Amazing Women in Arizona History: Rose Mofford

Rose Mofford is an amazing figure in Arizona’s history. Born and raised in Arizona and a lifelong Democrat, Mofford would become Arizona’s first female Secretary of State and first female Governor. 

Immediately after her graduation from Globe High School, where she was the first female class president, Mofford went to work as a secretary for the State Treasurer Joe Hunt. Hunt later moved on to become a member of the State’s Tax Commission, and Mofford joined him in the transition. 

Following this transition, Mofford was promoted to the position of executive secretary of the Tax Commission. She stayed in this position for a few years but was later removed due to the sexism and chauvinism of the then-Commissioner of the Tax Commission, who claimed that a male would be more aptly suited to her position. 

Mofford moved on from this and was hired by the then-Secretary of State Wesley Bolin, whose office she worked in for some time before becoming the State Revenue Department. When Governor Raul Castro resigned in 1977, Bolin was chosen to fill the remainder of the Governor’s term, and Bolin appointed Rose Mofford to be Secretary of State.

After being appointed and serving the rest of Bolin’s term, Mofford decided to run for Secretary of State. She became the first woman ever elected to the office, and would go on to be re-elected twice! 

During Mofford’s fourth term as Secretary of State, she would replace Governor Evan Mecham who was impeached. While Governor, Mofford signed the bill which established Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday in Arizona. She is also remembered for her advocacy surrounding children, the disabled community, the elderly, and economic improvement.

After serving as Governor, Mofford did not seek re-election, but she continued to serve her community in numerous ways through charitable work. Rose Mofford received several humanitarian awards including the Distinguished Public Servant and Dedicated Humanitarian Award from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and was Arizona’s Woman of the Year in 2011. Mofford passed away in 2016, remembered for her life of service to her community and her state. 

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