Hillsboro, Texas , United States
|| July 10, 1929
|Died||June 18, 1999
Aug 31, 2020 06:21pm
Caucasian - Irish - Married - Cancer - Air Force - Presbyterian - Straight -
|Info||ROBERT DOUGLAS "BOB" BULLOCK |
Bob Bullock was a Democratic politician from Texas, whose career spanned four decades. His service culminated in his term as Lieutenant Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1999 during the terms of Governors Ann Richards and George W. Bush.
After a stint as an assistant attorney general and in the private practice of law, Bullock returned to public life when he was appointed secretary of state, the state's chief elections and records officer, by Governor Preston Smith. Bullock soon left the post to prepare for a statewide race for state Comptroller in the 1974 Democratic primary. Under Texas law, a secretary of state must resign in order to run for another office, a practice not required in most states.
Bullock, before he was widely known, was one of the few Texas Democrats to chastize John Connally for his party switch in 1973. In 1998, Bullock himself would urge the reelection of a Republican, then Governor Bush.
As state comptroller, Bullock was noted for his modernization of the office and for collecting certain taxes that had been previously uncollected for many years. The tax officials doing such duties became known as "Bullock raiders." Bullock was also the first elected state official to adopt an equal opportunity employment program. Bullock held the comptroller's office from 1975 to 1991. His tenure as Comptroller was marked by a series of innovations for that office and state government. He was among the first elected officials to use computer technology in state government to cut costs and improve productivity. He was the winner of numerous national awards for his managerial skills as Comptroller including the Leon Rothenberg Taxpayer Service Award. During his sixteen years in office, Bullock was generally credited for turning the Comptroller's office into an effective government agency and a tremendous asset in managing the finance of Texas government. He pledged fair but aggressive audits as Comptroller and made statewide headlines with a long series of "raids" on businesses who had collected state taxes from customers but did not turn them into the state.
As an outgrowth of his tax collecting efforts, the term "Bullock's Raiders" entered the Texas government lexicon. As Comptroller of Public Accounts, his frequent and increasingly accurate forecasts on state finances allowed the Texas Legislature to better budget for state expenditures. He also developed a Taxpayers Bill of Rights to guarantee that Texas taxpayers were treated with fairness, courtesy and common sense. Bullock was re-elected overwhelmingly in 1978, 1982 and 1986 by landslide margins. In 1990, he was easily elected defeating Republican Bob Mosbacher (53 to 44%) to succeed retiring Lieutenant Governor William P. "Bill" Hobby, Jr., of a prominent Houston family. In 1994, Bullock was easily re-elected to a second four-year term as lieutenant governor defeating Republican Harold "Tex" Lezar (61% to 38%), but didn't seek re-election to a third term in 1998 leaving office being succeeded by Republican Agriculture Commissioner (and current Governor) Rick Perry on January 19, 1999.
Serving as Texas' 38th Lieutenant Governor from January 15, 1991 to January 19, 1999, Bullock favored a hands-on management style that he carried onto the lieutenant governor's office and resulted in numerous achievements as the presiding officer of the Texas Senate. Bullock overhauled the ethics laws during his first term in an effort to restore public confidence in state government. He created the Texas Performance Review for the State Comptroller to analyze spending at state agencies and recommended cost-saving alternatives. He helped consolidate all environmental agencies into one department in an effort to better serve Texans and protecting the state's natural resources. As the state's second-highest elected statewide officeholder, Bullock aggressively pushed through a constitutional amendment requiring voter approval before a state personal income tax can be enacted and requiring the money be earmarked for education, if voters approve the tax. He led efforts to modernize the Texas tax system and worked on state problems in tort reform, health and juvenile justice. Bullock was instrumental in finding a legislative solution to get Texas out of federal court lawsuits involving prisons and mental health. He was a leader in legislative efforts to revamp the state's educational funding system and ushered through a law that created the state's first comprehensive water conservation and management plan, and promoted establishing a state museum in the Capitol Complex. Lawmakers during the 76th Legislature voted to name the museum after him for his work on the project.
Born in Hillsboro, Bullock attended Hill College, a junior college. He received his bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock in 1955 and held a law degree from Baylor University in Waco. His political papers are housed in the Baylor Collection of Political Materials. Bullock also served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Bullock's adult life was marred by alcoholism and divorce; he had a total of five marriages, although some were repeats (he married his 5th and final wife in Jan Felts in 1985). He stopped drinking in 1981 and remained active with Alcoholics Anonymous for the remainder of his life. Bullock died of lung cancer on June 18, 1999 at his home in Austin, Texas; funeral services were held at the Central Christian Church on Sunday, June 20, 1999 where many political and community leaders ranging then-Governor George W. and Laura Bush, then-Lieutenant Governor Rick and Anita Perry, then-House Speaker Pete Laney of Hale Center, former governors Ann Richards, Mark Wells White, Bill Clements among many others attended the service and was buried with full military honors at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.