"Introduction to the Archive " by Tony Proffitt was originally published in the Guide to the Bob Bullock Collection , June 2004.
When he announced in l997 that he would not seek a third term as Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock said, “only death will end my love affair with Texas.”
Slightly more than two years later, Texas’ 38th Lieutenant Governor was dead, but his love affair with Texas and his legacy continues.
It continues in the Bob Bullock Collection at Baylor University where Texans can view the impact that Bob Bullock had on modern state government in his 40-year career of public service.
The documents and materials can paint an overall picture of a Texan who was often praised as a political genius in the same breath that he was cussed as abrasive and controversial. It will show a Texan, who was anchored in the small town values of his hometown of Hillsboro, as he climbed the political ladder from State Representative to State Comptroller and Lieutenant Governor.
It will also show a man who genuinely believed that government could work especially if it were spurred on by a political leader who was known for his eagerness to lead in finding solutions to controversial problems.
Bullock found no problem too big to tackle. He had, however, a dislike for solutions that weren’t big enough to fit the problem.
Bullock was fond of saying that it was amazing what government could accomplish if no one worried who got the credit.
He liked to get opposing sides in a room and tell them they could not leave until they had reached an agreement. Often he would call lobbyists and special interests and tell them to stay away from his office. It was just Bullock’s way of doing what he thought was best for Texas.
Bullock was a political leader from the “old school.” He believed in politics and government that emphasized people over political ideology. At times he seemed a paradox. He had the hands-on and personal touch of President Lyndon B. Johnson at the same time he was introducing modern computer technology to state government.
The Bob Bullock Collection is a touchstone for those wanting to understand the thoughts and actions of one of the most outstanding Texas political leaders in the last half of the 20th Century. It will reinforce the notion that his legacy and history does continue his love affair with Texas.
It will serve as a reminder to Texans about Bob Bullock with the same certainty as his trademark, little Texas flags with God Bless Texas on it.