Friday, March 14, 2008

US Highway 285 Designated "Ralph Carr Memorial Highway"

Both chambers of the General Assembly approved Friday a resolution designating the portion of U.S. Highway 285 from its intersection with Colorado Highway 470 in Jefferson County to the New Mexico state line as the "Ralph Carr Memorial Highway."

The designation honors the late former Republican governor known for his opposition to interning Japanese-Americans during World War II.

A recent book by local reporter Adam Schrager details the impact Carr's stance on the question of imprisoning Americans of Japanese descent had on his political career.

Carr, a former Conejos County attorney, assistant attorney general and United States attorney, sought a U.S. Senate seat in 1942. He lost to incumbent Democrat Edwin Johnson, in part because of his opposition to federal efforts to detain Japanese-Americans at the Ameche relocation camp in eastern Colorado during his term as the state's 29th governor between 1939-1943.

Carr (Dec. 11, 1887-Sept. 22, 1950) grew up in Cripple Creek. He was an opponent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" program but generally supported FDR's foreign policies.

He was nominated by the GOP for another term as governor in 1950 but died before the general election. He was replaced as the Republican candidate 20 days before the election by Daniel I.J. Thornton, who went on to beat the favored incumbent, Walter W. Johnson. Ironically, Thornton was succeeded by the man who beat Carr for the U.S. Senate seat in 1942, Edwin Johnson.

Carr is buried in Denver's Fairmount Cemetery.

The resolution re-naming U.S. Highway 285 was sponsored by Reps. Rob Witwer, R-Genesee, and Rafael Lorenzo Gallegos, D-Antonito, and Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction.