Only a few days ago, America lost one of the great ones. Utah Speaker, Becky Lockhart, passed away on Saturday, January 17th from a very rare brain disease, Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, a rare and aggressive degenerative neurological condition that is incurable. She contracted CJD only 2 and 1/2 months earlier, less than a month after appearing at the American Lands Council National Conference. The shock amongst those of us who love her is still rippling through our communities, as well as our hearts.
Becky was "one in a million", as was the disease that ultimately took her earthly life. But the work she did was just as rare, and it most definitely lives on.
Less than four weeks before going into the hospital, Becky was still working at a workhorse-type pace as she travelled with ALC President and UT State Rep. Ken Ivory and UT Reps. Keven Stratton and Mel Brown to Washington DC, meeting with every member of the UT Congressional Delegation to remind them that their job is to protect and defend Utah as a sovereign state. Though she was dizzy, and not feeling well at the time, no one saw her work or her passion diminish. Becky knew what needed to be done, and didn't wait for others to do it. Having chosen not to run for office again, her days as Speaker were quickly running out, and she wanted to make sure she made every moment count.
I love this picture of Becky. It is how I remember her most. I remember how comforted I was the first time I went to the Utah State Capitol to watch the legislature "up-close and personal". What I saw was a woman of incredible strength, and yet simultaneously human...compassionate...and fiercely protective of freedom and states' rights. She could stand with the most powerful leaders in society and command respect, and in the next minute feel comfortable swapping parenting stories. It was obvious that the only thing she loved more than being involved in her community was being with her family.
Her passion for the Transfer of Public Lands was unfailing and she regularly appeared at debates, teamed up with Ken, to help educate people about the constitutionality of the Transfer, as well as the necessity for it. As a daughter of a forester, she knew whereof she spoke, and she was a force to be reckoned with.
Her sense of humor brought peace to stressful days at the capitol. Her professionalism maintained respect among colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Her passion and knowledge brought direction to the legislative body, and everyone knew that what you saw was what you got with Becky. And with Becky...we got an awful lot.
Director of Communications
American Lands Council
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