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Former Governor Celebrates 90th Birthday

Former Governor Celebrates 90th Birthday

Posted - Nov. 7, 2003 at 3:53 p.m.



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Keith McCord ReportingWe've been talking a lot about our governors lately. We have a new one, Olene Walker, who took office Wednesday. She replaced Mike Leavitt, who resigned to go and head up the EPA. And another is celebrating his 90th birthday this week!

When you visit former Utah Governor Cal Rampton in his office, you get a glimpse of political history. On the walls, a "Who's Who: with the Pope, Israel's Golda Meir, Jimmy Carter, nd a very young Al Gore.

Calvin L. Rampton, a lifelong Democrat, was Utah's first three-term governor, serving from 1964 through 1976. He got the political bug as a kid because his grandfather was very active. But the road to Capitol Hill wasn't easy; he got beat running for other offices.

Cal Rampton, Utah's 11th Governor: "Three times for the state senate. Once for the United States senate. ‘Q-but it didn't discourage you?’ Well, it did for a while.”

Rampton spent 150-thousand dollars in his first gubernatorial campaign. He got 30 people to put up $5,000 each to cover the costs. Things have certainly changed in politics since he was in office, and not just with campaign spending.

Cal Rampton, Utah's 11th Governor: "All political jobs have changed in that period of time. They've all become confrontational and the parties are more antagonistic towards each other."

Rampton has always spoken his mind. He says the Bush Administration is "terrible", and doesn't think the President will get re-elected next year. And as for the big group of Democrats currently running...

Cal Rampton, Utah's 11th Governor: "They have to do such damn fool things to get attention, that it makes them look trivial. But there's some good men in there."

For the record, he likes John Kerry and General Wesley Clark.

Through the years Rampton met with many of our nation's leaders. I asked him, was there one person, or one moment that stands out, even today? He referred to a photo of himself sitting with President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. With anti-Vietnam War protestors chanting across the street from The White House, LBJ told Rampton right then that he couldn't take it anymore.

Cal Rampton, Utah's 11th Governor: "He said ‘I have got to be sure that whatever decision I make about Vietnam is made for the good of this country, and not for my political purposes. And I cannot do that if I run for president again, so I'm not running. But I don't want it announced for three weeks, so keep it quiet.’"

This week, Olene Walker took over as the 15th Governor of the state. So did this former governor have any advice for the current one?

Cal Rampton, Utah's 11th Governor: “I don’t think she needs any advice. She’s a pretty savvy lady. I think she’ll do all right.”

At age 90, Cal Rampton is still doing all right. He still goes to his law office three days a week.

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