Missouri Governor Carnahan dies in plan crash shortly after appearance at BLE's Southwestern Convention Meeting
The late Mel Carnahan, governor of the state of Missouri, died in a plane crash on October 16, less than a month after speaking at the SWCM. Also killed in the crash was Carnahan's campaign adviser Chris Sifford and the Governor's son, Roger, who was piloting the six-seat aircraft.
Carnahan was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1988. Four years later, he won the governor's office in a landslide and was re-elected in 1996. He was barred by state law from seeking a third consecutive term as governor.
Carnahan, 66, was campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri and was flying to a rally in St. Louis when the plane went down.
One of his last official acts was to declare October 16, 2000, "Railroaders' Day" in the state of Missouri.
"He was a true friend of rail labor," said Missouri State Legislative Board Chairman Mickey Gage. "All you had to do was knock on his door and he would be there to help."
Brother Gage reports that the late Governor was instrumental in saving a Union Pacific terminal in Jefferson City, Mo. When the railroad began work on its "hub and spoke" reorganization, it wanted to eliminate the Jefferson City hub, where 225 BLE members were headquartered.
"Governor Carnahan made a few phone calls and the Union Pacific backed down," Gage said. "He helped save that terminal so that 225 families could keep their homes."
In 1976, another Senate challenger in Missouri, U.S. Rep. Jerry Litton, died in a plane crash as he and his family were flying to a victory celebration the night he won the Democratic nomination.
The last governor to die in office was Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles on Dec. 12, 1998. The 68-year-old collapsed while exercising in the governor's mansion gymnasium. South Dakota Gov. George Mickelson died in 1993 when the state's airplane slammed into a silo in eastern Iowa.
SWCM Convention Co-Chairmen Roger King and James Jackson were congratulated during the banquet for organizing such a successful convention. From left: BLE First Vice-President & Alternate President Jim McCoy; Brother King; Brother Jackson; and BLE International President Edward Dubroski.
BLE members during the Local Chairmen's Workshop. Seated in the front row, from left, is Rick Skidmore, Local Chairman of Division 782 (Etowah, Tenn.), and M.F. O'Brien, Chairman of the Louisiana State Legislative Board and Legislative Representative of Division 915 (Alexandria, La.).
From left: BLE First-Vice-President & Alternate President Jim McCoy; BLE International President Edward Dubroski; and BLE International Vice-President Don M. Hahs.
From left: International Vice-President Dale McPherson; International Vice-President Ed Rodzwicz; International Vice-President & U.S. National Legislative Representative Leroy D. Jones; International Vice-President Rick Radek; General Secretary-Treasurer Russ Bennett; FRA Administrator Jolene Molitoris; International President Dubroski; and SWCM Co-Chairman Jackson.
From left: Doug W. Davidson, Local Chairman of Division 96 (Chicago); President Dubroski; and John W. Reynolds, Local Chairman of Division 209 (Green Bay, Wisc.).
© 2000 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers