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Former Arizona congressman Sam Steiger dies


Perhaps best known for shooting two burros while he was a congressman and painting a crosswalk between the Prescott courthouse and Whiskey Row, Steiger's long, storied political career began with a bet.

But his friends and family remember him most as a public servant from a bygone era, who worked with the likes of Mo Udall, Barry Goldwater and John Rhodes.

"Those guys met every week, once a week to talk about what was good for Arizona," said Steiger's son, Gail. "He helped a lot of people, just because that's what you did for your constituents."

Born in New York City, Steiger first visited Arizona as a teenager, attended Cornell University and graduated from Colorado A&M. He settled on a Prescott ranch after earning a Purple Heart as a U.S. Army platoon leader in the Korean War.

Voters first elected him to the state Senate as a Republican in 1960 and he quickly established himself as a brash, independent politician. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1964 in what was then Arizona's 3rd District, but took the seat two years later after redistricting made his district more GOP-friendly.

During five terms in the U.S. House, Steiger burnished his reputation as a bomb thrower with frequent attacks against politicians he saw as self-serving tools of lobbyists. He was a staunch conservative who earned praise from hard-line constitutionalists and derision from environmental groups.


1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

I for one am glad to hear it.  Not that I didn't think Steiger was a great character---he was!!!!  But he spent MANY years in raving dementia and I suspect had he known his fate he would have blown his brains out.  I hope he finds peace.  He wasn't above making deals but he was unusually candid for a politician.

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