Lou Shurtliff

Rep. LaWanna "Lou" Shurtliff attends an event at Weber State University on Election Day two years ago, Nov. 6, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers bid farewell to LaWanna “Lou” Shurtliff, the late Utah House member from Ogden, unanimously approving a resolution Tuesday honoring her service to the state and the people of Utah.

“She knew how to reach out and engage with everyone. She was someone who made a difference. She cared about the work that she was doing. She cared about the constituents that she represented,” Sen. Ann Millner, a legislative colleague and fellow lawmaker from Ogden, said from the Utah Senate floor. “Her loss is a great loss for all of us.”

Rep. Carol Moss, a friend and fellow House member from Salt Lake City, spoke from the floor of the House, addressing other lawmakers and Shurtliff’s two kids, Scot Shurtliff and Stacy Godfrey, who were in attendance. “Your mom was a bright light and a woman of distinction,” Moss said. “She was so loved in this body for her skills and her goodwill and kindness.”

Per the action on Tuesday, the first day of the 2021 legislative session, the House and Senate unanimously approved House Concurrent Resolution 7, recognizing Shurtliff’s years of service. Shurtliff, a Democrat representing District 10, served in the House from 1999 through 2008 and again from 2019 until her death from pneumonia on Dec. 30. Before her House service, she was an educator for many years, most notably at Ogden High School from 1966 to 1994.

HCR 7 recounts many of the milestones of Shurtliff’s life, expressing “great appreciation for her many contributions to the state” and offering sympathy to family, friends and constituents. District 10 covers parts of southern Ogden and South Ogden and Shurtliff was a big advocate for education.

Other lawmakers also offered accolades and Gov. Spencer Cox ordered that U.S. and Utah flags be lowered on Tuesday in honor of Shurtliff.

“Her service to the people of Utah went well beyond the Legislature as she taught thousands of students English, accounting and business at Ogden High School for nearly three decades,” House Speaker Brad Wilson said in opening the 2021 session.

Shurtliff died after a three-week battle with pneumonia. She was the only Democratic state lawmaker from outside Salt Lake County and she had been elected last November to her second consecutive term in the District 10 post.

Last Saturday, Democratic Party delegates from District 10 elected Rosemary Lesser to the vacant House post, her first time in a public elective post. Lesser is a retired obstetrician-gynecologist and U.S. Air Force veteran from Ogden who’s been active in the Democratic Party.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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