Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Meet Adam Schrager, author of “The Principled Politician”
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Meet Adam Schrager, author of “The Principled Politician”

The Principled Politician: The Ralph Carr Story," is a biography of Colorado governor Ralph CarrErin and I are trying something different from our interviews with Asian Americans, and hosting a conversation with our friend Adam Schrager, the author of “The Principled Politician: The Ralph Carr Story.”

The interview is scheduled for Wednesday, February 24 at 6 pm PT (7 pm MT, 9 pm ET), and like our other talks, it’s a free call held over a conference line and webcast, so you can listen via phone (long distance charges may apply) or online (free). Just register for the call, and you can also submit questions both before and during the interview on the webcast page, and we’ll pass them along to Adam.

This is a good time to revisit Adam’s excellent biography of Ralph Carr, which was published in 2008. The paperback edition has just been released, and Day of Remembrance is coming up on February 19.

OK, you say, what’s Day of Remembrance, and who’s Ralph Carr, anyway?

Author Adam SchragerDay of Remembrance is the annual commemoration of the date that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of 120,000 people of Japanese descent (half were U.S.-born American citizens).

Ralph Carr was an up-and-coming Republican politician in the 1930s who was elected governor of Colorado in 1939. The straight-talking, fiscally conservative Carr was popular on the national stage, a pundits of the day figured Colorado was just a stop on his way to the White House.

But when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and a wave of anti-Japanese hysteria spread across the U.S., Carr spoke out against internment, claiming it was unconstitutional to imprison citizens simply because of their race. His opposition to internment eventually cost him his political career. He voted out of office in 1943, and later lost a race for a senate seat before his death in 1950.

Today, there’s a bust of Carr at Sakura Square, Denver’s one-block Japanese business district and one at the Colorado state capitol, and the state legislature last year named a stretch of highway 285 crossing the Continental Divide after him. That’s who Ralph Carr is.

Schrager brings his skills as a journalist (readers who live in Colorado might recognize him as the political reporter for KUSA 9News, the highest-rated news station in Denver) and considerable talent “The Principled Politician” does a great job of evoking Carr’s folksy personality and the tenor of the times.

It’s a fine work of historical research — Schrager found audio recordings by the governor, who was a completist at chronicling the day-to-day workings of his office, and he also interviewed people who knew Carr. Schrager adds details that add vibrancy to his narrative, puts Carr’s career into context of the historical events that swirled around him, and he captures Carr’s lively dialogue and makes the man come to life within the pages of the book.

“The Principled Politician” is a fine testament to a man whose legacy is almost forgotten by most people … but not Japanese Americans. You can learn more about Carr, the book, and about Adam Schrager, by joining us for our conversation on February 24.