State Capitol News
Fri February 22, 2008
Remembering Ev Mecham
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – The only Arizona governor ever to have been impeached, convicted
and ejected from office, died late Thursday. Arizona Public
Radio's Howard Fischer reports.
Ev Mecham was elected in 1986 by running as a political outsider.
But he ran into a firestorm almost from the day he took office
for rescinding an executive order creating a paid state holiday
for Martin Luther King Jr. as well as his comments some
considered insensitive, like saying black children don't mind
being called pickaninnies. Grant Woods, who later became Attorney
General, said Mecham brought unwanted national attention to
Arizona, a state he said which had been known for people like Mo
Udall, Barry Goldwater and John Rhodes.
(And all of a sudden all we were hearing about was Ev Mecham. And
the things he was saying and the image he was portraying was very
negative for the state.)
But what ultimately resulted in his ouster was the Legislature
finding him guilty of two charges: obstructing justice for
telling the director of the Department of Public Safety not to
cooperate into an investigation of death threats involving two
aides, and loaning $850,000 of inaugural ball receipts which had
been in a "protocol fund'' to his own Pontiac dealership. Mecham
made another bid for office against John McCain in 1992 but spent
many of the years afterwards hawking a self-published book
entitled -- quote -- Wrongfully Impeached. He was 83.
For Arizona Public Radio, this was Howard Fischer