Ronald Reagan was running for governor in 1966 against two term incumbent Pat Brown. Here he stops at the San Luis Obispo Airport to shake hands. Vernon L. Sturgeon, state senator from Paso Robles, is at the left. Sturgeon was Reagan’s legislative advisor and later held positions in Reagan’s cabinet in Sacramento.
Fall of 1966
During this presidential election we’ll open up the political archives of the Vault once a week to look back on the politicians who came through the region in their quest for the White House.
Of all the presidents, without a doubt Ronald Reagan spent the most time on the Central Coast.
As his Hollywood acting career slowed he became president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1947 and later a spokesman for General Electric.
He was elected 33rd governor of California in 1966 and 1970. He lost presidential nomination runs in 1968 and 1976. In 1980 he won against Jimmy Carter to become the 40th president of the United States.
He spent a lot of time campaigning in the area, attending official functions at Cal Poly and living at his ranch in the hills between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez.
Most long-lived politicians have a thick folder in The Tribune library. A few even have two. Reagan has a big folder of clippings plus two more brimming with photographs.
I am sure readers will express varying comments in support and critical of his political career.
Reagan abandoned energy conservation initiatives started under the Carter administration. No president since has pursued them.
Look where we are today.
But hey, don’t get me started on Carter.
Reagan also brought a sunny optimism that helped him sell his ideas to voters; another candidate in this year’s election is hoping the same traits apply to him.
Some politicians approach the stage like they are facing rabid bears. In their prime Reagan and later president Bill Clinton were natural crowd pleasers. It is hard to find an awkward, bad photo of either of them.
Since we have so many photos there will be a few Reagan themed posts between now and November.
If you were hoping for a series of Walter Mondale photo essays you’ll have to try a blog in Minnesota.
The photos at the bottom are undated but appear to be from the same era, my guess the venue is a Republican gathering at the Motel Inn. If someone has a better idea of the dates I could track the clippings down on the microfilm.