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SANTA FE — As part of this column’s centennial coverage, I take pleasure in talking today about my picks for New Mexico’s most colorful governors.
Most of this information you won’t find in history books. It is gleaned from personal memories or stories my father told as I was growing up.
Many of my father’s political stories were about Gov. Clyde Tingley who was elected governor in 1934 at the height of the Depression. His campaign theme had been “Order out of Chaos,” But Tingley, who mangled the English language, kept forgetting that chaos doesn’t rhyme with Taos.
Tingley’s idea was to solve New Mexico’s massive unemployment problems by getting as many of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs to New Mexico as possible. To accomplish this, Tingley went to Washington to talk with FDR personally.
Roosevelt was so taken with Tingley that during his 1936 reelection campaign, he took Tingley to several states to explain how the New Deal worked. Tingley got federal money rolling into New Mexico.
When he showed a traveling archbishop all the projects in Albuquerque, the archbishop remarked that the people should canonize him. Tingley’s answer: “They tried that last year and I beat ‘em 2-1.”
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