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Gay Ogden City Council candidate

He out-raised his opponent, knocked on every door of the district, was endorsed by the local newspaper and put together a series of ideas to improve the neighborhoods in Ogden. But it all wasn’t enough to oust the incumbent in the Ogden Municipal District 3 race.

Turner Bitton’s resume is filled with gay activism, including board member of Utah Stonewall Democrats, Certified HIV/AIDS Counselor Northern Utah HIV/AIDS Coalition and Ogden OUTreach, not to mention being president of the Weber State University Gay-Straight Alliance and working with the Ogden City Council to pass its nondiscrimination ordinance. He also has political experience, including member of the Democratic National Committee Youth Council, secretary of the Utah Democratic Progressive Caucus, Weber County Democratic Party. He is currently the Weber County Democratic Party vice chair. He lives in Ogden with his domestic partner, Christian Miconi.

“I’ve been a member of this community since my partner, Christian, and I first met. In 2010, as president of the Weber State Gay-Straight Alliance, I worked with the city to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance. That year, I watched the city’s administration and members of the city council stall passage of the ordinances time and again. It was then when I resolved to run for city council at the next election,” Bitton told QSaltLake when he announced his candidacy last spring.

Bitton developed several innovative plans for the city, including a proposal to require all tax increases to be announced before November elections, offer equal payment options for city utilities, incentivizing xeriscaping, assisting local businesses in getting city contracts and a community clean-up day. He also wants to create neighborhood re-development committees as well as offer homeowners a payment plan on the city’s 50/50 match to fix sidewalks.

The Ogden Standard-Examiner was impressed with Bitton’s well-thought out plans for the city of Ogden that they endorsed his candidacy in an op-ed shortly before the election. He was also endorsed by Equality Utah.

“A few years ago I was a scared teenager struggling for acceptance and now I am with my best friend in life and living a dream I didn’t think was possible,” Bitton said. “This is the purpose of local government, to build strong communities that welcome all of us home.”

In the end, incumbent took home 55 percent of the vote, besting Bitton by a vote of 603 to 487.

“My campaign focused on putting forward a positive, progressive message for Ogden’s citizens. We outspent and outworked my opponent but it ended up not being enough. I’m proud of the race we ran,” Bitton said. “It is concerning that a member of my own community (James Humphreys) chose to support a candidate that was not endorsed by Equality Utah and is not an ally of our community. I look forward to continuing to work for the betterment of Ogden City and to make it a place that is welcoming to LGBT people.”

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