The Passing of a Giant
Cal Rampton (November 6, 1913 – September 16, 2007), three-term governor of Utah (1965 to 1977), is a model of what Western Democrat hopes to stand for. Here are a few of the tributes that marked his passing last month.
President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... said the three-term Democratic governor was "a man of good will" who leaves behind a "heritage of honor."
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said Rampton told him recently that the biggest challenge now in public service is the lack of civility. Huntsman, a Republican, recalled Rampton saying just weeks before his death on Sunday, "The system has become too darn mean."
Rampton is credited with bringing Utah into the modern era after taking office in 1965, especially in education and tourism development. "All the modern issues we deal with today got their kick-start with Governor Rampton," Huntsman said.
Party Chairman Wayne Holland said, "The Guv" serves as a model when he tries to recruit young candidates to run for office, both for his leadership ability and his perseverance, since Rampton ran and lost a half-dozen times.
Holland said he, Rampton and some other Democrats were meeting recently at The Alta Club, when one Democrat started griping about what they felt were dirty political attacks from Republicans, and asked when Democrats were going to respond in kind.
Rampton slammed his fist on the table and bellowed in his gruff voice: " 'Integrity! Integrity is what we're about,' " Holland said. " 'We may win or we may lose, but we'll never lose our integrity.' "
He … was the governor that modernized state government both financially and organizationally… Rampton was the first 'modern' governor. He streamlined state government, aggressively marketed the state to create jobs and go after the Winter Olympics….Every governor since Rampton should be very grateful to Cal Rampton because Utah state government is much more manageable today than it was when he became governor in 1964.
Republican Governor Norm Bangerter served as House speaker during the Rampton administration. He said, "I think Cal Rampton was a major catalyst in helping establish Utah as an economic factor."
During his administration the state made significant investments in public education at all levels. For more than 40 years Utah's public universities and colleges have benefited from Rampton's vision.
That model of hands-on governance was very much Cal Rampton, and I think it's, again, why people across all ideological, partisan and religious divides found him to be a governor they could support and vote for…
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)