SALT LAKE CITY — Former Democratic Nevada Sen. Harry Reid played an unexpected role in Mike Leavitt securing a White House Cabinet post due to an encounter with the former GOP Utah governor’s father decades earlier.

Leavitt was facing tough questions in a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to head the Environmental Protection Agency when Reid, who was not a member of the committee, walked into the room and asked to be recognized.

Reid related that as a student at what is now Southern Utah University, he bought health insurance from Dixie Leavitt, a former state legislator and Mike Leavitt’s father. Reid later moved away. His wife became pregnant and when they went to the hospital, there was no coverage.

“I’m thinking to myself, this is not going to be good,” Leavitt recalls.

Reid went on to tell the committee that he called Dixie Leavitt and told him he bought the policy because he thought his wife might get pregnant. Dixie Leavitt asked him if he believed the policy had maternity coverage when he bought it. When Reid said he did, Dixie Leavitt told him to send the bills to him.

“I don’t know much about Mr. Leavitt, but if he’s anything like his father, he’s good enough for me,” Reid told the panel.

The other senators’ questions pretty much stopped after that.

“Of course the lesson from that is how can you know that 50 or 60 years later, an act of honesty and an act of integrity would in fact bless the lives of someone a generation, two generations or three generations later,” Leavitt said.

Leavitt shared that story and others at a BYU Management Society luncheon where he was the keynote speaker last week.

Leavitt, 67, told the group that he sat down with a notepad one Sunday evening to see if he could jot …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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