Oral Histories

Sam Taylor


Sam Taylor

Q: Did you get involved in any local politics?

A: The year I quit state senate, the school board lost 3 of its 5 members. One died, two moved away, and so, I was appointed to the school board because they had no continuity there. Having been in the legislature for 2 terms, I, at least, understood the school finance laws. So I went on the school board and I served nearly 8 years there, as president of the school board. That was interesting. During the time I was on the school board Cal Rampton called up and said, “How’s the family situation?” I said, “It’s fine, we’re having a lot of fun enjoying our kids.” He said, “Would you have a couple of days during the week, a time or two a month to come back to work for me?” “Well, doing what?” He said, “I need a tame Republican on the Road Commission.” So I went on the Road Commission, which later became the Transportation Commission, and served there for 21 years, under 5 governors. The last nine years I was the chairman, which meant that I was in Salt Lake almost every week. But they were always Thursdays and Fridays, which were slow days here in the office, and I had my weekends at home. The Shiloh Inn became my second home. I thoroughly enjoyed the Transportation Commission. I quit midway through my 4th 6-year term because I had philosophical differences of opinion with the current governor. When I couldn’t reconcile those differences, I said, “Life’s too short. I’m not going to rain on your parade, I’m going home. I’m not going to continue making these trips over the desert and over the mountain every week to carry a rubber stamp.”

Q: As a closing do you have any grand statements about Moab, your life in Moab, what you look forward to or what you look back on fondly?

A: It was a great place to grow up. A great place to live because of its acceptance and openness of other people. When I applied for the University scholarship that first year, I had to have 5 letters of recommendation from prominent people. Well, the first guy I went to was Russel McConkie, who was the president of the First National Bank of Moab, also the stake president of the LDS Church. “No problem, I‘ll get you your letter this afternoon.” It was always that way. My closest friends were Mormons. I went to Mutual and Primary with them and they went to Bible School with me in the summertime. I appreciate this community for its acceptance and tolerance for each other.

Q: Do you see that as still happening, or do you think it’s getting a little polarized now?

A: Well, in one arena, it’s polarized for good reason. No, I think that’s good. As I said earlier, I serve on the board of Deacons for the Community Church here, and at a Deacons meeting not long ago, I said, “I’ve noticed this new family. I know them, they have been in church the last few weeks. Have you approached them about becoming members?” The pastor said, “No, I haven’t.” I said, “Why?” And he said, “Because the Protestant churches in Moab are in a total disarray right now. We’re about the only really strong one left. These people have been going to Assembly of God or something like that all their lives, with their 4 kids. I just don’t want to rob these other congregations unless they have irreconcilable differences. If they finally decide this is where they want to land, we’ll welcome them. But I’m not going to solicit, I’m not going to proselytize.” I think that was a marvelous awakening for me.

Q: I guess the newspaper is going to keep plugging along, providing us with our information of Moab for…

A: Forever, I hope.

Q: No immediate plans to retire?

A: No, I’m not going to retire. I’ve got too many bored, retired friends. I do less and less physical work all the time. I haven’t had ink on my hands for months, but as long as they tolerate me around here, I’m going to hang around and do what I can.

Q: Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.


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