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Capitol women: Current, former female lawmakers gather for a documentary

Published August 17, 2012 1:25 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It was an unusual sight on Utah's Capitol Hill this week when 14 women legislators and an equal number of former lawmakers gathered for a group photograph and then a screening of KUED's documentary film "Martha Hughes Cannon," about the life of Utah's first female legislator.

The 28 formed a contingent larger than any group of women ever serving at the same time in Utah's Legislature.

Currently just 17 of the 104 lawmakers are women. You'd have to go back to 1991 to find a lower number.

Among the group were some standouts:

Former Gov. Olene Walker • Served in the Legislature before becoming the first female chief executive when Gov. Mike Leavitt left office.

Rep. Becky Lockhart • Serves currently and is the state's first female House speaker

Former Rep. Karen Shepherd • Former state senator who in 1992 went on to became only the second woman to represent Utah in Congress. —

Women in the photo

Current and former women Utah legislators (front row) Peggy Wallace, Beverly White, Karen Shepherd, Olene Walker, Becky Lockhart, Margaret Dayton, Chris Fox Finlinson, Carol Spackman Moss, Paula Julander, Alicia Suazo and Karen Morgan. (Back row) Nancy Lyon, Carlene Walker, Patrice Arent, Lou Shurtliff, Trisha Beck, Rhonda Menlove, Sheryl Allen, Merlynn Newbold, Becky Edwards, Marie Poulson, Jennifer Seelig, Jackie Biskupski, Christine Watkins, Karen Mayne, Rebecca Chavez Houck, Darlene Gubler and Pat Jones pose for a photograph with the Martha Hughes Cannon statue outside the state Capitol on Wednesday. The women gathered at the capitol for a screening of the KUED documentary on Martha Hughes Cannon who was the first female state senator elected in the United States (1897).