Steiger, Sam, 1929-2012

Alternative names
Birth 1929-03-10
Death 2012-09-26

Biographical notes:

Sam Steiger, born in New York City on March 10, 1929; as the only child of Jewish parents, Lewis and Reba K. Steiger. Steiger graduated from the private Feildston School and briefly bowed to his parents' choice of Cornell University. However, the fondness for horses acquired at the stables drew Sam westward, to Colorado Agriculture and Mining; now Colorado State University, at Fort Collins. In 1950 he earned a bachelor of science degree in animal production. He drifted down to Northereastern Arizona to Steeple X Ranch nearr Springerville, Arizona. Steiger faught in the Korean war, rarely recounting the horrors. "One night a kid staggered into my command post to report that the enemy had cut off one of our battalion's tanks . . . Since nobody else seemed eager to go, I took it upon myself to crawl for about two hours through enemy lines to our tank. . . . The men [from the tank] followed me, again crawling a couple of hours to our own lines. On the way we drew enemy mortar fire, and a piece of sharpnel struck me in the arm. Not much of a hit." For the deed First Lieutenant Steiger was awarded the Purple heart and the Silver Star, America's third highest miliary decoration for gallantry in action. After the war, he engaged in ranching and horse breeding in Prescott, Arizona. Steiger was notorious for speaking his mind all over town. The trait soon would become both his charm and curse. "Shooting from the lip," was Prescott's phrase for it. When, in 1960, the Rebublican Steiger entered politics, he took on a longtime Democrat encumbent, Charles X. (Chick) Orme. At the polls interloper Steiger ate patrician Orme like grapes. Sam steiger served two terms in the State Senate, 1960-1964. Steiger in the Senate broke with tradition to accuse six members of the House of taking bribes. Amid crie to censure the outspoken Steiger, Arizona's attorney general annouced there was indeed sufficient information to prosecute the Representives. But a county attorney refused to act. In the end, nobody went to jail, but five of the six failed to returen to the Legislature. Undaunted, Steiger signed on several newspapers and radio stations, and went to Vietnam as a war correspondent. Soon Steiger's eyewittness accounts of infantry lfe and death illustrated with better-than-average newsphotos were trickling back to his clients, readers and listeners. In 1966 he ran for Congress and won to the Nineteenth and to the four succeedding Congress (January 3, 1967-January3, 1977). Sam Steiger introduced four pieces of legislation and got two passed, an above-average accomplishment for a freshman. A day scarcely passed that he did not break loose a Social Security check for a qualified but confused constituent, or deliver a deed of land ownership to a band of Yavapai Apaches squatting neat the white man's town of Payson. "That's all that really matters," Steiger told a reporter over a cafeteria breakfast in Washington in 1964. "Helping people." Having served five terms in Congress, Steiger raised his sights to the U.S. Senate. He lost to Democrat Dennis DeConcini. The next five or six years brought mixed fourtune. His two marriages had come apart. However, he was given space to write a local newspaper column, exploring the frontiers of libel, gravitating to the causes of economic development and free enterprise. By 1982 he had changed his registration to Libertarian and agreed to run for governer. The real reason; Libertarians were weary of circulating petitions to qualify for places on the ballot. If they could deliver five percent of the vote in the general election, permanent ballot status for the Libertarian Party would be Gained. Asked if he could win; "Oh, my God, no! Come on, be reasonable!" Indicating he did not take take his candidacy seriously, but anything to steal votes from the Rebublican and Democratic parties. Later in May 1986 he was invovled in a court trial that is now refered to Prescott's Great Crosswalk Caper. Steiger recently had a storke and is making a staedy recovery and still resides in the town of Prescott, Arizona.

Surmised from "Kill the Lawyers!" by Sam Steiger, with a minimal apology by Don Dedera and Steiger, Sam Bigraphical Information from the Biographical Directory of the Untied States Congress.

From the guide to the Sam Steiger Collection, 1970-1976., (Cline Library. Special Collections and Archives Department.)


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