Visionaries of Arizona

Hall of Fame: Influential Arizonans...

1. Barry Goldwater: The original modern day libertarian conservative recognized as sparking the resurgence of the conservative movement in the US. He differed from many of today's conservatives because he stuck to core principles of liberty and personal freedom. He believed it was not the government's business to inject itself into abortion, homosexuality, religion and was outspoken on government intrusion on individual rights.

2. Bruce Babbitt: Unexpectedly became Governor of Arizona in 1978 when he was Attorney General, third in succession and not second, due to an odd set of circumstances. At the time Arizona was growing rapidly and state government was a part-time affair, the Federal government was pressuring the state for resisting federal mandates. Babbitt was surprised to become governor but exceptionally capable, firmly took the reins and organized state government with streamlining, fiscal restraint and respect for civil rights and social justice. He later went on became Secretary of the Interior.

3. Sandra Day O'Connor: Epitomizes the Arizona independent mind that makes decisions based on reason and careful study, largely due to growing up on an Arizona ranch and a father not limiting her because of gender. One of the few women lawyers in 1952, she was unable to find work as a lawyer in private practice and turned to public service. She started as a deputy county attorney in California, making her way to the Arizona Attorney General's office. She then served in the Arizona State Senate, becoming the first woman majority leader. Her next move was to be elected as a Maricopa County trial judge and was appointed to the State Court of Appeals by Gov. Bruce Babbitt. In 1981 she became the first female US Supreme Court Justice.

4. Lincoln J. Ragsdale, Sr: A successful businessman with a Ph.D who became a member of the Tuskegee Airman and led the way in Arizona for the civil rights movement. He worked on the Phoenix Council for Civic Unity, the organization that filed a lawsuit forcing school desegregation in Arizona and won in 1953. He and his wife Eleanor Ragsdale were activists to desegregate Phoenix and successfully built political partnerships to achieve goals. He was the most visible and influential black leader in Arizona, succeeding in business and breaking color barriers.

5. Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia: An American Impressionist, his work is immediately recognizable since he is one of the most reproduced artists. He was famous for the southwestern influence in his art and his Gallery In The Sun drew many artist friends who stayed with him to share his vision. In 1976 he protested inheritance taxes, battled the IRS and engaged in a famous act trekking on horseback to the Superstition Mountains with 100 of his paintings and set them ablaze.