About John Burroughs, Governor
John Burroughs (April 7, 1907 – May 21, 1978) was a New Mexican businessman and the 18th Governor of New Mexico. Burroughs, a Democratic served only one-term and is remembered for honest government and introduction of the concept of a state Personnel Act to improve the quality of state workers and limit somewhat the effect of political patronage.
Burroughs attended Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) where he played on the football team and was a member of the Agg Club, Tech Chamber of Commerce, stock judging team, and student council. He graduated in 1929 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Husbandry, and later took some graduate courses at Colorado State University. He obtained his teaching certificate and, after several years of teaching agriculture in the New Mexico cities of Los Lunas and Clovis, went to work for an oil company located in the latter. In 1942 he entered the food processing industry. Eventually, he founded the "Cotton Oil Mill and Peanut Mill Company", which had branches in San Antonio, Texas and Portales, New Mexico. His Texas plant made peanut butter.
A first time representative in the New Mexico legislature from Portales in 1957, Burroughs was picked as a gubernatorial candidate for his friendly manner, photogenicity, and honest image. Burroughs beat sitting Governor Mechem by less than one percent of the vote (103,481 to 101,567).
As governor Burroughs stressed financial responsibility and pressed state officials to recover funds due and owing to the state. He created the New Mexico Department of Development incorporating the Tourist Bureau, the Economic Development Commission and the New Mexico Magazine under one authority. He was not re-elected. The next year he made a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, but was stymied early in the process when his bid was quashed by the powerful Senator Clint Anderson. He ran again for governor in 1966, receiving the Democratic pre-primary convention endorsement, but was soundly defeated in the Democratic primary. Burroughs retired from politics, but still served on the New Mexico Finance Board under governors Bruce King and Jerry Apodaca.