Bob Bullock

Last updated
Bob Bullock
38th Lieutenant Governor of Texas
In office
January 15, 1991 January 19, 1999
Governor Ann Richards
George W. Bush
Preceded by William P. Hobby, Jr.
Succeeded by Rick Perry
34th Texas Comptroller
In office
Governor Dolph Briscoe
Bill Clements
Mark Wells White
Preceded by Robert S. Calvert
Succeeded by John Sharp
72nd Secretary of State of Texas
In office
September 1, 1971 January 2, 1973
Governor Preston Smith
Preceded by Martin Dies, III
Succeeded by V. Larry Teaver, Jr.
Personal details
Robert Douglas Bullock

July 10, 1929
Hillsboro, Texas
DiedJune 18, 1999 (aged 69)
Austin, Texas
Resting place Texas State Cemetery, Austin
Political party Democratic
  • Amelia Hooks
  • Gloria Jan Felts Bullock
Alma mater
Profession Attorney
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Service/branchFlag of the United States Air Force.svg  United States Air Force
Years of service1951–1954
Rank Staff Sergeant
Battles/wars Korean War
The Texas State History Museum in Austin is named for Bullock, who as lieutenant governor pushed for establishment of the facility. TexasStateHistoryMuseum-2010-08-b.JPG
The Texas State History Museum in Austin is named for Bullock, who as lieutenant governor pushed for establishment of the facility.
The Bob Bullock Expressway in Laredo, Texas is an outlying segment of Interstate 35. Bob Bullock Loop sign IMG 6055.JPG
The Bob Bullock Expressway in Laredo, Texas is an outlying segment of Interstate 35.
The Bob Bullock Sports Center at Hill College in his native Hillsboro, Texas, opened in 1988, when Bullock was still the Texas state comptroller. Bob Bullock Sports Center, Hillsboro, TX IMG 5576.JPG
The Bob Bullock Sports Center at Hill College in his native Hillsboro, Texas, opened in 1988, when Bullock was still the Texas state comptroller.

Robert Douglas Bullock, Sr. (July 10, 1929 – June 18, 1999), was a Democratic politician from Texas, whose career spanned four decades. His service culminated in his term as the 38th Lieutenant Governor of Texas from January 15, 1991 to January 19, 1999 during the term of Governor Ann Richards and the first term of Governor George W. Bush.

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.


Early life

Born in Hillsboro in Hill County, Bullock attended Hill College, a junior college. In 1955, he received his bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He obtained a law degree from Baylor University in Waco.

Hillsboro, Texas City in Texas, United States

Hillsboro is a city in and the county seat of Hill County, Texas, United States. The population was 8,456 at the 2010 census.

Hill County, Texas County in the United States

Hill County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 35,089. Its county seat is Hillsboro. The county is named for George Washington Hill, secretary of war and secretary of the navy under the Republic of Texas. Hill County is part of Central Texas, though not included in Texas Hill Country.

A junior college is a post-secondary educational institution designed to prepare students for either skilled trades or for additional education at another college with more advanced academic material. Students typically attend junior colleges for 1–3 years.

Bullock served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

Korean War 1950–1953 war between North Korea and South Korea

The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.

Political career

Bullock began his career in public service as a member of the Texas House of Representatives in the 1960s. 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 of Texas, 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. He served for four consecutive four-year terms.

Texas House of Representatives

The Texas House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Texas Legislature. It consists of 150 members who are elected from single-member districts for two-year terms. As of the 2010 Census, each member represents about 167,637 people. There are no term limits, with the most senior member, Tom Craddick, having been elected in 1968.

Secretary of State of Texas member of the executive department of the state of Texas

The Texas Secretary of State is one of the six members of the executive department of the state of Texas, in the United States. Under the Texas Constitution, the appointment is made by the Governor, with confirmation by the Texas Senate. Rolando Pablos is the 111th person to hold the office. He was appointed by Greg Abbott, and sworn in on January 6, 2017. Pablos has announced his resignation, effective December 15, 2018.

A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, governor may be the title of a politician who governs a constituent state and may be either appointed or elected. The power of the individual governor can vary dramatically between political systems, with some governors having only nominal or largely ceremonial power, while others having a complete control over the entire government.

Bullock, before he was widely known, was one of the few Texas Democrats to chastise John Connally for his party switch in 1973. [1] In 1998, Bullock himself would urge the reelection of a Republican, then-Governor Bush.

John Connally politician

John Bowden Connally Jr. was an American politician. He served as the 39th Governor of Texas and as the 61st United States Secretary of the Treasury. He began his career as a Democrat but switched to Republican in 1973.

Republican Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

In 1973, Bullock first sought the Democratic nomination for Comptroller. The octogenarian incumbent, Robert S. Calvert, soon withdrew from the contest when he gauged Bullock's strength. In November 1974, he was elected in the general election defeating Republican Nick Rowe, a former Vietnam War Prisoner of war: Bullock garnered 1,099,559 votes (71.61%) to Rowe's 419,657 votes (27.33%). Once sworn into office in January 1975, Bullock promised to modernize the office and to collect certain taxes that had been previously gone uncollected for many years. The officials collecting such taxes were known as "Bullock raiders." Bullock was also the first elected state official to adopt an equal opportunity employment program, a policy that Calvert had opposed. Bullock 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 management skills, including the "Leon Rothenberg Taxpayer Service Award." During his sixteen years in office, Bullock pledged fair but aggressive audits. He made statewide headlines with a long series of "raids" on businesses which had collected state taxes from customers but had not turned them into the state. As an outgrowth of his tax collecting efforts, the term "Bullock's Raiders" entered the Texas government lexicon.

Robert Seale Calvert was the longest-serving Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, serving for 26 years.

James N. Rowe Recipient of the Purple Heart medal

James Nicholas "Nick" Rowe was a United States Army officer and one of only 34 American prisoners of war to escape captivity during the Vietnam War. Colonel Rowe was credited with developing the rigorous US Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training program taught to high-risk military personnel and the U.S. Army doctrine which institutionalizes these techniques and principles to be followed by captured personnel.

Prisoner of war person who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict

A prisoner of war (POW) is a person, whether combatant or non-combatant, who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates to 1660.

As Comptroller of Public Accounts, his frequent and increasingly accurate forecasts on state finances allowed the legislature to budget more accurately. He also developed a "Taxpayers Bill of Rights" to guarantee fairness, courtesy and common sense. Bullock was re-elected overwhelmingly in 1978 virtually unopposed garnering 1,288,320 votes (100.00%) since nobody bothered to run against him, in 1982 defeating Republican Mike Richards: Bullock garnered 1,791,650 votes (58.02%) to Richards' 1,245,328 votes (40.33%) and again in 1986 defeating Libertarian George Meeks: garnering 2,416,658 votes (90.02%) to Meeks' 267,872 votes (9.98%) and although Bullock refused to seek the governorship during the 1980s, he saw his eyes on the lieutenant governorship when on June 1, 1987, the longtime incumbent William P. "Bill" Hobby, Jr. of Houston announced he will not to seek re-election to a sixth term. Bullock quickly announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor in September of 1987.

Lieutenant Governorship

In 1990, he was elected Lieutenant Governor, having defeated the 40-year-old Republican nominee, businessman Robert Mosbacher, Jr., of Houston, the son of the sitting United States Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher. Bullock prevailed, garnering 2,002,360 votes (51.69 percent) to Mosbacher's 1,741,893 votes (44.97 percent) for the right to succeed the retiring Bill Hobby. Bullock took office on January 15, 1991, when Democrat Ann W. Richards became the state's second female governor. In 1994, Bullock was easily elected to a second four-year term as lieutenant governor defeating Republican Harold "Tex" Lezar. Bullock received 2,631,843 votes and (61.48 percent), while Lezar got 1,648,848 votes (38.52 percent). He was inaugurated for his second term on January 17, 1995, while Republican George W. Bush was sworn-in as the 46th Governor of Texas, having unseated Ann Richards. Bullock did not seek election to a third term in 1998, having been succeeded by Republican Agriculture Commissioner (and later Governor) Rick Perry on January 19, 1999.

Serving as Texas' 38th Lieutenant Governor, 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. [2] 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.

As Lieutenant Governor, he professed a nonpartisan approach to lawmaking, often telling members of the Texas Senate to leave their politics at the door. Bullock and Bush got along well, in part because Bullock got to lead an increasingly Republican legislature to agree to key laws and policies and, "when they passed, Bullock and House Speaker Pete Laney allowed Bush to claim some credit." [2] Bullock unofficially endorsed Republican Governor Bush's presidential campaign even before it got off the ground. At a November 8, 2006, post-election press conference, a reporter from the Austin American-Statesman , who had covered Bush's tenure as governor, asked Bush if he thought then U.S. House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi resembled Bullock. The President replied that the reporter's question was an inside joke. The question was a thinly-veiled reference to the close working relationship, well known in Texas, to have existed between Republican Bush and Democrat Bullock; the reporter apparently was asking whether Bush would be capable of forging a similar bipartisan relationship with the members of the new Democratic legislative majority in the U. S. Congress.

Bullock was renowned for his blunt and sometimes politically incorrect speaking style, but also for his trademark closing line "God bless Texas." A lover of Texas history, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Texas State History Museum, located just to the north of the State Capitol in Austin. Opened to the public on April 21, 2001 (San Jacinto Day) after Bullock's death, it was named in his honor. The second-floor lobby of the museum features a seven-foot-tall bronze statue of Bullock holding a giant gavel, next to a gallery of items and a video from his career in politics.

His political papers are housed in the Baylor Collection of Political Materials.

Personal life

Bob Bullock grave marker at Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas Bob Bullock gravestone, Austin, TX IMG 2163.JPG
Bob Bullock grave marker at Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas

Bullock's adult life was marred by alcoholism and divorce; he had a total of five marriages, although at least one of them was a repeat. He stopped drinking in 1981 and remained active with Alcoholics Anonymous for the remainder of his life.

Bullock died in Austin of cancer and is interred there at the Texas State Cemetery.


Texas State Highway Loop 20 in Laredo is named the Bob Bullock Loop in his honor. The Laredo Energy Arena is located just off the Bob Bullock Loop. The Texas State History Museum, located a few blocks north of the Capitol Building in Austin, is named to honor Bullock's efforts in the establishment of the facility. [3]

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  1. Charles Ashman, Connally: The Adventures of Big Bad John, New York: William Morrow and Company, 1974, pp. 284–285
  2. 1 2 Dave McNeely and Jim Henderson (March 2008). "Bob Bullock: Experience Counts" . Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  3. "About The Museum". Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Carmichall
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 54  (Hillsboro)

Succeeded by
Ronald E. Roberts
Political offices
Preceded by
Martin Dies, III
Secretary of State of Texas
Succeeded by
V. Larry Teaver, Jr.
Preceded by
Robert S. Calvert
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Succeeded by
John Sharp
Preceded by
William P. Hobby, Jr.
Lieutenant Governor of Texas
January 15, 1991 – January 19, 1999
Succeeded by
Rick Perry