"Dewey Defeats Truman." "Norm's Chances Nil."
These two large newspaper headlines served as a backdrop Monday at Little America as the Utah business community honored Gov. Norm Bangerter, who last month won a close plurality victory over two challengers to serve a second term.The Grand Ballroom of the Little America Hotel was filled with 684 people honoring the governor. Some of the speakers referred to Truman's come-from-behind November 1948 victory and compared it to Bangerter's plurality victory after trailing at one time by 30 points in the polls.
In addition to extolling the virtues of the governor, three speakers said now that the elections are over and people have been elected and the three tax initiatives defeated, it is time for the entire state to pull together to make it a better place to live.
Fred S. Ball, president of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said it was obvious that people wanted to honor Bangerter in light of the capacity crowd.
James Welch, senior vice president and general manager of American Express, told the group that the business community will be very interested in the issues facing state government in the next four years. He said it will be a difficult time because of the limited revenues available to fund state programs.
He chided the Utah Education Association, saying he wondered if its members ever took Economics 101, an obvious reference to the UEA's demand for money during the recent election. "It is easy to make proposals for change, but implementation is difficult," Welch said.
Welch said the business community should help the governor implement necessary changes in the state.
Dr. Chase Peterson, University of Utah president, said Bangerter is a "mighty fine man, gracious, friendly and smart as blazes. He stepped up to bat and made the tough decisions."
Peterson said he recently told U. employees that defeat of the tax initiatives wasn't a time for celebration but a time to recapture enthusiasm to make the university an outstanding institution.
He said there was suspicion, anger and distrust toward education voiced during the campaign on the tax initiatives, but "now is the time for us to heal the wounds and move forward."
Another speaker was Jon M. Huntsman, owner of Huntsman Chemical Co. and Bangerter's economic adviser. Huntsman referred to his brief entry into the recent gubernatorial race earlier this year and said that when he had time to talk to Bangerter he realized they had common goals and desires.
"I have developed a close and warm relationship with the governor," Huntsman said. "I honor and respect him."
Huntsman recounted an economic development trip he and Bangerter took a few months ago and said the governor "stood tall and answered all of the questions about Utah put to him." He said he hoped each businessman in Utah would try to attract new business to the state.
Responding to standing ovations for him and his wife, Colleen, Bangerter said he admired President Harry S. Truman, not because of his politics, but for his integrity under difficult circumstances.
Bangerter said there has been plenty of dialogue on various issues during the recent election but "now it's time to move on. I hope I can be man enough to stand up and make the decisions. People will disagree, but that is the strength of the process," the governor said.
In addition to noting the support from his wife, Bangerter also praised Lt. Gov. W. Val Oveson, who has led the drive for economic development in Bangerter's first administration.