About Richard Richards
Richard Richards’ was a man dedicated to politics for most of his life.
His interest began during his time at Weber Normal College, before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952 — an event that helped prepare him for life and politics.
After his time in the army, Richards finished a law degree at the University of Utah and became a mainstay in Utah Republican Party politics. His state political prowess led to him working for prominent national figures such as Richard Nixon, Bob Dole, Harry Dent, and President Ronald Reagan.
As a consultant to the president, Richards became a close friend of Reagan’s, and was appointed as the Regional Political Director for the Reagan-Bush campaign. He was instrumental in directing the presidential campaign through 19 western states, helping Reagan become the 40th president of the United States.
Richards was then elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1981. A year later, he accompanied Reagan to Utah during the president’s visit to Ogden and Hooper. He introduced the President of the United States to 15,000 people from his home state -- a treasured moment in his political career.
In 1982, Richards announced he would not seek reelection when his term ended, and spent the next five years as a lobbyist. He got back into politics in 1987, serving as an advisor over the western states for George H. W. Bush’s presidential campaign. Richards was considered for Secretary of the Interior after Bush was elected.
After spending 17 years in Washington, D.C., Richards and his wife Annette decided to come back home to Ogden, Utah.
Richards received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree from Weber State University in 2003 and was encouraged by others to document his political experiences. With the help of his wife, friends and associates, Richard Richards’ life story, Climbing the Political Ladder, One Rung at a Time, was published by Weber State University in 2006.
The Institute for Politics, Decency and Ethical Conduct was established in May 2007 through a generous lead gift from Richard and Annette Richards and many other contributors supporting Richards, Weber State University, and the institute’s mission.
Richards’ own words from his book best describe his motivation for establishing the Institute for Politics, Decency and Ethical Conduct at Weber State University.
“I want to demonstrate, through my life’s own experiences, that young people with reasonable ability, a strong desire to do well, the patience to build from one strength to the next, and a willingness to work hard can become major players in the political organizations of the United States. It is not easy. It takes commitment and some sacrifice, but it can be done.”
“At a time when the future of democracy seems precarious, I feel strongly about lifting an affirming voice for its values,” Richards said in his book.
Richards was well-known for his commitment to what he called "the four pillars of society": ethics, religion, politics, and science.