize the state’s tax and revenue laws

John C. Phillips: 1929-1931

Was instrumental in creation of a free county library system, the Colorado River Commission, the State Bureau of Criminal Identification and the Arizona Game and Fish Department

Benjamin B. Moeur: 1933-1937

Fought to fund Arizona’s New Deal programs

Mobilized the Arizona National Guard to stop the construction on Parker Dam because the dam had never been properly authorized

Rawghlie Stanford: 1937-1939

Dealt with the restoration of Arizona’s economy, which deteriorated during the Great Depression

Helped established the Federal Social Security Act, pass a minimum-wage law, and banished unfair sales practices

Robert T. Jones: 1939-1941

Coined the term “Valley of the Sun”

Helped shape Arizona into a tourism destination

Merged the offices of State Historian and State Librarian, passed a minimum wage law for public works employees, and regulated the paroling and pardoning of convicts

Sidney P. Osborn: 1941-1948

Ratified the Colorado River Compact

Created a retirement system for state employees

Reformed groundwater policy to stop over-pumping

Dan E. Garvey: 1948-1951

Signed law giving Native Americans the right to vote in Arizona

Presided over one of the largest growth periods in Arizona history between 1948-1951

John Howard Pyle: 1951-1955

Helped create the Underground Water Commission,

Helped establish the Arizona Development Board

Helped enact a Civil Defense Act

Ernest McFarland: 1955-1959

Helped prevent California from reneging on the Colorado River Compact

Worked with members of the Bureau of Reclamation to pick a location for the Glen Canyon Dam

Emphasized education

Paul Fannin: 1959-1965

Managed economic transition from copper and agriculture to manufacture and industry

Launched Arizona’s community college system

Increased funding for the public school system by raising sales taxes

Equalized property taxes

Established the first medical school in the state

Created the Arizona-Mexico Commission to promote tourism and trade across the border

Samuel P Goddard: 1965-1967

Embraced Fair Share program for needy school districts

Wrested budgetary control from legislature

Helped secure a reliable water source for the state,

Signed a bill banning discrimination on grounds of race, gender, religion and ethnicity

Established the state’s first budget office and worked to improve relations with the Mexican state of Sonora.

Jack Williams: 1967-1975

Arizona’s first 4-term governor

Keyed up Central Arizona Project

Helped employment rise by 50% during his term

Worked to minimize taxes, balance the state budget, and provide a favorable business environment

Raul Castro: 1975-1977

Secured federal highway funds

Mobilized the Navajo vote

Wesley Bolin: 1977-1978

Received first Liberty Bell Award in Arizona in recognition of his responsibility as keeper of the laws

Bruce Babbitt: 1978-1987

Authored Arizona’s Underground Water Act

Only AZ governor to complete two full 4-year terms

Evan Mecham: 1987-1988

Opened a trade office in Taiwan that allowed for a $63 million cotton export contract

Strengthened drug abuse prevention efforts

Spearheaded an effort to raise the speed limit on rural highways from 55 mph to 65 mph Supported a legislative bill to prevent takeover of Arizona businesses

Reduced state spending resulting in an elimination of $157 million budget deficit

Rose Mofford: 1988-1991

First female Governor of Arizona

Fife Symington: 1991-1997

Created budget surplus and kept taxes low

Jane Hull: 1997-2003

Embraced high-tech sector and laid groundwork for TGen

Lowered taxes while improving public school financing and programs

First female elected to the office

Janet Napolitano: 2003-2009

Pushed full-day kindergarten through legislature

First woman to serve as chair of the National Governors Association

Jan Brewer: 2009-2015

Placed AZ above strict party politics