Millennium Countdown: 1952 | NevadaAppeal.com

Millennium Countdown: 1952

by staff

47 days to the millennium

Feb. 14, 1952

Paper: Daily Appeal

Editor and Publisher: Neal Van Sooy

Managing Editor: Peter T. Kelley

Advertising: William Dolan

Press foreman: Derrel A. Fentress

An independent newspaper published evenings except Saturday and Sunday at King and Division streets.

Telephone: 412

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Leased wire: United Press

Nevada’s Bible and a 20-year senate career

By Kelli Du Fresne

George Payne sold the Nevada Appeal to Neal Van Sooy and by Feb. 14, 1952, the paper has moved to the Carson Brewery Company building at the corner of King and Division streets.

Peter T. Kelley remains as editor, but will leave in two months to run George Malone’s 1952 campaign for U.S. Senate.

Today, he’s writing about another senate candidate, Alan Harvey Bible.

Malone, a Republican, would not get the chance to run against Bible, as Bible was defeated in the primary.

Bible lost in part because of his close connection to Sen. Pat McCarran and because he took the upstart Thomas Mechling for granted.

Bible was a 1930 graduate of the University of Nevada. Graduated from Georgetown University Law School in 1934. He then served as Storey County District Attorney and by 1943 had become the youngest attorney general in the U.S. From here, and with the help of McCarran he launched a 20-year career in the U.S. Senate.

During his first senate campaign, Kelley wrote:

“Alan Bible., former att’y gen’l, announces candidacy for senate, Vigorous campaign through state pledged”

Alan Bible, 42-year-old former Nevada attorney general, today formally announced his candidacy for the United States senate on the Democratic ticket.

His expected declaration for the senate was made in the form of a letter to James Johnson of Fallon, state Democratic chairman, and also by James Reardon, Ormsby County Democratic chairman.

Very well known in the state where he has been active in the Democratic party for the past 17 years, Bible’s announcement came as no surprise.

Though he served as attorney general of Nevada for eight years and was unopposed by candidates from either party in 1946 elections, he announced early last election year that he would not seek re-election to the state post, and it was generally felt at that time that he would seek the Democratic nomination for United States Senator in the 1952 election.

In his letter to the Democratic state chairman announcing his candidacy, he said, “I believe that my governmental training, my experience and my record of public service in the interest of good government qualify me for this position. It is an honor to seek the Democratic nomination.

“Although it has been my good fortune to serve my state for many years and to have visited all of the counties many times, I look forward with pleasure to traveling throughout Nevada immediately renewing old and making new acquaintances. I shall carry out this vigorous campaign at once.”

A third generation Nevadan and a student of government for the past score of years, Bible’s decision to seek the senatorship from his native state comes as the result of his services in both state and county government.

Residing in Washington for three years where he worked on the floor of the U.S. senate, he obtained a legal degree from Georgetown University and became thoroughly familiar with parliamentary procedures of government.

Returning to Nevada in 1935, he was appointed to the post of district attorney of Storey County, a job which he pursued with liking since it opened an avenue of practical study into mining, one of the state’s major economic factors.

As a youth in Fallon, where he graduated from Churchill County High School, he had obtained a thorough grounding in agriculture and the livestock industry.

After three years of county service in the Comstock area, he was appointed assistant attorney general under the late Gray Mashburn, and in March, 1938, moved to Carson City to take over his new duties.

Four years later, he was a successful candidate for the top position when Mashburn did not seek reelection, and at the age of 32 became the youngest attorney general in the United States. Despite his youth, and in recognition of his ability, he later served as president of the National Association of Attorneys General. He is presently serving as state chairman for the Improvement of Judicial Administration.

Election to Nevada’s top legal position brought additional intricate and knotty problems of government. Some of those problems have become integral parts of the state’s economy. The power, water and manufacturing aspects connected with the Colorado River, Boulder Dam and Basic Magnesium which have played such an important role in the development of Southern Nevada occupied a great deal of this time, and at present, in addition to his private law practice in Reno, where he makes his home, he is legal advisor to the Colorado River Commission.

During his active public life, the senatorial candidate has still found time to serve as president of the University of Nevada Alumni Association and to participate in service and fraternal organizations such as the Carson City Rotary Club, the Eagles and the Masonic orders, as well as the Nevada Peace Officers’ Association.

He is married to the former Loucile Jacks, and they reside at 48 Heath Circle with their three sons, Paul, William and David.

A third generation Nevadan, Bible was born in Lovelock Nov. 20, 1909, the eldest of two sons of Jake and Isabel (Welch) Bible.

Bible’s first nine years were spent in Lovelock, until a fire destroyed his family home. The family then moved to Fallon where his father bought the Peoples Brothers Grocery Store.

In his book “Senator Alan Bible and the Politics of the New West,” Gary E. Elliot wrote that Bible’s time in Fallon was to make an impression on him that would last throughout his senate career as he sought ways to improve the economy and find economic vitality in the arid desert.

Bible “unashamedly sought federal dollars for every conceivable project and plan that would bolster Nevada’s economy. Every section of the state bears the imprint of this effectiveness,” Elliot wrote.

He resigned when he became ill, dying 14 years later at the age of 78 Sept. 12, 1988.

In an interview before his death, Bible said, “I got the greatest pleasure out of trying to help people. There can be no greater reward in life.”

During his tenure, testing of atomic weapons was being done quite regularly in the Southern Nevada deserts, but Bible’s political career shows little connection. Instead, his focus seems to have been on water, mining, national parks and recreation.

It is likely that while chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Bible directed money to the test site and the rocket test site in an effort to bolster Nevada’s economy, but there is little mention of this in Elliot’s biography.

Bible was victorious in his second quest for the U.S. Senate defeating Ernest Brown by 12,573 votes in 1954 taking control of the seat of his mentor the late Sen. Patrick McCarran.

Brown seems to have harbored no ill will and allowed Bible to get a jump on the incoming class of freshmen senators. Brown, was appointed Oct. 1, 1954 to fill the term of McCarran. Brown lost the election in November then resigned his seat Dec. 1, 1954, a month before his term expired.

This allowed Bible, a Democrat, to gain a measure of seniority.

Bible repaid the favor at the end of his final term in 1974 when he resigned Dec. 17 to allow Republican Paul Laxalt to take over and gain added seniority.

Only twice in the state’s history has a senator resigned early. Both moves crossed party lines but allowed Bible in 1954 and Laxalt 20 years later to take charge of their predecessor’s committees rather than getting the bottom of the barrel. Nevada’s small Congressional delegation made moves like this critical at this time.

Bible held many important committee assignments including chairman of Interior Subcommittee on Public Lands, chairman of Interior Subcommittee on Parks and Recreation, chairman of Appropriations Subcommittee on Military construction, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies that handled budgets for the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Mines, Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Water Resources Research.