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Ellsworth G. Simmons Good Government Award
The Ellsworth G. Simmons Good Government Award honors a current or former government official or civic leader for improving government through leadership and vision. The award is typically presented at a regular Board meeting in April. 

About the 2015 recipient 
On April 15, 2015, the Board of County Commissioners of Hillsborough County presented the 2015 Ellsworth G. Simmons Good Government Award to former Governor and Tampa Mayor Robert "Bob" Martinez during a ceremoBob Martinezny at Frederick B. Karl County Center in downtown Tampa. 

Martinez, a Hillsborough County native who attended Jefferson High School and the University of Tampa, was elected mayor of Tampa in 1979 and served in the position for seven years. Some of his notable accomplishments as mayor include constructing one of the nation’s first waste-to-energy plants, building the David A. Straz Jr. Center for Performing Arts, laying the groundwork for the Tampa Convention Center, and rebuilding Lowry Park Zoo. 

After his inauguration as Florida governor in 1987, Martinez worked to preserve Florida’s environmental treasures, growing the Save the Everglades campaign and implementing policies to manage and protect waterways including Tampa Bay, Lake Okeechobee, and the St. Johns and Kissimmee rivers. He also launched the Preservation 2000 program, the largest environmental land acquisition program in the United States at the time. The decade-long push to secure and protect sensitive areas preserved vast swaths of pristine Florida ecosystems for future generations. 

When his term as governor ended in 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Martinez as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a cabinet post he served in until 1993.

Following his political career, Martinez continued to give back to his community, serving as a leader with local nonprofit groups that focus on education, including the Hillsborough Education Foundation, the Lowry Park Zoological Society, the Tampa Bay History Center, and the Florida Council of 100. 

About Ellsworth G. Simmons
A respected government civic leader, Mr. Simmons was School Board member who went on to serve 21 years on the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners - 18 of those as chair. Through his leadership and guidance, new institutions - University of South Florida - and new communities - Sun City Center - were created in Hillsborough County. He was a central figure in the construction of Tampa International Airport, the founding of University Community Hospital and the expansion of the Hillsborough County Health Department.

Selection Process
Each winter, a Good Government Award Committee examines the significant events, leadership opportunities and outstanding achievements of nominees and selects an individual or group. The committee submits its recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners for approval.
The Good Government Award Committee consists of nine members, two members representing the Simmons family and one member chosen by each commissioner.

Award Recipients

  • 2015 - Former Governor Bob Martinez 
  • 2014 - Doug Belden
  • 2013 - Former Mayor Pam Iorio
  • 2012 - Dr. Judy Genshaft
  • 2011 - Dottie Berger MacKinnon
  • 2010 - Pat Frank
  • 2009 - Dr. Earl J. Lennard
  • 2008 - Judge E.J. Salcines
  • 2007 - Cal Henderson
  • 2006 - Louis E. Miller
  • 2005 - H. Lee Moffitt
  • 2004 - H. L. Culbreath 
  • 2003 - Former Mayor Dick Greco
  • 2002 - Save Our Bays, Air & Canals
  • 2001 - Former State Sen. Malcom E. Beard
  • 2000 - State Sen. Tom Lee
  • 1999 - James L. Redman
  • 1998 - Nettie Mae Draughon
  • 1997 - Sam M. Gibbons