|Address||418 Douglas St |
Salt Lake City, Utah , United States
|| September 09, 1951
|Last Modifed||Juan Croniqueur|
May 19, 2013 01:00pm
Norwegian - Very Liberal - Anti-Bush Tax Cuts (Pro-Tax Cut Rollback) - Anti-Death Penalty - Government Reform - Health Care Reform - Pro Environment - Pro Marijuana Legalization - Pro-Affirmative Action - Pro-Choice - Pro-Gay Marriage - Pro-Gun control - Pro-Labor - Divorced - ACLU - Straight -
|Info||Ross "Rocky" Anderson was born in Logan, Utah in 1951. His parents, Roy and Grace Anderson, both worked at the local lumberyard, Anderson Lumber Company, which was founded by Rocky's great-grandfather, a Norwegian immigrant carpenter. |
The Andersons were not affluent, but they had a good life in Logan. With a modest home on Maple Drive, the Anderson family (including Rocky's older siblings, Bob and Kristen) enjoyed Logan's beauty, charm, and security.
Neighbors often came over to share dinner in the backyard on the picnic table. While a new church building was being constructed, church services were held in an old Quonset hut - a curved, metal building constructed during World War II. Logan was a place where young children could safely take the bus to town, and where gatherings like the Easter Egg Hunt at the Logan Tabernacle, and the football games at the old Utah State University stadium, brought the entire community together.
When Rocky was 7 years old, his father was transferred to Salt Lake City to manage a lumberyard. Rocky attended Morningside Elementary School. One of the highlights of his early years in Salt Lake City was watching Willie Mays and the San Francisco Giants play an exhibition game at Derk's Field, then home of the Salt Lake Bees. Intrigued with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris's quest to beat Babe Ruth's home-run record, Rocky became an avid baseball fan.
While living in the Salt Lake City area, Rocky learned the value of open spaces. Next to the Anderson home on Shanna Street were several acres of scrub oak, where neighborhood children spent much of their playtime each week in what was to them a veritable forest.
When Rocky was 10 years old, his father was promoted to President of Anderson Lumber Company and transferred to the corporate general office in Ogden. The Andersons moved to Ogden just in time for Rocky to begin sixth grade at Polk Elementary, where he was elected student-body president. These many years later, Rocky recalls his supportive big sister Kristen working late into the evening, making posters to help with his elementary school election.
Rocky went on to attend Mt. Ogden Jr. High School and Ogden High School. During his high school years, Rocky worked at an Anderson Lumber shop, building roof trusses, loading lumber, and delivering cabinets. He also worked shingling roofs in the late afternoons and would quickly clean up to play lead guitar at local dances and concerts with his rock-and-roll group, The Viscounts. When Rocky's twenty-year-old son Luke practices his guitar at full volume, Rocky knows that if his father (who endured the Viscount years) were alive, he would smile, wink, and say something amusing about karma.
Following graduation from high school, Rocky attended the University of Utah, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Philosophy. It was time to decide what to do with the rest of his life, but first, Rocky spent a summer building buck fence at a Wyoming ranch. He also worked as a cab driver, methadone clinic worker, waiter, truck driver, and construction laborer. Then, wanting to see more of the world, Rocky traveled for several weeks throughout Southern Europe and worked for a few months as a dishwasher, and as a laborer at a biology institute in Freiberg, Germany.
The study of philosophy and history inspired Rocky to find a vocation that would make a positive difference in the world. Rocky believed that a career in the law, as well as public service, would provide great opportunities for creating positive change.
Rocky moved to Washington, D.C., where he attended the National Law Center at George Washington University. Upon his graduation, with honors, from law school in 1978, Rocky returned to Salt Lake City to begin his law practice. Rocky began handling jury trials right out of law school and prepared and argued two cases before the Utah Supreme Court during his first year of practice. As his career progressed, Rocky handled dozens of important cases, many times without charging a fee.
According to Rocky, "the highest calling of a lawyer" is to make certain the law is fairly and equally applied. During the next 20 years, Rocky worked with many of the leading lawyers in Salt Lake City, and his practice evolved to his association as president of the law firm of Anderson & Karrenberg.
During his legal career, Rocky, who is listed in Best Lawyers in America, handled many complex commercial cases, including antitrust and securities matters. In the 1980s Rocky was instrumental in obtaining payments for thousands of depositors who had lost their life savings in Utah's failed thrifts. He has been a proponent of joint custody so that more men can and will maintain responsible and consistent relationships with their children following divorce. Rocky was an effective advocate in groundbreaking civil rights cases. And he worked to institute a program to provide access to legal services for people who did not qualify for help through Legal Aid or Legal Services, but who were not able to afford to pay a full fee for critically important legal services.
Rocky demonstrated strong and effective management abilities as chair of the Litigation Section of the Utah State Bar Association, as President of a multi-million dollar law firm, and as lead lawyer in some of the most important cases to be litigated in Utah's courts during the past 25 years. In addition to providing free legal assistance to people who are homeless, economically disadvantaged, and disabled, he has been a leader in nonprofit organizations, and provided thousands of hours of volunteer service to help make this a better community.
Approximately four years after he began his law practice, Rocky married a freelance writer and mother of two boys from a prior marriage. Together, they had a remarkable son, Luke. Although they divorced, Rocky shared custody of Luke, who lived, until he was 18, with each parent half the time. Joint custody enabled both Rocky and Luke's mother to stay closely and consistently involved in Luke's life. During several years of Luke's elementary education, Rocky spent time each week co-op'ing in his classroom and has always taken an intense interest in Luke's education. Creating a safe, healthy, nurturing community for Luke and others has been a driving force behind most of Rocky's volunteer activities.
Rocky has always felt that social justice must be an essential aim of public policy. His heartfelt commitment to social justice is reflected in many of the numerous articles and columns he has authored for local publications. For instance, he has written articles for magazines on such diverse topics as ethics in politics, combating racism, and criminal justice reform. He also wrote a weekly column for The Enterprise, a Utah business newspaper, covering issues such as tax reform, valuing diversity, and the importance of character in public life.
With the help of dedicated campaign workers, contributions from hundreds of individuals, and a huge volunteer organization, Rocky ran an outstanding campaign for Congress as the Democratic nominee in Utah's Second Congressional District in 1996. Without any financial help from the Democratic Party, but with record contributions from individuals, Rocky garnered over 100,000 votes in the district. Even when pitted against Merrill Cook's 98% initial name recognition and the expenditure of almost $1 million by Cook of his own money, Rocky received 55% of the votes cast in Salt Lake City, versus 39% for Cook.
In 1999, Rocky ran well ahead of 10 primary election opponents for Salt Lake City Mayor, then prevailed 60% to 40% in the general election and in 2004 was also reelected. During his two terms, Rocky successfully fought many important battles, including victories for wise long-term growth planning, for respect toward minority communities, and for unprecedented youth programs. He also was instrumental in providing for greater homeland security, more effective drug-prevention programs, and crime reduction. Since his time as Mayor, Salt Lake City saw an increase in far more open space, more affordable housing, and a more vital Downtown. Unlike some who run for elective office, Rocky is not driven by self-interest or by a lack of something else to do with his life. He has always searched for the best way to utilize his skills and energy in order to make the best contributions he can.
After serving two terms as Mayor, Rocky decided that he would not run for re-election and, instead, devote himself to educating, motivating, and mobilizing people to take action to stop human rights abuses. Anderson recognizes and stresses the importance of people at the grassroots level advocating for progressive change. He has stated, “We keep expecting elected officials will do the right thing, and the fact is they never do unless they’re pushed.”
In that vein, Rocky founded High Road for Human Rights, a non-profit organization created to achieve major reforms of U.S. human rights policies and practices through unique, coordinated, and sustained grassroots activism, complementing the work of other human rights organizations. High Road for Human Rights primarily addressed five issues: torture and the undermining of the rule of law, genocide, slavery, the death penalty, and the human rights implications of the climate crisis. For his work on human rights matters during his tenure as Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights, Rocky received the Morehouse University Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee's Patriot Award.
In September 2008, Anderson testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during a hearing concerning executive branch abuses of power and spoke at rallies organized by High Road for Human Rights, calling for accountability for torture. He has also researched, written, produced, and narrated two multi-media pieces on torture and the undermining of the rule of law.
Deeming himself to be “non-partisan” in his critiques of policy, Anderson has subsequently gone on to fiercely criticize the Obama administration in numerous areas, alleging that in certain spheres it has a worse record than the Bush administration. In addition, he emphasized the discrepancy between Obama’s position as a candidate for the 2008 presidency, and the actions he has actually undertaken as President, stating that “President Obama has betrayed us in almost every single way from being a candidate to being the President of the United States.” Anderson has stated that despite his earlier belief that the Bush Administration would be merely an “aberration” in the history of the U.S., “President Obama has institutionalized some of the worst abuses of the Bush Administration.”
On August 11, 2011, Rocky denounced the Democratic Party and resigned his membership with it. He wrote in his letter to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that "Until the Democratic Party shows some spine and draws a line in the sand -- that an end to the tax breaks for the wealthy needs to be part of any debt/budget bill -- please take my name off your list." He added that "I'm done with the Democratic Party. As I said on Amy Goodman's show a couple years ago, I've put my 'Proud Democrat' coffee mug in storage. I think now I'll just throw it in the garbage and have done with it" and that "The Constitution has been eviscerated while Democrats have stood by with nary a whimper. It is a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party."
Anderson accepted the 2012 presidential nomination of a new national political party, the Justice Party, on January 13, 2012. And the rest of the story is up to you...
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