Former Lawmaker Aims to Become Salt Lake's First Gay Mayor

Jackie Biskupski (Facebook)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Two-term Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker hopes to beat back a challenge Tuesday from former state lawmaker Jackie Biskupski as he seeks another term leading Utah's capital city.

Becker, who has been in office since 2007, would become one of a handful of the city's mayors to earn a third term if he wins. The last mayor to do so was Ted Wilson in 1983.

If Biskupski wins, she would become the first openly gay person to serve as Salt Lake City mayor. She broke similar ground in 1998 when she was elected to Utah's House of Representatives, becoming the state's first openly gay state lawmaker.

She served in the Legislature for about a dozen years until 2011. Since then, the 49 year old has worked in the office of Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.

Becker, 63, is also a former state lawmaker who spent five years as the Democratic leader in Utah's House of Representatives.

He's also served as president of the National League of Cities and on a White House climate change task force.

In this year's close mayoral race, he and Biskupski have sparred over transportation, public safety and homelessness.

Becker touted the city's revitalized downtown, new streetcar service and bicycle-friendly routes. He has also pointed out his longtime efforts to limit billboards, leading a billboard-backed political action committee to post ads around town supporting Biskupski this year.

She has criticized Becker over the forced resignation of Police Chief Chris Burbank. Becker said the chief didn't properly handle female officers' sexual harassment claims against a deputy chief.

Biskupski has said the mayor was slow to address the issue.

Both Becker and Biskupski are Democrats but the mayoral election is officially nonpartisan and their party affiliation does not appear on the ballot.


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