On March 4, one of Utah’s two openly lesbian Representatives announced that she will not seek re-election when her term ends this year.
“It is with deep gratitude and humility that I announce my intention not to seek re-election for the Utah House of Representatives,” said Johnson in a statement. “I make this announcement now in order to provide the Democratic Party and my community ample opportunity to organize to secure a candidate for the 2010 election.”
“It has been an honor to represent the diverse and progressive voices of House District 25 for the past four years,” she continued. “In addition, it has been a uniquely humbling life-experience to represent members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgendered community. For the past four years, I have stood with my colleagues each morning of session, placed my hand over my heart and pledged “liberty and justice for all” and yet, repeatedly witnessed blatant disregard of those so in need of equal protections in the name of “family values.” Ironically, some of the most dedicated partners, parents and families within Utah fall under non-traditional definitions. There is no city nor county in which these families do not exist and it is reprehensible that we continue to ignore them. Thankfully, Utah’s local government leaders are stepping forward to provide protections in housing and employment. Their bravery and willingness to understand the reality of shameful discrimination within Utah will demonstrate to State leaders that courageous leadership is admirable and that Utah is a better place when we suppress our entitled need to cast judgment on one another and instead respect the authenticity and free-agency of each person.
“As I reflect on my service, I find gratifying moments in passing legislation to improve Utah’s air-quality through school bus retro-fitting and water quality by minimizing phosphorus in household products, simplifying Utah’s election process and empowering youth to act responsibly while consuming alcohol. Even more satisfying and important to me has been in more sponsoring edgy legislation I knew would not pass, but hoped would create dialog and awareness about Utah’s under-represented community members. I am grateful to my constituents for allowing me the opportunity to repeatedly stand and speak with raw honesty and truth. It has been a life-lesson in authenticity, consensus building and personal struggle for which I am immeasurably grateful.
“I look forward to supporting the next fortunate individual who has the privilege of serving District 25 and encourage district residents to become actively engaged in the selection process,” she concluded.