Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) Biography » Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox: 1949—: County Official Biography - Faced Discrimination In Arizona, Hired By Deconcini, Selected To Serve As Vice Mayor, Shooting Failed To Sideline Wilcox

Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox: 1949—: County Official - Selected To Serve As Vice Mayor

stadium phoenix supervisors sales

Wilcox's visibility in Phoenix increased significantly in 1988 when she was elected by her fellow councilmen to serve a two-year term as vice mayor. Encouraged by Mayor Goddard to push the envelope during her time as vice mayor, Wilcox spearheaded a campaign to ban semiautomatic weapons, including the AK-47 assault rifle popular with gangs in Phoenix. She also supported a proposal to build a baseball stadium in her district, convinced that it would draw new jobs and money into the area. In 1989 she was re-elected to the council, largely on the strength of her appeal as a grassroots candidate. In campaign speeches, Wilcox frequently compared herself to typical members of her constituency. The strategy worked. Although there were rumors that Wilcox might seek the mayor's job after Goddard left to seek a state office, in the end she set her sights on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, hoping to win election as a replacement for fifth district Supervisor Ed Pastor. In November of 1992, she realized her goal, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve as a supervisor.

Covering more than 9,200 square miles, Maricopa County, Arizona, is the fourteenth largest county in the nation in terms of area. As the home to nearly 2.3 million, it is the seventh most populous American county. Wilcox's election to the ruling board of the county put her and her fellow supervisors in charge of an annual budget of more than $1.2 billion and a county work force of some 14,000 employees. Now working at the county level, Wilcox continued to push for programs to revitalize downtown Phoenix. Her support in 1994 of a quarter-cent sales tax to help pay for the $350 million Bank One Ballpark stadium in Phoenix was to prove especially costly for Wilcox.

Leaving a meeting of the supervisors on August 13, 1997, Wilcox was accosted by a gun-toting man who had attended the meeting and followed her from the auditorium. "I saw him out of the corner of my eye and became very alarmed, because he just didn't look right," Wilcox later told reporters. "The next thing I knew, I felt a gun in my back." A split second later, her assailant fired a 38-caliber round into Wilcox's pelvis. The gunman, Larry Marvin Naman, a 49-year-old transient with a history of mental illness, told police he was angry about the supervisor's support of the stadium sales tax. Hospitalized for four days, Wilcox was left with bullet fragments in her hip and thigh. She later blamed what she called "hate radio" for refusing to let the issue of the stadium sales tax die. "I attribute [the shooting] directly to the venom that radio talk shows put out every day," Wilcox told the Arizona Republic. "Many of them are just hate-baiting. Because I am the only remaining board member who voted on the stadium I was the target." The gunman was eventually convicted on charges of attempted first-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox: 1949—: County Official - Shooting Failed To Sideline Wilcox [next] [back] Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox: 1949—: County Official - Hired By Deconcini

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