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Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Legislative all-stars: How our elected players performed

Published: Sunday, March 16 2014 6:40 p.m. MDT

Best layup: Sen. Steve Urquhart’s mission-based funding mechanism for higher education is adding points to state objectives.

Best general manager: Although quiet in manner, Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund led his caucus with dignity. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Key fundamentals: Rep. Brad Last demonstrated that the important qualities of listening, understanding and humility reside in the best public servants. Rep. Curt Oda reminds us a smile and sense of humor is imperative.

Perennial all-star: Rep. Mel Brown (a former high school coach) maintained a firm grip (as befits a dairy farmer) on budget maneuvers as appropriations chairman.

Deadball: Activists on either side of the same-sex marriage debate desperately wanted legislation. But legislative managers refused to play, thereby avoiding an Arizona-style debacle.

Swingmen: Rep. Don Ipson and Sen. David Hinkins are important assets to the team — businessmen who provide real-world perspectives.

Center: Majority Leader Brad Dee excelled at pivoting and passing to members.

Jump ball: With the departure of Lockhart, a number of players are ready to pounce for House leadership: Dee, Hughes, Gibson, Dunnigan and Ipson.

Timeout: All players made the effort to deal with the Swallow investigation in a bipartisan and deliberative manner then passed the needed legislation to prevent future problems.

Best sixth man: Respected lawyer Rep. Lowry Snow was repeatedly pulled from the bench on numerous matters.

Shooting guards: Sen. Jerry Stevenson and Rep. Brad Wilson look and act the part in scoring on budgetary matters.

Fast break: Transportation gurus Sens. Stuart Adams and Wayne Harper kept the lanes open.

Point guards: Rules chairmen Sen. John Valentine and Rep. Dean Sanpei controlled the flow of the game.

Fade away: Sen. Pat Jones made another courageous attempt for creative funding of public education in her last session. This voice of reason will be missed.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D’Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com

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