Dean Trantalis captured the City of Fort Lauderdale mayorship in March, knocking off a longtime police chief to lead the popular South Florida resort city.
“My promise is to make sure we have a quality of life that is the best it can be,” Trantalis is often quoted. The 64-year-old attorney was born in Connecticut and claims Greek heritage; joking he is Fort Lauderdale’s first “openly Greek mayor.” Trantalis’ longtime LGBT activism was recognized with an “Excellence in Achievement” Award at this year’s South Florida Gay News anniversary party.
SFGN takes a look at four other big city gay mayors from around the country from progressive cities like Seattle to locales like South Bend, Indiana.
1. Jenny Durkan, Seattle: Durkan is the lesbian mayor of Seattle, a Pacific Northwestern U.S. city of 725,000 residents. A Democrat, Durkan, 60, assumed office in November of 2017. She has stated a key priority is to reform the city’s police department. Seattle is a major American port city with significant ties to Asia and is home to top Fortune 500 companies Amazon, Starbucks and Nordstrom.
2. Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City: A married lesbian and mother of two, Biskupski serves as mayor of Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah. The city of an estimated 190,000 is home to the world headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). A native of Minnesota, Biskupski, 52, earned a criminal justice degree from Arizona State University and has tackled issues such as homelessness and climate change in her first term in office.
3. Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, Indiana: Buttigieg is a successful mayor of a city of more than 100,000 people. He is a gay man and an Afghanistan war veteran who married his partner last month, tweeting, “Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us; so be quick to love, make haste to be kind, and go in peace to follow the road of good blessing.” The 36-year-old Buttigieg campaigned for the chair of the Democratic Party – eventually giving way to Tom Perez. He is rumored to be considering a U.S. presidential campaign in 2020.
4. Robert Garcia, Long Beach, California: Garcia is leading a revival in this Southern California Oceanside city. Garcia’s administration is implementing plans to curb emissions, diversify community boards and ban harmful plastic straws and styrofoam containers in Long Beach, a city of 462,257. A former Republican who was born in Peru, Garcia won his first campaign for Long Beach mayor with 52 percent of the vote. He recently announced wedding plans for his 10-year relationship with Dr. Matthew Mendez.