Sam I Am

How a baton twirler from Filer, Idaho, grew up to be Scottsdale's Mayor Sam Campana

Inside again, she muses on her future, thinking about the possible fickleness of voters, her options beyond city hall. "What could you love more than being mayor of Scottsdale?" she asks rhetorically. She points out that even if she remains mayor for the 12 years she is allowed, she'll be 60 with 10 years left of wanting and needing to be working. The conversation is truncated by her hasty dashes back to the roses to move the hose.

"Well, I don't have a big nest egg. I don't have investments. I don't have a safety net. I don't have parents who are going to leave me money, so I'm gonna have to go back to work. And I want a job. I want a job with people that I like, doing good things. I want big-picture work, about arts, humanities, deliberative dialogue. I don't think it will be political office. I don't have the skills to be governor," she adds, puzzlingly. "There should be something that I could do."

She says she wants to ask Senator John McCain how he finds the strength to move along after setbacks, after the Keating Five and his years as a prisoner of war.

She talks a bit about the vagaries of retail politics, how a simple road closing could cost her 10,000 votes. She says she follows her conscience, that "if they don't like me, they don't have to vote for me."

"I am what I am."

A few days later, after Congressman Matt Salmon leaks the news that he's pondering a run for governor, Mayor Sam calls New Times, cagily dropping the news that someone had tried to recruit her to run for Salmon's seat.

Did she accept?
"No, I don't even know if I'm in his district," she says.
Try calling 911, Mayor Sam.

Contact Kate Nolan at her online address:

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