"[Clyde] Tingley was first elected to the City Commission on April 4, 1922, and served continuously until his resignation on January 14, 1935 to begin his term as Governor. He returned to the Commission on October 11, 1939. He served ten years as chairman of the City Commission and in his capacity as chairman was the unofficial mayor of Albuquerque.
Tingley reveled in his role as mayor of the city. He did little to reform his colorful, ungrammatical speech and gloried in the limelight. When Hollywood stars passed through Albuquerque, Tingley often met them at the train station where photographers captured the scene. Numerous stories circulate about his misuse of words and grammatical errors and the often humorous results. At the time of World War II, while addressing volunteer girls at the USO, he reportedly remarked: Now, ladies, I hope that you will do everything physically possible to make these young men happy. News reporters always had a story to tell when Clyde Tingley was around.
Yet for all of his theatrics, Tingley managed to accomplish much for the city of Albuquerque. One of his first acts as alderman was to lead a drive to purchase the citys privately held water works. After months of tense negotiations, the city succeeded in acquiring the utility. Only then was the city able to expand water lines into new subdivisions and encourage municipal growth. He paved streets, added street lamps, and extended city services to new areas. He also worked hard to beautify the city by developing a city parks system. Where an old city dump had been located on the east bank of the Rio Grande, Tingley created an artificial lake called Tingley Beach. Thousands of Albuquerque residents enjoyed bathing at the beach. Later, after being stocked with fish, it became a popular fishing hole. He also promoted building Tingley Field, the baseball park that provided the Albuquerque Dukes a home for many years. Today it is the Rio Grande Zoo area. He also purchased 2,000 Chinese elms for twenty dollars and gave them away to anyone who would plant them.
In 1934, Clyde Tingley ran for governor on the Democratic ticket and won. New Mexicans saw Tingley as a man of hope and a man who got things done. They knew he shared Franklin Delano Roosevelts plans to bring Americans out of the depression. In his inaugural address, Tingley spoke of how some considered him a partisan Democrat. Well, my friends, I will tell you a secretI may at times and upon occasion be a partisan Democrat, but whenever it comes to deciding upon a problem of importance to New Mexico or its people, I just drop being anything at all except a partisan New Mexican, determined to do the very best I can every day in the year for a free, upright, honest, progressive government for New Mexico.
Governor Tingley was an ardent supporter of President Roosevelt and visited the White House approximately twenty-three times. In 1936, the president invited Tingley to accompany him on a train junket visiting seven western states. Having the presidents ear, proved lucrative for the state of New Mexico. At that time, the Great Depressions impact on the country was severe, and by 1933, the number of unemployed in the Unites States had reached 14 million. New Mexico had few resources to help alleviate the hardships caused by massive unemployment. States looked to the federal government for aid. After President Franklin Roosevelt took office in March of 1933, he promised Americans a new deal and he signed legislation approving the appropriations of $500 million under a new agency, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). States applied to FERA for grants for relief purposes. By the end of the year, every state in the country had received a grant from FERA. Other federal programs followed including the Works Project Administration (WPA), a program that put unemployed workers, artists, and actors on the federal payroll employing them in construction projects and conservation.
During his time in the governors mansion, Tingley worked to funnel as much of these New Deal funds into New Mexico as was possible. When Senator Bronson Cutting died in a plane crash on 6 May 1935, Governor Clyde Tingley lawfully named the senators successor. On 11 May 1935, he appointed Dennis Chaves to fill Cuttings post. Tingley and Chaves recognized the need to work together to bring federal dollars to the state. The partnership between Tingley and Chaves would produce far-reaching benefits for the state of New Mexico."
Stamatov, Suzanne. "Clyde Tingley," New Mexico Office of the State Historian Website <http://www.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=498> Flynn, Kathryn A., editor. Treasures on New Mexico Trails: discovery of New Deal art and architecture. New Mexico State Historic Preservation Division, 1995. "New Deal Sites in New Mexico," Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps, New Mexico Humanities Council. <http://atlas.nmhum.org/atlas.php?gmap=42>
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