Equality Utah has released its slate of endorsed candidates. In the Salt Lake mayoral race, however, the group announced they endorsed both incumbent mayor Ralph Becker and challenger Jackie Biskupski.
“It is a rarity to see Equality Utah PAC issue a dual-endorsement, but this year’s Salt Lake City mayoral race unequivocally calls for it,” EU executive director Troy Wiliams said in a statement. “Both candidates, Jackie Biskupski and Ralph Becker, have proven to be uniquely powerful advocates for our work. Biskupski was Utah’s first openly-gay member of the Utah State Legislature. When Amendment 3 initially passed through the Utah State House, she courageously stood up and testified in defense of the LGBTQ community. Becker has been working as Salt Lake City Mayor to pass pro-LGBTQ city ordinances and policy (including Utah’s first workplace and housing non-discrimination ordinance. We all remember that red sweater vest he wore on Dec. 20, 2013 as he married as many couples as time permitted.
“It would be a disservice not to recognize both of these candidates’ exceptional achievements and we are pleased to endorse both of them,” Williams continued.
A total of 19 candidates were endorsed throughout the state. Fifty-two candidates took the group’s initial survey and 24 of them received an interview before a panel comprised of EU staff, the PAC board and members of the LGBT community.
“We are also particularly proud to endorse Derek Kitchen for Salt Lake City’s District 4,” Williams said. “Derek and his fellow plaintiffs changed Utah forever when they went to court to boldly challenge the constitutionality of Amendment 3. We enjoy the freedom to marry in Utah today in no small part due to his courage.”
Equality Utah will mail slate cards to those who have given them addresses, and the group is encouraging people volunteer for the campaigns.
The candidates endorsed are:
Andrew Johnston – City Council, Salt Lake City
Andy Beerman – City Council, Park City
Becca Gerber – City Council, Park City
Ben Nadolski – City Council, Ogden
Ben Pender – City Council, South Salt Lake
Charlie Luke – City Council, Salt Lake City
Derek Kitchen – City Council, Salt Lake City
Jackie Biskupski – Mayor, Salt Lake City
Jim Palmer – City Council, Holladay
Kalen Jones – City Council, Moab
Luis Lopez – City Council, Ogden
Mark Kindred – City Council, South Salt Lake
Michele Weeks – Draper City Council
Portia Mila – City Council, South Salt Lake
Ralph Becker – Mayor, Salt Lake City
Rani Derasary – City Council, Moab
Sean Kowallis – City Council, Sandy
Sophia Hawes Tingey – City Council, Midvale
Thomas Geilmann – City Council, South Jordan