Sen. Curt Bramble, a longtime Utah lawmaker who has a reputation for at times being rather, well, curt is pushing a resolution promoting “kindness” in Utah.
That resolution, SCR8, won approval from the Utah Senate on Valentine’s Day on Tuesday — but not without some banter poking fun at Bramble’s occasionally prickly disposition.
During the Senate’s initial discussion on the resolution Monday, Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, asked Bramble, R-Provo, if he “needed to declare a conflict” while sponsoring the resolution, prompting laughs and some groans throughout the Senate chamber
Bramble quickly responded to what he jokingly called “McCay’s irreverent quip” with a serious message about the state of Utah’s political discourse.
“I appreciate the humor, but here’s a problem we all face,” Bramble said. “This is a serious side to this. Having a disagreement does not mean that you’re unkind. Having an understanding doesn’t mean that you’re going to agree. Having a disagreement on a policy doesn’t mean that you haven’t listened. And so often we conflate all of that.”
He pointed across the political aisle to Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, noting they’ve worked together for over 20 years. “Many of our ideologies are different ... and we recognize that there is a difference.”
“You can be kind at the same time you disagree. You can be direct and you can be plain spoken. That is often conflated with being unkind,” Bramble said. “So it’s appropriate that we have this as a recognition that we could all use a little bit more of.”
Years ago, in 2008, Bramble infamously made local headlines after a 24-year-old pizza delivery driver blogged about an unpleasant encounter she said she had with him after she told him the pizza company did not accept personal checks.
Bramble on Monday said he “appreciated the humor, but on a serious note” it’s an issue that’s roiling politics not just at a state level, but also a national level.
“This is something that across the country, with the tribalism, with the partisanship, with the struggles that elected officials have at all levels of government,” Bramble said.
The resolution states “now, more than ever, the world needs more kindness.” It goes on to say “kindness can be as simple as a single smile, a thoughtful message to a friend, or just a small, unexpected gesture, but the effects can be powerful.” It goes on to encourage “all Utahns to commit one kind act today and every day.”
The resolution, Bramble said, was inspired by Khosrow Semnani, an industrialist, community leader and philanthropist based in Salt Lake City. Semnani’s foundation is also sponsoring an initiative that calls for “one kind act a day.”
Bramble also pointed to Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi for promoting “Kindness Week” this week, kicked off at Centennial Middle School on Monday. Additionally, the East High School Parent Teacher Student Association launched kindness week at East High on Tuesday.
For the Senate’s initial vote on Monday, McCay was the only senator to vote against the resolution. However, on the Senate’s second vote Tuesday, McCay joined the rest of the body to support it unanimously.
Semnani joined Bramble on the Senate floor for the vote and applauded as it passed. It now goes to the House for consideration.