Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Utah Women in the Economy Commission, December 18th!

Utah Women in the Economy Commission

• WHAT: Women of Water is delighted to welcome Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart and Minority Leader Representative Jennifer Seelig. You are invited to join us for this informative, interactive discussion!

• WHEN AND WHERE: Please join us on Thursday, December 18th at 11am at MWH Americas, Inc., 2890 E Cottonwood Parkway, Suite 300 Salt Lake City, Utah 84121 for the speakers and LUNCH. We will be in the first floor meeting room near the Café Blue dining area.

• WHO: Everyone is welcome, especially women and those who employ and work with them!

• HOW: RSVP to The event is free for WoW members and $5 for non-members, and includes lunch. Memberships will be available for purchase at the event for $35.

Earlier this year, the State Legislature created the 11-member Commission to increase public awareness of women’s impact on the state’s economy. The legislation, HB90, also charged the Commission with coordinating public agencies and private groups that provide services to women, as well as conducting research on issues related to women in the economy (Salt Lake Tribune, 2014).

Why is it needed? A recent study by the National Women’s Law Center found that Utah women were twice as likely as men to work low-wage jobs. According to the report, women make up 44.4 percent of the Utah workforce, but hold 65 percent of its low-wage jobs. Another study by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, a non-partisan Washington, D.C.-based organization, found that Utah has a significant gender gap when it comes to income. In 2012, the median income for women working full time was $33,100 compared to $48,000 for men, according to the study. These are only a few of the statics that were considered in creating the Commission. Commission co-chairs Lockhart and Seelig will briefly discuss the Commission’s purpose and goals. The Come and join us! Please RSVP.

Rebecca Dawn Lockhart

Becky Lockhart is a member of the Utah House of Representatives, representing the state’s 64th District. She was first elected to office in 1998 and Assistant Majority Whip in 2008. On November 4, 2010, she was chosen by her colleagues to be Speaker of the House – the first woman in Utah history to hold the top leadership position. She will serve as Speaker for the remainder of 2014.Nicknamed “Utah’s Iron Lady” in a Deseret News column, Lockhart has dedicated her legislative focus to economic development, infrastructure reform, health care enhancement, technology modernization and educational excellence. She previously served as Chair of the Transportation Task Force, the work of which eventually resulted in the finalization of one of the most extensive transportation investments in Utah History. She currently serves as Co-chair of the Education Task Force, the Commission on Federalism, Legislative Management Committee and the Audit Subcommittee, and as a member of the Joint Executive Appropriations and Administrative Rules Committees. In 2013, she personally selected the House of Representatives special committee that investigated serious allegations surrounding former Attorney General John Swallow. The committee’s findings contributed to his resignation and subsequent indictments. During her tenure, the state has enacted a balanced budget every year, while also strongly investing in Utah’s most critical priorities. Even in the aftermath of a severe national recession, and at a time when most states reduced all major appropriations, Lockhart collaborated with legislative leaders to provide funding for education and ensure the necessary resources would be available for Utah’s schools. In 2014, she crafted a $300 million education modernization initiative that gained praise for its creative approach to the integration of hardware in the hands of students as well as providing expanded training, resources and new tools for Utah teachers and education professionals. Becky’s commitment to technology to drive increased productivity is well known. She was instrumental in the creation of Utah’s nationally recognized legislative website; most recently accommodating mobile applications. Named three times as Legislator of the Year by the Utah Health Insurance Association and a “Friend of Business” by the Utah Business Coalition, Lockhart is also a recipient of Intermountain Health Care’s Beacon of Hope Award. For several terms in office, Lockhart also separately served as a lead legislator in the policy areas of healthcare quality and access and transportation. Lockhart received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Brigham Young University and practiced for seven years as a Registered Nurse. She has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Timpanogos Regional Hospital and The Haven. She and her husband, technology industry executive Stan Lockhart, are the parents of three children Hannah, Emily and Stephen. The family resides in Provo.

Jennifer Seelig

Jennifer’s experiences early in life have significantly shaped her career and leadership skills that continue to benefit her community today. As a young girl, Jennifer’s mother explained that the weight of the world could easily be overcome by the weight of a backpack full of books, that learning and exploring and listening was more valuable than a passive life. Her sister’s blindness taught her that this same world was not flat, but rich with color and texture and culture that can be experienced and cherished with all the senses. Her childhood was not limited to her home, her neighborhood, or her struggles, but open and wide, with a depth that she explored in her passionate studies beginning at the University of Kentucky. A search for new adventure brought her to Utah, and her passionate involvement in her community continued. Attributing it to her time in Girl Scouts, Representative Seelig addressed her constant local involvement simply as “something we do” to stay active and make the world a better place. That constant belief in making things around her better for herself and others was the perfect mind frame leading to her policy-making career in Utah. She began as a policy and research analyst for the Salt Lake City Council between 1995 and 2000, handling such sensitive and critical issues relating to crime control, budget compliance within the administrative office, community relations, and public meetings involving the City Council. She additionally served as the communication and legislative policy analyst for the Utah League of Cities and Towns, which acts as an advocate for issues vital to residential communities across the state. In 2006, Jennifer was elected by District 23 residents to serve in the Utah House of Representatives. In 2010, Jen was elected the House Minority Whip by the Utah House Democratic Caucus where she previously served as the Minority Caucus Manager. In 2012, Jennifer was elected by her colleagues to be the first female Minority Leader in the Utah House of Representatives. Jennifer served for four years on the Board of Directors of Project CARE (Community Action to Reach the Elderly) and as chair for two years. Project CARE assessed community problems related to the elderly. She was also a board member of the Literary Action Center, which promoted community awareness about adult illiteracy. She was also a Meals on Wheels volunteer for a number of years. She is active on the Rose Park Community Council and served for one term on the Salt Lake City Planning Commission. Jennifer is currently finishing a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Utah. She has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Utah and a B.A. in English from the University of Louisville. She also currently serves on several boards, including Women in Government and State Legislative Leaders Foundation.

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