John McCain Is Honored in Arizona, With Tears and Tributes

The New York Times published an account of John McCain’s funeral tribute in Phoenix. Current and former political leaders from across Arizona attended, including Governor Symington.

As Mr. McCain was lying in state, his immediate family and Arizona political leaders paid tribute to the naval aviator, who endured torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. They remembered him as an example of a statesman striving to unite Americans regardless of their political beliefs.

Read the rest of the article here.

Recent series of challenges facing Governor Ducey

The Arizona Capitol Times ran a recent article looking at challenges facing Governor Doug Ducey, from teacher strikes to an accident involving Uber’s self-driving car project.

A few comments from former Governor Symington are sprinkled throughout the article.

Regarding Uber’s autonomous vehicle project:

“All new technologies bring risk of some sort,” he said. “Just look at the Apollo program and the astronauts who were killed on the launchpad in Florida. We didn’t shut down the moon program because of it.”

Regarding the teacher pay issue:

“Lawmakers do their best to listen to everybody, but they’re elected to make tough decisions, as is the governor,” Symington said. “They’re going to get the budget out and done and that’ll be the end of it.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Arizona Capitol Museum opens exhibit on Gov. Symington

Several news outlets are reporting that the Arizona Capitol Museum has launched a new exhibit on former Governor Symington. Thursday, February 9 marked the first day of the exhibit in the museum’s annex located at 1700 W. Washington St. in Phoenix.

3TV KTVK has more information on what the exhibit will include:

The museum says personal mementoes and a trove of family history items that Symington found in a trunk belonging to his mother form the exhibit’s centerpiece.

Other items include political campaign material and Symington’s Bronze Star from his military service during the Vietnam War.

Read the rest of the article here.

Arizona Historian Jack August Passes Away

From last month came some sad news: celebrated Arizona historian Jack August Jr. passed away on January 20. August had been working on a biography of former Governor Symington that was apparently nearly two-thirds complete.

From the Arizona Republic article:

He also “pursued” Republican former Gov. Fife Symington for six or seven years in the hope of writing his life story, says Symington, who adds that he initially was not interested in the project.

Then he met Jack.

“I decided I really liked him,” said Symington. The two began working together about three years ago and became good friends.

And from the New Times article:

“He was into every aspect of my life,” Symington explains. “He’s such a unique person. It would be very, very difficult for anyone to kind of pick it up and keep going. I’m really going to miss him.”


But the good professor — whose death now is mourned by Arizona’s political elite, from Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan to Phoenix’s Democratic Mayor Greg Stanton — was at heart a Phoenix boy, who never lost the common touch, and was as much at home with paupers as with princes.

Symington Endorses McCain’s Re-election

Dan Nowicki wrote a recent article in the Arizona Republic about the re-election support Senator John McCain has received from three former Republican governors of Arizona, including Fife Symington. McCain faces a difficult and crowded Republican primary on August 30 and announced the support of the former governors today. In addition to ringing endorsements from former governors Hull and Brewer, Symington offered his own backing of McCain:

“History will record John McCain as America’s foremost defender of freedom in the early 21st Century,” Symington said. “His deep personal courage, his sharp intellect and his unwavering dedication to America have made him so. There is only one John McCain, and he must be returned to the Senate to continue his life’s work of service to the people of Arizona.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Jeb Bush’s Arizona supporters include Dan Quayle, Fife Symington

Arizona supporters of Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign include former Gov. Fife Symington, as reported by Dan Nowicki in the Arizona Republic. Here’s an excerpt of a statement provided by the campaign to the paper:

“…since leaving office Jeb has been a successful private sector leader, creating jobs and opportunity. As we have painfully learned over the last 7 years, we need a president with a proven record of getting results beyond being a talking head on a television.”

Read the full article here.

Montini: Symington deems attacks on Hillary political

EJ Montini wrote recently about Fife Symington’s KTAR 92.3 FM appearance in which he discussed his take on some of the investigations into Hillary Clinton. Here’s an excerpt:

I’m a Republican, and I don’t intend to vote for Hillary, but I’ll tell you one thing, this whole experience I’ve been through, people have no idea what it’s like to be threatened, to have your liberty threatened…to have the FBI and the Justice Department basically lay you out completely and do a life audit on you and what you did every minute of the day for 20 years of your life.

Read the rest of the article here.

Symington Endorses Felecia Rotellini for State Attorney General

KNAU featured a brief article detailing Fife Symington’s support of Felecia Rotellini for State Attorney General. His comments:

“I’m very oriented towards the individual and the character of the individual when I support people for public office. Felecia stands out as a really wonderful person and has the right temperament to be attorney general of the state. So I didn’t hesitate. That’s where I am.”

Read the rest of the article here.  Or listen to an audio clip here.

Fife Symington Reflects on His Time as Governor

Fox10 Phoenix recently interviewed Fife Symington at the Esplanade. Some excerpts:

School choice, Symington said, made Arizona a haven for charter schools.

“And by creating that choice and creating charter schools the public education institutions would be forced to compete and get better, it was never meant to hurt, it was meant to make them better.”

“I’m proud that I was Governor of Arizona, I love my state, I love Arizona.”

Watch the interview below.

To read the entire article, click here.

Fife Symington Backs Doug Ducey in Arizona Governor’s Race

The Phoenix Business Journal recently highlighted Fife Symington’s support of Doug Ducey in the Arizona gubernatorial race:

“His focus is the economy and making Arizona a magnet for job creation and economic opportunity. That has to be the number one priority for our next governor, and Doug has the right background, skills, and ideas to actually make a difference.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Symington Looks Back

The Arizona Republic recently invited Fife Symington to reflect on his time in office. Here are a few excerpts:

“One defining characteristic of the human mind is a conception of time. We alone among Earth’s creatures seem to have this. And, generally speaking, the more active the mind, the more clearly one sees how quickly the days and years pass.

Time, not money, is the hard, unprintable currency of the human economy. We cannot store it up for ourselves and our progeny. It can only be spent — spent in service of those we love, what we value, what we envision. It’s often said with airs of worldly sophistication that time is money.

It’s more true that both time and our sense of it are beautiful works of God.

Read more here.

Amid Tumult and Setbacks, Fife Symington Is Steady As He Goes

Noozhawk in Santa Barbara recently published an extensive interview piece with Fife Symington. Here’s an excerpt:

… I’m proud of what Ann and I did in public office. We went in and had a program and got it all done. It didn’t end happily — ultimately, it ended happily — but, as you know, there was a hiccup along the way. But interestingly, although public service was something we wanted to do, it wasn’t something we wanted to do permanently. I never really considered it to be, well, this is the achievement of a lifetime.

For the rest of the interview, click here.

Fife Symington in Phoenix Magazine: “Comeback Kid”

Phoenix Magazine profiled Fife Symington in their September 2007 issue. Here’s a snippet:

    “‘So many wonderful things have happened to me since I left office… that I half-kiddingly say to friends that I was saved,’ he says. ‘There’s a pivotal thing that happens in a crisis like that. It either destroys you or changes you for the better, and I think – well, I know – the latter is the case with me.'”

Here is page 1 of the article and here is page 2. You can also find the article on pages 35 and 36 in the magazine.

Ex-Governor Pursues New Ventures

Marking the 10th anniversary since leaving office, Fife Symington recently gave an interview with the Arizona Republic that discusses his activities over the past several years. Here’s an excerpt:

Symington never went far from the Esplanade, often using the Ritz dining room for meetings with visiting dignitaries, friends and business associates. Franco’s opened on the ground floor of the growing Esplanade in 2003, with Symington as pastry chef. Attired in a white chef’s smock, he knocked out tiramisus and his signature chocolate Governor’s Cake in the location where he had headquartered his real-estate empire years earlier.

Today, Symington maintains offices there with his four partners in the Symington Private Equity Group. Ventures include the Symington Group, a political consultancy that consists of himself and partner Camilla Strongin; various early forays into solar projects, a technology he finds promising despite initial reservations; and venture-capital investments. He has what he calls a “tag-along interest” in the Ruth’s Chris and Macaroni Grill franchises in Hawaii, and a hospital payment program operates out of a small room in the suite of Symington offices.

For the rest of the article, click here.

Fife Symington Elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden

clippingFife Symington has been elected chairman of the board of trustees of the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden. A garden trustee since 2004, he previously served as vice chairman.

Elected governor of Arizona in 1991, and re-elected in 1994, Mr. Symington signed criminal justice measures into law, including a truth-in-sentencing provision that eliminates parole and mandates that convicts serve no less than 85 percent of their sentence.

Click on the above picture to read more.

Former Arizona Governor Now Admits Seeing UFO

On the tenth anniversary of the Arizona UFO incident, known as the “Phoenix Lights,” former Arizona Republican Governor Fife Symington, III, now says that he himself was a witness to one of the strange unidentified flying objects, even though he originally did not say so publicly.

“It was enormous and inexplicable,” he said in an exclusive interview from his home in Phoenix. “Who knows where it came from? A lot of people saw it, and I saw it too.”

On March 13, 1997, during Symington’s second term as Governor, thousands saw multiple triangular and V-shaped craft, gliding slowly and silently across the sky for half an hour beginning at approximately 8:15 pm. Awestruck witnesses, throughout the state, estimated that the eerie, lighted vehicles were bigger than many football fields, up to a mile long.

For the rest of the article, click here.

You may also watch a CNN Anderson Cooper 360 interview with Fife about the lights.

Symington’s speech to the Arizona Historical Society honoring Barry Goldwater

Fife Symington recently delivered an address to the Arizona Hisorical Society honoring Barry Goldwater.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I have been looking forward to this day, and I am delighted to be here to remember and honor Barry Goldwater.

He’s a big and consequential figure, and a hard man to capture in words. There has been no one else like him in American politics. But trying to give the man his due is a worthy assignment – and a fun one, too. And you know, that’s one thing to remember about Barry – he was always a lot of fun.

In one way or another, I’ve been drawn and connected to Barry from the early years of my life. Maryland may be a long way from Arizona, but Barry Goldwater carried something of this state everywhere he went. And it was there, when I was 12 or so, that I got my first glimpse of him.

One morning in 1958, there he was, rolling up the steep driveway of our farm thirty miles outside of Baltimore. He had come to stay for the weekend, and his ride was not the black sedan that a young boy expected of a United States Senator. He climbed out of a Corvette Stingray, wearing boots and cowboy hat – and to an eastern boy it looked like Marshall Dillon stepping right out of Gunsmoke.”

For the rest of his speech, click here.

Symington Loses Vote in Precinct Hostile to McCain

In his first-ever political defeat, former Gov. Fife Symington lost his bid Tuesday to become Republican chairman of McCain’s home legislative district in north-central Phoenix. Symington was not considered conservative enough to defeat District 11 incumbent Rob Haney, a retired IBM manager who took over the organization two years ago and has been outspoken in his criticism of McCain.

“This factionalism has hurt GOP candidates, and it cost (Hesselbrock) his seat,” Symington said. “A district chair should bring Republicans together, not make war on one of your important national officeholders and a potential president. This does not bode well for the district in terms of a Republican future, in my view.”

Symington said District 11 Republicans should be trying to come together to reclaim ground lost in the last election, not picking fights over ideological differences.

“The vitriol is very high against McCain, which is just nuts,” Symington said. “The general public understands, or needs to understand, that just because that kind of noise is coming out of District 11, it doesn’t indicate a lack of support for McCain. That viewpoint is prevailing in that small bubble, but McCain is enormously popular.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Symington Elects Not to Run

On May 5, 2005, John Fife Symington III announced that he would not run for Governor of Arizona in 2006. Here’s the official announcement from KPHO-CBS 5 News:

Click here to watch the video segment.

Previously, in early February, Symington had expressed profound interest in competing against Janet Napolitano who, he said, failed to carry out promised tax reforms. He also faulted her all-day kindergarten plans as unrealistic and unaffordable.

Symington was “expected to release a statement this morning (May 5) that will say he will not rule out a future run for public office.” He said that after giving the race “tremendous thought over the last few months,” he chose to focus his attention on his consulting firm, the Symington Group.

There was a flurry of press activity after Symington’s original announcement of his intent to run.