Fannin, Paul J. (Paul Jones), 1907-2002

Alternative names
Birth 1907-01-29
Death 2002-01-13

Biographical notes:

Biographical note: Governor of Arizona, 1958-1962; United States Senator, 1964 to 1977; Paul Fannin was a hard-line conservative who lived in Phoenix until his death in 2002.

From the description of The Fannin Report, ca. 1958-1974. (Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division). WorldCat record id: 247059039

Arizona governor, 1959-1965, and senator, 1965-1977.

From the description of Papers of Senator Paul J. Fannin, 1958-1977. (Scottsdale Public Library). WorldCat record id: 63170473

Paul Jones Fannin was born in Ashland, Kentucky on January 29, 1907. His family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in October of the same year. Fannin attended the University of Arizona before graduating from Stanford University with a degree in business administration in 1930. He went on to distribute a new product, propane gas, until selling his business in 1956.

Fannin was elected Governor of Arizona in 1958 and re-elected in 1960 and 1962. During his terms, Arizona increased sales taxes to support its public school system, established junior colleges, improved state universities, and constructed its first medical school in Tucson. When Barry Goldwater left the Senate to run for President in 1964, Fannin won his seat. In Congress, Fannin served on the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, the Labor and Public Welfare Committee, the Post Office and Civil Service Committee, the Navajo-Hopi Indian Administration Committee, the Aging Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Budget Committee. He was a particular opponent of organized labor, denouncing industrial strikes and fighting to maintain the clause in the Taft-Hartley Act that allowed individual states to decide whether to mandate union membership for workers in unionized shops. He was also involved with environmental issues, supporting increased limitations on strip mining and working to complete the Central Arizona Project.

In 1976, Fannin chose not to run for re-election for personal reasons. He returned to Arizona, where he continued to lobby for energy issues and served on the Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board. Fannin died of a stroke on January 13, 2002.

From the guide to the Preliminary Inventory of the Political Papers of Paul Fannin, 1965-1976, (Arizona State University Libraries Arizona Collection)

Paul Jones Fannin served as Arizona’s governor from 1959 to 1965. Born in Ashland, Kentucky on January 29, 1907, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona as a small child. After graduating from Phoenix Union High School, he studied at the University of Arizona and graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Business Administration. He soon became involved with his brother in the Fannin Gas and Supply Company, a petroleum and equipment distribution company doing business in the Southwest and Mexico.

A conservative Republican, Fannin ran for governor in 1958 and although the majority of registered voters at that time were Democrats, he won by over 30,000 votes. Fannin later ran two more times and won. As Governor, Fannin worked to attract industry to the state, fought for better schools and the creation of a junior college system. During his tenure, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to allocate the Colorado River between Arizona and California. This decision led to the creation of the Central Arizona Project. In 1959, Fannin created the Arizona Mexico West Coast Trade Commission to facilitate economic and social interaction. Fannin also served as Chairman of the Western Governor’s Conference, functioned as a three-term member of the executive committee of the national Governor’s Conference, and was a member of the President’s Civil Defense Advisory Council from 1963 to 1964. In 1964, he campaigned and won Barry Goldwater’s vacated Senate seat. Fannin served in the United State Senate until 1977.

Dr. Arthur M. Lee was born in Wisconsin in 1918 and moved to Phoenix in 1951 after earning his PhD. in History at Syracuse University. He taught as Professor of History and Government at Grand Canyon University before serving as Administrative Assistant to Arizona Congressman John Rhodes (1959-1961) and then Executive Secretary to Governor Fannin from 1961 to 1965.

From the guide to the Governor's Office, Governor Paul Fannin, Executive Secretary Dr. Arthur M. Lee, RG 1 SG 18 S 16, 1958-1964, (Arizona State Archives)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Arizona. Governor
  • Legislators
  • Legislators--Archives
  • Politicians
  • Governors--Archives


not available for this record


  • United States (as recorded)
  • Arizona (as recorded)
  • Arizona (as recorded)