Whew…the primaries and national conventions are over, and its full-on campaign season locally and nationally. Scottsdale residents have a good track record of voter turn-out, and have witnessed many election season milestones over the decades.
Here’s some Scottsdale campaign and election history:
- The first ‘election’ of sorts in Scottsdale was probably to select residents to serve on the inaugural Scottsdale School Board in 1896; The Rev. Winfield Scott, John Tait and Frank Titus were chosen. In 1909 Scottsdalians unanimously passed the first school bond issue, a $5,000 measure to fund construction of the Scottsdale Grammar School (now home to the Scottsdale Historical Museum and affectionately called The Little Red Schoolhouse).
- Scottsdale founder and namesake Winfield Scott was elected to the Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1898.
- In late 1912 – months after Arizona achieved statehood – women were granted the right to vote in Arizona’s statewide elections. It wasn’t until the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enacted in 1920 that women gained the right to vote in national elections.
- Vice President of the U.S. Thomas Marshall (serving with Pres. Woodrow Wilson) and his wife Lois were seasonal residents during his two terms in office, 1913 to 1921. The Marshalls enjoyed their respites in Scottsdale, hosting several political rallies at their home just east of Scottsdale Road on Indian School Road.
- Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower all used the Roald Amundsen Pullman car that now permanently resides at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. Truman made one of his famous ‘whistle stops’ in the car in Phoenix during his 1948 Presidential campaign, and was visited by Lois Marshall, former ‘Second Lady.’
- The first election of Scottsdale Town Council members took place in May 1952 (the initial council had been appointed by Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in June 1951). The first time Scottsdale voters chose their mayor was in 1962 when Bill Schrader was elected (previously, the other elected council members chose one from among themselves to serve as mayor).
- Scottsdale voters passed several key bond issues to fund Scottsdale infrastructure in the 1960s and 1970s, creating the Scottsdale Civic Center (City Hall and Library) and the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt Flood Control Project.
- Hoteliers and other hospitality businesses promoted the passage of Scottsdale’s first bed tax in 1977. This occupancy tax, paid by visitors saying in hotels, has funded Scottsdale’s tourism promotion programs as well as supported tourism-related infrastructure.
- After years without a significant freeway system, Maricopa County voters passed a sales tax increase to fund a multi-billion dollar freeway system. Construction on the Loop 101/Pima Freeway adjacent to and through Scottsdale began in the early 1990s and was completed within 10 years.
- Arizona voters defeated a ballot initiative in 1990 that would have created a Martin Luther King Jr. paid holiday. After meetings and convention groups and tourists began cancelling plans to come to the area, Scottsdale’s hospitality and business community joined forces to promote a re-vote. The successful “Victory Together” campaign in 1992 created the annual January MLK Day holiday.
- Two U.S. Presidential candidates have had a strong Scottsdale presence: Sen. Barry Goldwater, who unsuccessfully ran against Pres. Lyndon Johnson in 1964; and Sen. John McCain, who unsuccessfully ran against Pres. Barak Obama in 2008.
- In May 1995, Scottsdale voters handily passed a ballot measure to modestly increase the sales tax by 0.02 percent to fund land purchases for the then-newly created McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Since the first purchases with tax funds in 1996, the Preserve has grown to over 30,000 acres.
~By Joan Fudala
Need voter information? See www.scottsdaleaz.gov/elections