Inside the Capitol

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Former Gov. Cargo May 'Donate Bust

FRI, 2-11-11

SANTA FE - Former Gov. Dave Cargo may soon be memorialized with a bust somewhere in the capitol. This isn't a bust for which taxpayers will have to foot the bill. This one was sculpted 44 years ago, early in Cargo's administration.
According to Senate Bill 70, our former governor wants to give it to the state. That's a switch for Lonesome Dave, who always has been known for being tight with a buck, both his bucks and taxpayers' money.
When Cargo ended his term in 1970, he is said to have cleaned out both his office and the Governor's Mansion. Bruce King, who followed Cargo as governor is quoted as saying all Cargo left was "that woodpecker over on the desk." At least it means he left the desk too.
But he did take an antique piano, which became a bone of contention. It turned up in someone's home in Northern New Mexico and eventually was donated back to the state, where it sat in the governors' reception area for several years during a subsequent administration.
The piano may have been in the Governor's Mansion while Cargo was governor. I was never in the mansion during Cargo's term. And I've never heard anyone else mention having been in the residence during that period.
When Cargo threw a party, it usually was a spur of the moment affair after some political event. Cargo would hit up one of the liquor lobbyists for some beer and everyone would go around the house into the back yard for a little party.
Cargo was well known as a low budget campaigner. During his first campaign, he traveled the state alone in a beat up Volkswagen, painting his name on every roadside rock he could find. He never bought an ad, saying "Why pay for the back page when you can get the front page free."
Cargo knew how to get on the front page. His biting quips always carried a strong message and the media loved him for it. When he ran for reelection two years later, Cargo got a few good sized donations, which caused him to observe: "I have $56,000 to spend this time and I'm afraid I won't know what to do with it.
Cargo also prided himself on a small staff.He had only one state policeman, Red Pack, who mainly served as his chauffeur. Cargo says he enjoyed doing most of the driving while Pack slept in the back.
Our former governor even tells the story of being asked to speak in Southern Colorado. On the way up, Cargo told Pack no one up there had ever seen or heard him so he talked Pack into delivering his speech since he had heard it so many times.
Pack did reasonably well until it came to question and answer time. Someone asked Pack a question he couldn't answer so he said, "That question's so easy, I'm going to ask my chauffeur in the back of the room to anser it. You have often seen me refer to Dave Clary, a reader from Roswell, who also is a very successful writer.for national publishers. Twelve years ago Cargo spoke at the legislative prayer breakfast. Cargo is what one might call well read. Among other accomplishments, he claims to have read all 54 volumes of Vladimir Lenin
Wanting to show off his vast vocabulary, Cargo observed "Sometimes a Sabbatarial zeal can lead us into a moral Coventry and a Tractarian disaster." Obviously, no one in the news business could make heads or tails out of that statement.
So I appealed to my erudite readers for help. I received numerous entries and passed them on to Gov. Cargo for grading. Clary was the winner - hands down.
Both gentlemen have written books recently, using words the rest of us can understand. I commend them both for your consideration. Cargo's book is called "Lonesome Dave." Clary's book is "Washington" First War."



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