Remembering Becky Lockhartby Senator Mike Lee
Posted on 2015-01-21
LEE. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to Becky
Lockhart, former Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, who
tragically passed away on January 17, after a brief battle with a rare
and devastating disease.
Becky Lockhart was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House in the State of Utah. She did so in a truly extraordinary manner. She established a pattern of leadership that will be a model and a guide for wise legislative leaders in our State and across this great Nation for many, many years to come.
I affectionately yet admiringly refer to Speaker Lockhart as the iron lady of Utah as she possessed so many of the qualities of the original iron lady, Margaret Thatcher. Grounded in conservative principles, passionate about policy, and committed to federalism and local control, she knew where she stood and she stood firm every single time.
She followed the admonition of another great leader in American politics, Abraham Lincoln, who said, ``I will stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.'' Professionally trained as a nurse, Speaker Lockhart also understood the [[Page S339]] softer yet equally important gifts of compassion and concern, as well as listening and laughter. Even in the most heated discussion, she could change a room with a flash of her charismatic smile, a wink and a grin, or even some well-worded sarcasm to provide a little bit of levity.
Combining her nurse's intuition and strong leadership made her the perfect combination of satin and steel. She could and would and did stand up to any political or business bureaucracy, forcefully correct a colleague, rebuke an inaccurate report, and challenge the small-minded ideas and thinkers. Less reported was her impact and influence as a mentor to new members of the Utah House of Representatives, her work in helping more women become involved in the political process, and how she gave voice to those who did not have a strong voice of their own.
Above all, Speaker Lockhart looked out for, longed to be with, cherished and loved her family. She knew that the work she did in the walls of her own home was the most important work she would or could ever do. Becky also recognized that family is the bulwark of society and the strength of our Nation.
More than the ink of good press and the accolades of others, Speaker Lockhart knew that her most important legacy would not be recorded in history books, it would not be recorded in the Utah State code that has so many of her words written on it. No, it would be written in the hearts of her family and her friends.
I have been lifted by Becky Lockhart's leadership, inspired by her insight and her integrity, and encouraged by her commitment to the U.S. Constitution, and her love of country and am most blessed to call her my friend. Speaker Becky Lockhart, the iron lady of Utah, will indeed be heralded for her satin-and-steel leadership in the Utah House of Representatives. She will indeed be remembered for all that she did, but more significantly she will hold a special place in countless hearts because of who she was.
I pay tribute to this special person, this amazing leader, and this beloved friend, whose loss we mourn this very week, and who some Members of this body were privileged to know. It is my honor to do so.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico is recognized.