Happy New Year. Here is my list for the 10 best and the worst of 2013.
10 » Brian Tarbet. The former adjutant general of the Utah National Guard came in as acting attorney general upon the resignation of an embattled John Swallow and brought order to the office.
9 » Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George. His bill protecting gays and lesbians from employment and housing discrimination was the first of its kind to pass favorably out of a state legislative committee.
8 » Mormons Building Bridges. This group continues to build understanding and love between the LDS and gay communities.
7 » Sal Petilos. The new executive director of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s ill-conceived interpretation of the law that restaurant patrons could not order a drink until they ordered food caused such a backlash it spurred a more reasonable policy.
6 » Carl Wimmer. In past years, Wimmer would have been on my worst list for his combative and unyielding approach as a legislator. But after losing the Republican congressional nomination to Mia Love and then getting jilted by the Nevada Republican Party, Wimmer has mellowed. He is now a high school resource officer in Sanpete County committed to helping troubled youths. And he is studying to become an evangelical Christian minister.
5 » LDS Church leaders. Their pronouncement that the faith’s past policy banning blacks from its all-male priesthood was based on 19th-century racial attitudes and not revelation represented a bold step toward honestly assessing Mormon history and hopefully building more trust from non-Mormons.
4 » Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings. As a Republican, he has worked diligently with Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, a Democrat, investigating former Attorney General John Swallow and his predecessor Mark Shurtleff, both Republicans.
3 » Jeremy Johnson. It’s sad when an alleged white-collar criminal who has admitted to being part of an alleged bribery scheme looks good compared to the elected officials with whom he associated.
2 » House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, and Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville. Lockhart’s support made the House probe of Swallow possible and Dunnigan, head of the investigative committee, gave it the leadership it needed in the face of political opposition.
1 » U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby. His controversial decision declaring Utah’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional was well-argued in his opinion and based on sound legal reasoning.
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