The Last Promotion of Janet Napolitano in Arizona Public Schools

With Governor Napolitano on her way out of Arizona, I was very surprised to see my daughter bring home another book featuring Janet Napolitano and more self-promotion. The last time we saw this was in 2006 when the Governor was being challenged by Republican Len Munsil.

This book is titled, Down the Colorado – John Wesley Powell, the One-Armed Explorer and is an account of the famous exploration of the Colorado River by Powell. It is written and illustrated by author and artist Deborah Kogan Ray.

On the inside cover is a photo of Governor Napolitano showing school children photos of the Colorado River – most likely of her trip down the river. (Yes, Governor Rendell, Janet Napolitano appears to have a life.) Below the photo is the following message signed by the Governor:

Dear Student:

Reading can be a great way for you to learn about Arizona’s history and the many things that make our state unique. This book will teach you about a famous explorer who led a trip through the Grand Canyon with only one arm! I hope you enjoy reading this book and that it encourages you to want to learn and explore new things, just like John Wesley Powell.

Yours Very Truly,

Janet Napolitano

Governor Janet Napolitano

Now don’t get me wrong. The book is a great for getting students involved in reading – especially about history and Arizona history.

Why then does the Governor need to put her fingerprints all over it? I am guessing that the book may have been in the works before Janet knew Obama would be elected and she would be eagerly waiting for her “bailout.”

But what readers of this blog have to understand is that Governor Napolitano has continually utilized school books promoted through the public education system to build rapport with children and ultimately their parents.

The timing of this book is politically irrelevant now that Napolitano is heading to Washington but it does go to illustrate how politicians use certain institutional means in the art of self-promotion.


  1. Well, here’s a good question for discussion at the confirmation hearing: explain how you can lead the country in disaster preparedness when you apparently couldn’t do this in your own state?

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