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October 10, 2018

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Good God ! The contrast between Carolyn Warner and Diane Douglas.

Passing on (Gov) Warner, we stepped off a cliff and didn't know it.

This is a wonderful eulogy. She was andwill remain an exceptional woman and a guide in my life. Thank you.

She was on Arizona Horizon recently and it did my heart good to hear THAT voice.

Carolyn Warner was a class act, gracious and supportive to local Democratic women -- even newbies like me. She belonged to my legislative district, and I was always aware when she entered the room. She had that kind of charisma, that presence. I remember getting a hug from her once, and I said, "Us deep-voiced gals gotta stick together!" She threw her head back and laughed that inimitable laugh - What a thrill! Got invited to sit at her table once at a state committee meeting. I could barely eat, I was so nervous and such a fan. How sad for Arizona and for our nation that she was born too soon. What could have been. I am sorry for your personal loss as well, Jon.

The family friends I mentioned earlier were Mountain Shadows residents!! I also remember she had a wicked sense of humor when around Dr. Jack (McFarland)!!

Jon, sorry for the loss of your lifelong family friend. I too held Ms. Warner in great esteem. I remember reading that Bill Schultz, who had dropped out of the Democratic primary because of an illness in the family (his daughter, I think), decided to insert himself into the 1986 general election as an independent. I remember yelling aloud, "No!" One of my young children at the time had a good laugh at my outburst. As you know, that stupid move by Schultz led to the rise of the most inadequate gubernatorial candidate of all time, Ev Mecham, who won the general with 39.7% of the vote. If Schultz hadn't screwed things up, delivering the election to Mecham, Ms. Warner would have won easily and become Arizona's first woman governor. I hope Schultz, who finished a distant third, was ridden out of the Democratic party on a rail. (Interestingly, four of the six governors since the Mecham Fiasco have been women.)

I didn't know Carolyn Warner personally but I met her once at her Bartlett Estates house in 1987. This was during the tumultuous Mecham recall - I was part of that effort and she was looking for our endorsement. The legislature wrested the issue away and Rose Mofford got the crown, as it were.

Warner was a solid politician in the Arizona tradition of conservative Democrats. She was friendly with DeConcini and a mentor to the up-and-coming Paul Johnson. She was gracious and warm in a way that subtly suggested Old School. She was not really loved by the TV babies who by that point were a majority of Arizona's citizens - her hair pulled back tightly into a bun gave her a somewhat severe look that could never translate to "telegenic". But she was certainly authentic in a way that today's canned and packaged politicians can't begin to fake. She lost because Arizonans then as now are largely misogynistic and graded her negatively for her voice and appearance.

I want to mention WR Schulz, the man who ran as an independent and denied her a victory over veteran wackadoodle Ev Mecham. He nearly beat Barry Goldwater in 1980, a race that wasn't decided until the day after an election that Reagan won in a landslide, so his close race raised quite a few eyebrows. Schulz was known for his empire of apartment complexes but not as a public figure. His near-victory then was based only on his brilliant TV ads, which showed the calm and warm candidate talking pleasantly into a camera. For some reason, he didn't choose to replicate that strategy in 1986 and his ads were forgettable and pointless. Those two races constituted the sum total his political career and public life.

Right-wing craziness really didn't take off in Arizona - and the nation - until the 1990s when both the Gingrich revolution and Fox News changed our political terrain forever by instituting Total Political War. But in 1988, it was the Republican state legislature led by very conservatives figures like Jim Skelly and Robert Usdane who decided Mecham's fate. Today, Mecham would have survived easily.

Carolyn Warner like so much of Arizona from that period passed into oblivion. Her upward career arc crashed and was superseded by increasingly strident culture warriors on the right. Even J Fife Symington, the high-toned real estate developer from east-coast pedigree and wealth, played the game, convincing Joe Sixpack that he would never tolerate his sons at Phoenix Country Day School being taught by a gay teacher. Jane Dee Hull succeeded that felonious worthy but found herself one step out of line with the new zealotry.

Time to inject a fun fact: Symington saved Bill Clinton's life when as college students he rescued the injured Clinton from drowning. Clinton repaid the favor in 2001 and pardoned Symington for his crimes.

I feel a little sad thinking of those days. Arizona was a much, much better place than today, but we can't hold back the clock and all our days our numbered. Warner happened during a different era before our nation completely went off the rails in search of a devil to vanguish. It turned out that devil was all of us who lived in places that we neither loved nor protected nor curated. We don't care and we never did but that doesn't lessen the need to find a plausible scapegoat for our demoralization. The Old School is closed for our duration.

"Warner was a solid politician in the Arizona tradition of conservative Democrats. She was friendly with DeConcini and a mentor to the up-and-coming Paul Johnson. She was gracious and warm in a way that subtly suggested Old School. She was not really loved by the TV babies who by that point were a majority of Arizona's citizens - her hair pulled back tightly into a bun gave her a somewhat severe look that could never translate to "telegenic". But she was certainly authentic in a way that today's canned and packaged politicians can't begin to fake. She lost because Arizonans then as now are largely misogynistic and graded her negatively for her voice and appearance."

Thank you. Well-said.

Jon, your comment about Carolyn sneaking into church is spot on. She also tended to sneak out before the last hymn was done also, so it was almost six months into my tenure as her pastor at First Phoenix before I met her. She introduced herself to me (though I already knew who she was) by sticking out her hand and saying "I'm Carolyn Warner and I am a recovering politician." She was an amazing woman,quietly supportive financially of good causes and emotionally supportive of persons (and pastors) who stuck their necks out to make controversial changes. I was blessed to have known her.

So sorry for your loss. Wish I could have met her.

RIP Carolyn Warner. I was so fortunate to get to know you. I admired your intelligence, candor and quick wit. You made Arizona a better place to live.

As Soleri says,Mecham would do well in today's Republican party. How sad is that.

Mecham IS today's Republican Party.

Rest in power, Carolyn! Fond memory of meeting Carolyn Warner (in passing) while she was running for governor, and after, at this or that fundraiser. She was as funny and warm and passionate as her friends here are saying. Agree that her gubernatorial loss clearly marked an Arizona turning point—through no fault of hers!

I still turn to her book, “The Last Word: A Treasury of Women’s Quotations,” when I need to pepper my writing work with some wisdom. Reading her new book will be bittersweet.

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