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Jane Hull, Arizona’s trailblazing 1st female elected governor, has died

Jane Hull (Twitter Screenshot/@dougducey)

PHOENIX — Jane Hull, who in 1998 became Arizona’s first elected female governor, has died, state officials said Friday. She was 84.

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tweeted that Hull and her husband, Terry, died of natural causes hours apart.

In a statement, Gov. Doug Ducey expressed sadness and also celebrated Hull’s achievements and impact on the state.

“Through 25 years of public service, Gov. Hull steered Arizona through sometimes turbulent political times, providing steady leadership and an unwavering commitment to doing what’s right and ethical,” Ducey said.

“She will be remembered for her strength of conviction, grace and ability to bring people together for the long-time benefit of all Arizonans.”

Ducey also posted a video tribute to Hull.

Hull was secretary of state, second in Arizona’s chain of succession, when Gov. Fife Symington resigned after being convicted of bank fraud in 1997.

She went on to win the next election for governor and served in the role until 2003.

The state’s first female governor was Democrat Rose Mofford, a secretary of state also elevated to fill a midterm vacancy in the governor’s office but who did not run for a term of her own.

Hull’s Jan. 4, 1999, inauguration with four other women elected to statewide offices, collectively dubbed “The Fab Five,” gave the state an all-female line of succession.

Regarded as a conservative while serving as a legislator, Hull’s tenure as governor included moderate policy initiatives. She said while governor she was responding to broader responsibilities of a statewide office.

“I tried to steer the Titanic a little bit more toward the education of our kids, and I really put the focus on children. Unfortunately a focus costs money and that’s what we did,” Hull told The Associated Press in a December 2002 interview shortly before leaving office.

In her first year in office, Hull won legislative approval of a new school facilities funding program to resolve a decades-long political and legal fight over disparities among districts. She also won approval for subsidized health care for children from low-income families.

In addition to Hull’s groundbreaking election to the state’s top position, the Republican was the first woman to serve as speaker of the state House.

Hull was born Aug. 8, 1935, in Kansas City, Missouri, and she grew up in Kansas, where she graduated from Kansas State University and worked as a school teacher. Her husband was on obstetrician whose profession took him to the Four Corners region before they settled in metro Phoenix.

CORRECTION: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly said Hull was Arizona’s first female governor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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