Governor Cal Rampton

Robin, Cal, & PeteWhen I was eight years old, I was walking in downtown Salt Lake City with my mother. As we crossed a street with my hand in hers, she stopped to talk to a man who I didn’t recognize. I don’t remember what the conversation was, just that it was complimentary. As we left the stranger, my mother turned to me and said, “Do you know who that was?” I shook my head. “That was the governor of Utah.”

Cal Rampton was my first contact with the political world. He remains an inspiration to me. In early 2005 when I was just finding my sea-legs as a candidate, I was introduced to a group of longtime Democrats who met regularly for lunch. Cal Rampton was among them and as they questioned me and told stories of their own, I found a well of courage to draw on. It was stunning to me to find out that Cal was a Bountiful boy too and that he had a friendship with my grandfather’s brother.

I had to leave early to catch a flight to a Western Caucus meeting in Montana. Cal shook my hand and told me, “Whatever I can do to help, please let me know.” Whether he realized it or not, Governor Rampton had already done enough. Along with my own efforts, I know that many other people have been inspired by Cal’s tenacity and the legacy he gave Utah.

Governor Calvin L. Rampton passed away last night, Sunday September 16th. I will remember him always.

8 thoughts on “Governor Cal Rampton

  1. The Trib article said:

    “When a reporter confronted Rampton at his monthly televised news conference, stating, “Isn’t it true you improperly served alcohol at the Governor’s Mansion?” Rampton replied: “Yep. It won’t happen again.”

    It’s rather sad to compare that to today’s politicians who get caught in an embarrassing or illegal act. Deny, deny, deny. Lie, lie, lie.

  2. Pete,

    I am willing and desireous to do what I can to get you to DC. We Utahan, we Americans, we members of the world at large need you in DC.


  3. He will undoubtedly be missed and has done his job of leaving this world better off than it was without him. What we can all do is hope to honor his memory by striving to make a difference and hopefully you, Pete, will continue to work with the community here in Utah and make the political system more transparent, honest and representative of your constituency.

  4. Dear Pete,

    Thank you so much for your message regarding Gov. Rampton. I remember once when he was older (like I am now) and we were on our way to a meeting somewhere. He stopped me and asked where the entrance to building was and how we would find our way to the correct rooms would be. I told him that I would take him. I offered my arm but I had the feeling that I should not have done that. He was quite mobile. As usual your message was perfect.

  5. I was a Utah Junior Democrat in the 60’s. As high school students we were not old enough to vote but we were all highly motivated. Even though there were only eight students at the meeting Cal Rampton came to speak to us about the importance of public service. He was then preparing to run for Utah Governor and later won. Forty three years after meeting Cal Rampton I still remember that he took time from his busy day to come speak to a few idealistic kids. The service he gave Utah during his tenure as governor solidified my admiration for him. The world isn’t as good a place without Cal Rampton.

  6. He was and IS a tribute to good and brave people everywhere.
    I am reminded of a Jewish teacher, Rabbi Hillel, who said “If I am not for myself; who will be, if I am only for myself what am I? If not now, when?”


  7. Cal was one of a kind, a great governor and someone who saw people for who they were, no matter what they wore or where they stood on the economic ladder. I remember meeting him while standing in line, waiting to be seated for dinner. We both were starving and talked ourselves into a frenzy of hunger. Laughing and chatting with your governor standing in a line, how many people can have an experience like that?

    A good man has passed.

  8. I had a beautiful chance encounter with Gov.Rampton a few years ago when I came in to check on my work in the University Life Sciences building (original medical school building, built about 1900), one Sunday afternoon in my grubby gardening clothes. A chubby gentleman on my path stopped to talk. I suspected, from photos I had seen, that he was our former Governor, but was not certain. He pointed to the old Biology building and said that he used to work there. Surprised, I asked what he had done. He said he had been a janitor, working during the 1930’s under WPA. To myself, I discounted my foolish notion that he might have been the Guv.

    Then he noticed the button I was wearing, “Stop Legacy Freeway”, and asked about my opposition. He clearly was acquainted with the politics of that situation, and offered some cogent thoughts about how resistance might be fostered. No run-of-the-mill janitor, it quickly became apparent.

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