Friday, May 22, 2015
Clyde Tingley appointed Dennis Chavez to the US Senate seat held by Republican Senator Bronson Cutting who died in a plane crash while traveling to Washington. It’s interesting to note that the artist shows Chavez embarking for the nation’s capital by train instead of by plane. (Chavez was elected to the U.S. House in 1930).
The cartoonist gently pokes fun at Chavez’s chances at competing with the success Tingley had in bringing federal projects to New Mexico during the Depression years of the 30’s. Tingley’s close relationship with President Roosevelt was key to his success as both Governor and during his time as ABQ’s de facto Mayor.
If the assumption was indeed that Chavez could not compete with Tingley’s success, Dennis Chavez proved the cartoonist wrong. He went on to a US Senate career that brought massive amounts of federal largess to the state, including the construction of the two national laboratories and the expansion of the state’s military presence. As chairman of the Senate Public Works Committee he flexed his muscles for New Mexico.
Chavez’s career was bookended by senatorial appointments. As we mentioned, he was appointed to fill the Cutting vacancy. When he died in office in 1962 GOP Gov. Mechem had his lieutenant governor—Tom Bolack—appoint him to fill the Chavez vacancy. When Mechem sought a full term in 1964 he was defeated by Democrat Joseph Montoya.
The Tingley accomplishments listed in the cartoon still stand—the Zoo, Tingley Beach etc. They have been updated and modernized but remain a constant reminder of the generation who built Albuquerque from a rural farming community into a major city.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author