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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Reed Bullen

By Senator Lyle Hillyard
District 25: Cache and Rich Counties

Reed Bullen served as a Utah State Senator for 22 years and held most of the leadership positions in the Senate. He passed away October 9th, 2005, just one month short of reaching his 99th birthday. His wife, Kathryn, died in 1990 so he has basically lived alone since that time. He served a rich full life and has had a tremendous impact on this valley and the state. He had 5 children all of whom have had successful lives. He began the radio business in Cache Valley in 1938 with the opening of KVNU radio. That was later expanded to bring in cable TV as well. With his retirement a number of years ago, these businesses were sold but are still doing well and continuing to serve the area. Reed also has served as a Bishop, the first Stake President of the USU Stake, which he helped to organize and he served in that position for 15 years. He later served as a Patriarch and President of the Logan Temple.

I worked closely with him in a number of ways but I thought two experiences tied in with politics should be shared. We once had a good discussion about campaigning for election and he told me that his way of campaigning was to print up small business cards with his name on the front and on the back that he was running for the State Senate. He gave them out as he went about his business and he never came close to losing. He had no lawn signs, radio or newspaper ads, mailers, or door hangers. He didn’t even go door to door. He said that people ran because they were well known in the community and campaign managers were not needed.

Several years ago, we were enjoying refreshments at a wedding reception and he turned to me and said: “Lyle, I am sure glad it is you serving now and not me.” He told me how he could not believe all the pressure and criticism we received in the press. He shared what their days were like while in session and things they did with their spare time. As we discussed the differences between his era and mine, we came to a conclusion about what has caused the stark contrast: Today we rely too much on government to solve our problems.

As co-chair of Executive Appropriations, I see it first hand as group after group comes to see me for more money. Their programs face growing demands; they can see how much more they could do if they had more money. In some cases the feds have cut off some of their funding and the program is in danger of being lost. Utah must make tough decisions because we are required to balance our budget. It really bothers me that the Federal Government has no such safeguard. Be it the war in Iraq, damages to the Gulf area, or even the massive Highway Bill, I wonder what the Congress would do if they had to actually fund each program with current money. What if they had to cut other programs to make money available or raise taxes? That is the only way government gets money to spend. I have often heard the saying,
“Don’t tax me and don’t tax thee. Tax that fella behind the tree.”
As I watch what Congress is doing, I think they have found that fella behind the tree. It is our grandchildren who will have to pay for all this spending.

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