Governor Earl Snell: Political Career

Governor Snell

Earl Snell was born in Olex, Oregon on July 11, 1895. He served in the Army during the First World War, coming back to Gilliam County at war's end. He tried the newspaper business before entering the automobile business in Arlington and Condon.

Snell began his political career in 1927 when he was elected state representative. He remained in the Legislative Assembly until 1934, when he left his position as Speaker of the House to take the Oaths of officeelected position of Secretary of State. He served as Secretary of State from 1934 to 1942, when he was elected Oregon's twenty-third governor (see oath of office). Governor Snell was re-elected in 1946 and served until October 28, 1947, when he was killed in a plane crash in the wild terrain east of Klamath Falls along with Secretary of State Robert S. Farrell Jr., President of the Senate Marshall E. Cornett, and their pilot Cliff Hogue.

In addition to his environmental legacy, Snell also campaigned for old-age relief without increasing taxation; post-war aid in education; home ownership; and liberalization of unemployment compensation. Governor Snell placed emphasis on improving winter travel by developing and improving roads and resorts. He wanted Oregon to become the winter wonderland for vacationers, and expand tourism to become more than a summer industry. A state employees' retirement system was also adopted during Snell's tenure as governor.

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