Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Remembering the Bubs Hohulin/Jerry Burch election
Hohulin, an Iantha farmer who was barely old enough to run for the office, was facing longtime incumbent Democrat Jerry Burch of Walker.
Neil asked me why I thought the story was worth doing and I answered, "There is a good chance Bubs Hohulin is going to win."
Neil told me months later that he did not think it was going to be much of a story since he did not think Hohulin had a prayer and that he only let me do it as a reward for the work I had been doing during my first few months on the job.
The story turned out to be more than I had bargained for. The event was held in the Horton Building and after the resigning Miss Teen Missouri USA Lori Suschnick of Liberal sang a couple of numbers and everyone had eaten, Hohulin began talking about how Jerry Burch was out of touch with the people of Barton and Vernon counties and that he was more interested in St. Louis and Kansas City interests as he prepared to make a run for lieutenant governor.
Hohulin ripped into the pay raise that legislators had received and said he would not accept a cent of it. In fact, he promised he would donate the money to provide one scholarship to a student in each of the high schools in his district.
That promise was greeted with thunderous applause. I knew I had a story. It did not take me long the next day to confirm that what Hohulin had promised violated state law. I got his quote on what I had discovered and ran the story, which was quickly picked up by Associated Press and became a rallying cry for Burch and the Democratic party, which ripped Hohulin for making the promise, a mistake, since many of the voters liked the idea of someone giving up a portion of his paycheck for scholarships whether it was legal or not.
When November 1990 rolled around, Bubs Hohulin was elected to the House where he would remain for a dozen years, becoming known for being against anything that was proposed. I referred to him often in my columns as the "Abominable No Man."
As for the scholarships, they were presented one time with great fanfare, then as far as I can recall, it was never done again (please someone correct me if I am wrong about that since I don't have all of the clippings and files I had at one time).
The election of Bubs Hohulin to the House of Representatives signaled a changing of the guard for state representation for Barton and Vernon counties. For two solid decades, the area was represented in the House by either Hohulin or Ed Emery.
For those who don't remember what is was like prior to 1990, the Nevada Daily Mail has a feature on Burch, who recalls his days in the legislature.
(Photo: I took this shot of Bubs Hohulin and Taco Palace mascot Barney the Bear during the opening of the business on the Lamar square in the early to mid-80s. At that time, Hohulin was working for me as a photographer and sports reporter.)