Each year the Alliance for a Better UTAH awards five individuals or organizations its Better Beehive Award. Given to those individuals or organizations that have worked to make Utah more balanced, transparent and accountable, recipients of the Better Beehive Award come from all walks of life, from all over the political spectrum and from all over the state. And though there is much work to be done in Utah to make it a better place to live, there are still many reasons to celebrate. This award is a celebration of those accomplishments. Recipients of the 2013 Better Beehive Award can be found here.
A new recipient will be announced daily via Twitter December 16 through December 20. Updates can be found below as they are made available.
Friday, December 19, 2014 – Citizens of Grand County. In a time of plummeting voter turnout and disappointing civic engagement across the state, the citizens of Grand County bucked the trend. They proved to their elected leaders that constituent accountability, even with so much money in politics, can still count for something. After the Grand County Council voted to include Grand County in the controversial Seven County Infrastructure Coalition, Grand County citizens got organized and, quite literally, voted the bums out. With a voter turnout rate north of 70%, Grand County citizens removed three council members for voting against the interests of Grand County. Their actions are a testament to the possibilities attendant with an engaged and active citizenry.
Thursday, December 18, 2014 – Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings. In a time when law enforcement personnel are under increased scrutiny across the country, Sim Gill, Salt Lake County District Attorney, and Troy Rawlings, Davis County Attorney, are committed to ensuring the integrity of Utah institutions. This dogged pursuit of the truth was perhaps most clearly demonstrated in their bipartisan efforts to root out corruption in the Attorney General’s Office this year through the investigation, indictment and subsequent arrests of former Attorney Generals Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow. Their efforts are a positive example of bipartisanship and commitment to integrity that are so often found lacking in today’s political arena.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 – Utah Debate Commission. Finding that Utah voters were infrequently given opportunities to hear candidates publicly debate, the Utah Debate Commission, chaired by former US Senator Bob Bennett and former state Senator Scott Howell, set out to create a venue that would guarantee voters a chance to see candidates, in real time, debate their views on the issues. The Commission held five debates at five different public universities that were broadcast statewide through the participation of various radio stations and television networks, as well as streamed online. The Deseret News Editorial Board praised the debates, calling them a chance for “voters to look beyond the sloganeering and slick advertising that so dominates modern politics.”
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 – KCPW. From Behind the Headlines, with Jennifer Napier-Pearce, to Both Sides of the Aisle, with Natalie Gochnour, KCPW has excelled at bringing to Utahns along the Wasatch Front local programming on issues that matter most for creating an engaged citizenry. That attention to citizen engagement was especially on display during this year’s election season, not only due to KCPW’s involvement with the Utah Debate Commission, but also due to their efforts to broadcast a series of local legislative debates in partnership with the University of Utah’s John R. Park Debate Society and the ABU Education Fund.
Monday, December 15, 2014 – State Sen. Curt Bramble. In what some will certainly call a case of strange bedfellows, this year’s first Better Beehive Award has been awarded to State Sen. Curt Bramble for his efforts in passing SB54, the Count My Vote compromise. The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board called SB 54 “political deal-making at its best” when it endorsed the compromise legislation. The bill, which has recently come under attack by the Utah Republican Party, was designed to preserve both the caucus system and an alternative route to the ballot. In describing the bill, Bramble said it was a “principled compromise,” the intent of which was to “increase civic participation.” The bill overwhelmingly passed both the state house and senate. It will go into effect in 2016.