by Becky GINOS
SALT LAKE CITY—Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake has worked tirelessly for 10 years in the legislature but she announced last session that she would not seek reelection. Throughout her years of service, she has been committed to strengthening women and the family.
Last week the YWCA recognized her contributions as she was named Public Official of the Year along with Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City at the Utah Women’s Policy Conference held downtown.
“Becky worked her tail off to get a resolution passed in the last session,” said YWCA Director of Public Policy Erin Jamison, who presented the awards. “She was waving her arms from the back and trying to get people to listen. We’re devastated that she won’t be in the House but we know she won’t be going away.”
The YWCA’s mission is “eliminating racism, empowering women.” The conference was the first of its kind bringing together policymakers, legislators, leading experts on women’s policy issues, advocates for Utah women and girls and other concerned community members to discuss the well-being of Women in Utah.
“It’s a privilege for me to have so many members of my family here to support me,” said Edwards as she accepted the award. “They have supported these issues too throughout my service and my life.”
It’s important to be together today because in 2019 it’s the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad, she said. “You are probably wondering what that has to do with us.”
She went on to explain that people were trying to bring the two sides of the country together. “They met in the middle in Utah so it was referred to as the crossroads of the West,” said Edwards. “It meant for the first time goods and services as well as people could cross the continent. It was a game changer in so many ways for Utah.”
Edwards likened it to society today. “We’re facing a crossroads in education, jobs and racial injustice,” she said. “We have a chance to come together with a vision of teamwork. I spent the last 10 years in public policy in the trenches. Thanks to those who were there with me.”
Many of the bills Edwards has championed have related to families and better conditions for women. “You have a voice,” she said. “Tell your story. Your efforts need to continue. Think of yourselves as the ultimate golden spike. You are collaborators and a connector for those issues.”