I was interested to read the aside naming Sen. David Watson and Rep. Shirley Jensen this year's most effective legislators. I don't know whether this is a compliment or a curse. Both have decided not to run for re-election this year.
I think this symbolizes the methodology used to award the most effective legislator. While they may have the best ratio of bills passed to bills requested, a representative legislature should function as a substitute for a meeting of citizens in person.Watson declined to run legislation endorsing the Academic Decathlon program in southern Utah. It was only after Sen. Scott Howell, a Democrat from Sandy, agreed to run the legislation that Watson jumped enthusiastically on board.
I believe the formula used by the Deseret News to describe the most effective legislator is fatally slanted toward the majority party. As we evaluate the party structure of the Legislature, we must consider that the minority party must work twice as hard just to keep up with the majority.
I believe Howell and Rep. Judy Buffmire are equally, if not more, effective. They have earned our recognition through their often silent service by taking on difficult issues and standing their ground on principles in a Legislature that has shown little regard for the rights of any minority.
Salt Lake City