8/5/2014 1:35:00 PM Editorial: Crandell leaves a mixed-bag legacy fitting for Arizona
Sen. Chester Crandell
Chester Crandell was an Arizona old-timer but he was a relative newcomer to state politics. From the Verde Valley perspective, he was still in a getting-to-know-you phase when he died unexpectedly Aug. 4.
Redistricting brought Crandell to the Verde Valley during the last election. He had been a state representative for two years in his old district and was shifting over to run for state senate - successfully. The new District 6 changed his constituency, but it did not seem to change him.
Though the Navajo County native was an unknown quantity for the Verde Valley electorate, the R beside his name had a lot of pull. So did his background.
He was a rancher and a family man. He also had a master's degree in Education Leadership from Northern Arizona University after earning his degree in Agriculture Education from the University of Arizona. He worked in education for 30 years and had been superintendent of the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology.
Obviously, education was a passion. In that field, he could be counted on to educate other legislators on how public schools and school boards actually operate, even if they hardly seemed to listen. He knew the funding mechanism for education in Arizona had to change and wanted to make that happen.
Crandell loved Arizona and really loved the idea of state sovereignty. Perhaps too much. Whenever there was a push to give the Arizona Constitution more power than the U.S. Constitution or to give state officers authority over federal officers, Crandell could be found in the midst of it.
Sen. Crandell was also about to test the shifting waters of Arizona politics. A staunch Republican when many voters were changing to "unaffiliated," he had no opponent in the upcoming Primary Election but would have faced off with popular independent Tom O'Halleran in the General Election. It had the makings of a fascinating campaign, as last month's local forum proved.
The Verde Valley did not get a chance to know Sen. Crandell all that well, but he leaves a legacy that fits Arizona - one of zeal, practicality and controversy. He died with his boots on, which might be considered appropriate. What he leaves in his wake will continue to determine Arizona's future.
Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Article comment by:
Beyond doubt, Senator Crandell was the kind of principled yet practical person Arizona breeds, occasionally, and in less than four years, he certainly managed to thrust a lot of irons into the fire...some still there for Arizonans with an equal taste for controversy to haul out and wield with equal zeal.