June 10, 2009
Host: Ted Simons
Arizona Women in Politics
- Heidi J. Osselaer, the author of “Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics 1883-1950," discusses her book and the remarkable women who helped shape Arizona’s political landscape.
- Heidi J. Osselaer - Author, “Winning Their Place - Arizona Women in Politics 1883-1950"
Ted Simons: Arizona produced Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. And in 1999 she gave the oath of office to five women who had been elected to the state's highest public offices. They were called the Fab Five and their success is attributed to a long history of Arizona women who ventured into politics. Some of their stories are told in a new book, "Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics1883 to 1950". And joining me is the book's author, Heidi Osselaer, a faculty associate in the history department at Arizona State University. Thanks for joining us on Horizon.
Heidi Osselaer: Thank you.
Ted Simons: I got to ask, up to 1950, how come?
Heidi Osselaer: Well, I think maybe for the reason that you mention in the opening there. 1950 was an important year for women in politics in Arizona. Just like 1998 was. In that year three women made history by running for state office, one was Jewel Jordan running for state auditor, and she won. One was Lorna Lockwood who became the first selected jurist in this state, Maricopa County Superior Court judge, and finally Anna Fromiller became the first major party candidate for governor in 1950, as a Democratic primary winner, surprised everyone. She did lose the election of course but came very close to becoming the first woman in the country to win on her own as a governor without coming in after her husband.
Ted Simons: And we're see something of the campaign material right there. That's fascinating stuff. Ok. We got to the 1950 part. Let's go back to the earlier years, talk about the women in the early days of Arizona and the early days of Arizona politics.
Heidi Osselaer: Well, it was interesting. They had a long bat to win the right to vote in Arizona, but Arizona like most western states was an early suffrage state theft to win that initiative in 1912 and the women who ran that campaign were convinced after so many years of fighting against the democratic and republican establishment that many of the men in the legislature really weren't interested in representing their ideas. So they started to think they were going to run for office. They did. Frances Willard Munds won in 1914, Rachel Barry woman from Apache County won and served in the house that year and women served every year in the legislature from 1914 to the president, except for one in 1924 when there were some reapportionment issues and willing moving out of the legislature.
Ted Simons: Who were these women did they come across in wagon trains? Born and raised here?
Heidi Osselaer: This surprised me. Most were western born or raised and I think this is what makes Arizona somewhat unique. It nationally ranks as one of the top three or four states for sending women -- electing women to political office. And what you see happening in this state is these women are educated. They are college graduates and they're born or raised in the west and that second generation of women that grows up living in frontier conditions is really pretty tough. For example, Frances Willard Munds grew up in Nevada and California and went to school back east, her classmates called her the Nevada wild cat because she was so outgoing. And when she came back here she taught school in Jerome. And in an abandoned saloon. On either side of her were two active saloons and every once in a while a drunk would wander into the classroom and start a brawl. So she also had students occasionally draw knives and start a fight in class as well. So I think when these women came to the state house in Phoenix they were kind of used to some of the wild activities that happened in an all male environment in state government.
Ted Simons: The suffrage movement a big factor in this, especially the early days, was the suffrage movement bigger in Arizona than other states?
Heidi Osselaer: I think it was a small quiet movement with a huge impact. They worked from 1890s until 1912 when they won the right to vote. Every year the initiative or the legislature considered a suffrage amendment, every year they turned them down, and finally when Arizona came a state, Munds, O'Neill, Brawley Hughes and other suffrage leaders went to the voters and put it on the ballot and won with 68% of the vote which is the largest popular vote in U.S. history for suffrage.
Ted Simons: I know the political machinations of this were fascinating as well. Suffrage women basically aligned themselves with everyone?
Heidi Osselaer: Everyone. Teddy Roosevelt publicly came out as the Bull Moose candidate and said I'm going to back suffrage in Arizona and Frances Willard Munds went to the democratic and G.O.P. leadership and said Teddy's going to vote for this. If you don't support our initiative in the fall election we're going to support him. And when we get the right to vote we are going to vote against the Democrats and Republicans. They feared her power and they bowed to her and said yes, we will do this and they came out and all the political parties in the state at the time backed the suffrage amendment along with all the labor unions and all the editors of the state newspapers. She had cultivated their wives as members of the suffrage association and so those newspaper editors came out for the suffrage amendment.
Ted Simons: Did these women by doing this and succeeding in this way, and basically doing some pretty bare knuckle politics here, was there a backlash?
Heidi Osselaer: No. And in fact there was a little fear of them initially because Frances Willard Munds came out in 1914 and started to run ads in local newspapers around the state saying don't vote for so and so, he didn't support suffrage, vote for his candidate who's a better friend to women. And so if anything the men had to back off a little bit. They were reluctant to invite women on to the political party campaigns and to the committees of the Democratic and Republican Party at first, so women decided, you know what? We're going to run. And we're going to represent women's interests in the legislature.
Ted Simons: There are so many fascinating characters in your balk. I want you to talk about Nelly Bush, who's she.
Heidi Osselaer: She came from Missouri as a child, grew up in Mesa, taught school in Glendale, and when she married her husband went to California to get a job and ended up, well, he kind of got thrown off a railroad train he hadn't paid fare for in Parker, Arizona, right on the California border where the Colorado River is. And he bought a ferry boat business. In those days the Colorado was not tamed and they had ferry boats taking people across the river. He sent for Nelly to come to Parker and it was 1915. She was six months pregnant. She got off the train and it was out in the middle of nowhere, 35 people lived there, no paved roads, no running water, no electricity. She said my husband's lost his mind. And she resolved to go back home. She spent the night crying and then finally decided to stay and she spent the rest of her life until she died in 1963 in Parker, and they built a water company and electric company and made sure there was running water and electricity. She was president of the bank, and then she started to run for office. She was a school teacher, on the school board, she was justice of the peace. And in 1916, 1918 I believe it was, and she was told as a woman you really can't have that job because you are overseeing burials and inquests and that's no job for women and she said how is that harder for me than for a man?
Ted Simons: Fascinating. We have a photo of Frances Munds as well, I know the photo has a story in and of itself. Talk to us about this.
Heidi Osselaer: When she came to the legislature, state senator from Yavapai county. Her youngest daughter Mary Frances was still in grade school. She came down with her mother. This is a big problem still for women in politics, what do you do with your children when you're away from home campaigning or in the state legislature, so she brought her daughter and every day after school her daughter would come down and do her homework by her mother's knees in the state senate and she was such a fixture down there that when Frances Willard Munds had her official portrait done for the state senate, her daughter was in that portrait.
Ted Simons: That's great stuff. We have about 30 seconds left, so very quickly, how difficult was it to find information on these people?
Heidi Osselaer: It's tough. Women don't tend to keep their records and it's hard. We don't have a lot of election material either, at the lower levels. I looked at the county and the state legislature mostly and you have to go through years and years of microfilm to get even determine who ran for election, who won, and then go through obituary files and census data to figure out where did they come from, who were these women.
Ted Simons: It's great stuff, Heidi, thanks for joining us again. The name of the book is "Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics 1883 to 1950", Heidi Osselaer, thanks for joining us.
Heidi Osselaer: Thank you.
Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
- Todd Sanders, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce talks about what the Chamber is doing to help its members make it through this tough economy, and he shares his perspective on the state budget.
- Todd Sanders - President and CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Ted Simons: The business community is watching the budget process closely to see how it will affect Arizona's business climate. Earlier I spoke with Todd Sanders, president and C.E.O. of the greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the state's largest and oldest chamber with over 3,000 members. And Todd, thanks for joining us on Horizon.
Todd Sanders: It's my pleasure, thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about your membership. The members of the greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce who are they?
Todd Sanders: Well, we're the largest chamber in the state of Arizona, about 3400 members, really just a really broad diverse cross-section of our state. And so you can see on any given day you could see a plumber, you could see the sign printing folks, the large community leaders of our state like S.R.P. and A.P.S., it really is just about everything you can imagine in the state of Arizona.
Ted Simons: The benefits of a regional chamber of commerce as opposed to individual smaller units.
Todd Sanders: Well, I think for us having that large membership is really important because we can provide, you know, that value proposition, what's important to the folks across our region, in a very effective way. The other place where I think that's really important is the fact that when we're supporting our members at the state legislature, that voice in government, having the voice of such a broad cross-section of our state is really important.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about that voice. What is that voice calling for at the capitol?
Todd Sanders: Well, you know, we're looking at a wide range of issues this year. Clearly I think the 900-pound elephant in the room is the state budget and that is important. There's no question. But on a yearly basis there are some issues that are big for our members, one example is healthcare, healthcare costs are going up every year and the fact that there are more and more folks that are uninsured is a big issue for us, so lowering the numbers of uninsured folks in the state of Arizona is a big priority for us. Workers comp is another one, everyone has to have it, you have to have workers comp insurance but the rates have been creeping up so that's another area where our members ask us to engage for them.
Ted Simons: It's a big area of engagement for everyone it seems at the capitol right now, as you mentioned, it is the budget. But the concept of taxes, whether a one cent sales tax as the governor calls, no tax increase at all, as republican leadership calls for, where does the chamber stand on this? And how do you play that dynamic between taxes obviously, you want to keep them as low as possible for business and members, yet you want services and education to be up to snuff?
Todd Sanders: Right. And you don't see it, Chamber of Commerce jumping up and down to increase taxes, right. That is, you have to strike that balance and we're still grappling with that. We're looking at what the governor has proposed, the state legislature, I think for us some of the important parts of the budget have to include the recognition we're spending more than what's coming in. Cuts have to be meaningful but smart. We can't jeopardize the federal funds that are really a lifeline for us right now and I think you need to plan for the long term. You can't just look at this says a one off solution where we get by year by year. And finally the issue of sort of this photo-radar tech solution we saw last year, expecting 120 million to come in and scored it that way and it never came in. So we need to be careful and practical about what kind of revenue enhancement solutions we're thinking of doing.
Ted Simons: As it stands right now the budget passed by the legislature not yet presented to the governor, but passed by the legislature, is it the kind of thing your membership wants to see?
Todd Sanders: Parts of it, they do, absolutely. With regard to the spending as expects of it there's no question, again, that we're spending more than we're bringing in, so the fact that there are some deep cuts in there and a recognition of that is important to us. There is -- there are some tax policies in there very important to us in terms of business property taxes. There are certain parts important to us and we believe in, as well as the governor's budget.
Ted Simons: Another aspect of tax policy, getting the once over twice at least in areas around the legislature, tax incentives, and we've seen a big case with City North and these things, where does the chamber come down on that?
Todd Sanders: I think done properly and I think it's easy to look at one or two examples that maybe are looked at in the media and maybe don't really represent what those incentives can really do. I think if you do it smart, I was down at the state legislature as a research analyst for seven years and I've seen where you can apply incentives in a good way that will stimulate the economy, bring good jobs, and at the end of the day will be a net benefit in terms of the general fund.
Ted Simons: Some of your members say it's not fair, they're getting a break, I'm not?
Todd Sanders: Yeah, there is that and there is some legislation going through right now I think that's going to deal with that and that's going to have to be something that if we actually see bills get up to the governor and really move back and forth between the house and senate that we're looking at.
Ted Simons: Brings to mind the question of taking care of a variety of interests within the membership. How much of a challenge is that?
Todd Sanders: Well, it's tough. Right now if you just look at stepping away from the political a little bit, given the fact we do have 3400 members, we're looking at ways we can really provide the tools for them to not just survive right now but really succeed. So we looked at sort of a back-to-basics value package that make our businesses succeed like marketing, like sales, like accounting, and we've had every one we've done, every symposium has been sold out and members are asking for more, so it is back to the basic premise, what makes the economy run.
Ted Simons: Is that the key right now? It's sufficient a tough economy and everyone is struggling, is back to basics the goal here? Or there are other dynamics at play, when things are so bad and so many folks out there within your membership are saying we need some help.
Todd Sanders: No, no question that there's a lot more we can do. That's one of those things, but yeah, the basics of what makes the economy run are really important to recognize. We've also heard from our members and reacted to the fact that they want to be able to have more of those business-to-business opportunities, as a matter of fact on the 26th of June we're doing a day expo at the Kierland in North Phoenix where you'll have an opportunity to see 150 businesses out there doing the business-to-business contact, making new contacts and getting new clients so there's some of that as well.
Ted Simons: So there is some hope among membership in these relatively dark economic times.
Todd Sanders: There is, I've been going out to see hour members and it's amazing I'll go see one and they'll say business is great, and I think we're going to see that more and more and we're hopeful for the state of Arizona. I'm really bullish on our state.
Ted Simons: Very good, Todd, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.
Todd Sanders: Thank you.
- Jim Small from the Arizona Capitol Times delivers the latest news from the state capitol.
- Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to horizon. I'm Ted Simons. Lawmakers and the governor are a billion dollars apart when it comes to the state budget but this week they're trying to come together on a plan to fix the state's budget mess. Here with more is Jim Small, a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, Jim, always good to see you, thanks for joining us.
Jim Small: Thanks for having me, Ted.
Ted Simons: We're hearing little birds making little rumors that there could be a tentative budget afoot. How real are we here?
Jim Small: I think it's partially true. Republican legislative leaders, Senate President Bob Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams and staff people were meeting with the governor's office yesterday, from what I understand they met there through 9:00 last night. They met again this morning. They were supposed to go back in this afternoon to have more meetings. So they're obviously working and they're working very hard on trying to get a budget formed that, you know, they can get buy in from the legislature and governor's office. And what came out today was senate president Burns told some reporters, well, we've got a tentative deal on this tax component of the budget and of course Governor Brewer's been asking for a billion dollar increase in the sales tax or billion dollars in tax revenue which would be gained by a 1 cent increase in the sales tax, and so, you know, president Burns said that and they kind of sent reporters scurrying everywhere to find out what was going on. Best we can figure out is that was one of the things they talked about yesterday in their meeting. They were looking at a tax component and there's some sort of discussion about putting something on the ballot in the fall, letting voters decide whether they want to tax themselves an additional penny on things that they buy, and but not using that money in the upcoming fiscal year, in the 2010 year, like the governor had proposed, instead you'd balance the budget through a variety of other methods and then you would collect that money for the last half of the fiscal year, save it up, use it as a nest egg, use it to pay off any growing deficits or use it in the next year after that to offset any cuts you're making, so it's kind of a compromise between tax right away and no taxes at all.
Ted Simons: Ok, it sounds like, you know, could be a compromise, but then again were people jumping the gun a little bit by saying tentative, tentative deal's reached here.
Jim Small: I think so. There's certainly no deal reached on the entire budget. They're still meeting. They still have to talk about every other component of the budget and frankly even if, you know, the speaker and the president and the governor agree to this one part about a tax increase, the legislative leader still has to go back to their memberships and sell it and try to get the votes needed to do something like that, and as we saw last week, that is going to be a tall order, I mean, you have a very strong resolve amongst republicans to not raise taxes at all, I mean, they passed a budget that may, you know, made deep cuts and did a lot of things maybe they didn't want to do like selling prisons and variety of other maneuvers in order to avoid just this scenario.
Ted Simons: Talk about the governor's response to legislative leadership, passing a budget but not giving it to her to either sign or veto.
Jim Small: Well, when they -- when legislative leaders met with her Monday, the first day back at the capitol after passing that budget last week, she asked for that budget and they politely declined and said no, we'd rather hold on to it now. And obviously there's politics being played here. If they send her the budget, she's made no bones about the fact it's going to get vetoed and sent back down. They don't want that to happen I don't think, because one of the things it does is makes them start the process all over again. They have to pass every one of the 10 budget bills again in a new form that would be negotiated later. The way it is right now, by holding onto these bills, what they set themselves up for is creating a single called a trailer bill, just one bill that goes up afterwards that would basically amend things that are in the bills that have already been approved, so they could send those all up at once and the governor could sign them all and, you know, combined together they make this new agreed upon package.
Ted Simons: The governor obviously not too thrilled with this particular technique, what about rank and file? G.O.P. rank and file specifically, I think the Democrats aren't all that crazy about it either. Republican rank and file, are they on board with this particular style?
Jim Small: I think for the most part, because I think it was important to lawmakers to send a message to the governor that said we don't want to raise taxes and we don't like the fact that this is a major component of your plan is raising taxes to get through this problem. We think there's other ways to do it, whether it's cutting, whether it's some short-term borrowing or any combination of those. You know, so they certainly are at a point where they don't necessarily want to be involved in tax discussions. I think it's going to be foisted upon them at some point. Either this year or next year, the state's revenues are dismal and even if the economy starts to pick back up it's not going to translate immediately into increased revenues and enough to cover what state government costs right now.
Ted Simons: Which is a lot of the message the governor has been trying to get out there, including a public forum yesterday. Talk to us about this, again how this was received in the legislature.
Jim Small: Yeah, this was a forum that the governor held I think four, five hours long, and she invited different stakeholders and agencies and stuff to come in and talk about what effects the Republican budget plan has on the jobs that they perform. And a lot of it was very similar to some appropriations hearings we'd had earlier this year with some added commentary from the governor, and stuff like that. But at the legislature I think a lot of people initially saw it as kind of a retaliatory ok, you passed this budget I don't like so we're going to come out here and put this in your face, I don't think it was taken all that well. Seemed to be most of the reaction was this was a very one sided meet asking a beat 'em up for the Republican budget but obviously the leadership is still meeting right now. So I don't think they took it too personally or it wasn't something that derailed the talks that are going on.
Ted Simons: Ok, talks going on, all this is happen, and the senate moratorium on bills is lifted. Is it crazy times down there?
Jim Small: Yeah, it's basically, you know, it's kind of like January or February down there, where committees are hearing bills, except you're trying to cram three months worth of bill hearings into ostensibly three weeks. The senate already said they're meeting Fridays, they're going to meet this Friday and work and debate bills on the floor and there's plans to meet and do the same thing next Friday. There was a rumor going around yesterday, people are so concerned about this, there was talk there might have been attorney memo the senate was going to be working on Saturdays and work on the July fourth holiday if they needed to, to wrap this stuff up. That stuff hasn't actually surfaced and been made public yet, if it even exists, but I mean that's what people are kind of looking at here is pedal to the metal going as fast as you can to wrap this up.
Ted Simons: With that in mind, the mood down there, optimism, apprehension, confusion?
Jim Small: I think right now people are probably a little bit confused because in some respects there's work done now that hasn't been done all year long. It's been a very odd session. People have been kind of sitting back and waiting for things to kind of get going and waiting for the process to begin in earnest and same in the house, even though they did their committee work in some floor action up to this point, they held off on a lot of it. They kind of rationed bills out for floor discussion and now they open up the flood gates this week, we've already seen 60 bills and there's probably going to be another 20 or 30 tomorrow and it will probably be that way every day for the next couple weeks.
Ted Simons: Keep you busy if nothing else. Jim, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.
Jim Small: Thanks.