Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Photo Flashback: Ingram B. "Seven Foot" Pickett 

The history of New Mexico politics is populated with colorful characters who left indelible images. Surely, one of them was Ingram B. "Seven Foot" Pickett.

Here he is pictured in a campaign brochure as he successfully sought his second, six year term on the old State Corporation Commission (SCC) whose modern successor is the Public Regulation Commission (PRC).

Pickett served in the 1950's and proved to be one of the state's most popular politicos of the decade. It didn't hurt that upon taking office he removed the hinges to his office door as a symbol of transparency.

In 1956 Pickett challenged Gov. John Simms for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He narrowly lost but the challenge may have played a role in Simms' defeat to Republican Ed Mechem.

The late author and newspaperman Tony Hillerman wrote that Pickett was a driver for NM Governor Thomas Mabry when in 1950 he was put in the corporation commission race as a means to draw votes away from a challenger who was a threat to the governor's favored candidate, but Pickett proved so popular he beat them both.

His height was such a political plus that Pickett went to court to have his name legally changed to Ingram B. "Seven Foot" Pickett. Like a true politician, Pickett didn't let it bother him that he actually was one inch short of the seven foot mark.

Pickett's campaign slogan was "Big enough to serve you, Small enough to need you." That summed up his towering presence and populist appeal that earned him a chapter in the never ending book of La Politica.

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