The head of the Utah Democratic Party, Jim Dabakis, will not be taking over the helm of the Human Rights Campaign, he said in a press release. Dabakis was included as a possible candidate by the HRC steering committee to replace outgoing president Joe Solmonese.
“I am flattered and honored to have my name mentioned together with the Human Rights Campaign, however, the last six months of being the Chair of the Utah Democratic Party have been the most interesting, challenging and rewarding time of my life. The association with so many Democrats across our beautiful state has been a singular honor, and I will not leave my job half done. I would rather work for free in Utah then pile up cash in D.C.,” Dabakis said. “And frankly, even though we disagree regularly, often with ferocity, it has been rewarding to work with Republican leaders in the state like Gov. (Gary) Herbert, State Senate President (Michael) Waddoups and Republican Chairman (Thomas) Wright. Utah Republicans and Democrats have the ability to separate out the brutal, thuggish partisanship that so permeates paralysis in Washington, D.C. and concentrate on policy issues without making the politics personal or too disagreeable. This is what the people of Utah demand and deserve.”
Dabakis is the first openly gay head of a major party in Utah. He was one of the founding members of both the Utah Pride Center and Equality Utah. While the salary of the HRC president is nearly $400,000, Dabakis is currently accepting only a $1 a year salary to work for the Democrats.
“I look forward to serving the people of Utah for the next one and a half years and am confident that I will enjoy spending time in Washington County much more then in Washington, D.C.,” Dabakis said.