Biskupski withdraws from Salt Lake mayoral race

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Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced Monday that she will not be seeking re-election. On her Facebook wall, she posted:

Recently my wife Betty and I have been faced with a serious and complex family situation that requires our attention.
As parents, we have and will always put the needs of our children first.
With that as our compass, we have made a decision for our family which will require an all-hands-on-deck approach. As this is a private issue involving our children that is all I want to say on the matter, and I appreciate your respect for our privacy.
For this reason, I have come to the difficult decision to withdraw from the 2019 Salt Lake City mayor’s race.
In making this decision I weighed three things.
My responsibility to my family—something I have fought to legally have for most of my personal and professional life.
My duty to the people of Salt Lake City and to the office I hold.
And, my desire to be a candidate for mayor.
There is no question in my mind, that my commitment to my family and my role as the Mayor of this great City must be my top priorities over being a candidate.
Over the next 9 months, Salt Lake City will undergo tremendous change, as many of the programs and policies we have been fighting for the last three years will be realized and implemented.
New City-sponsored bus service will begin, helping bridge a gap between our east and west-side communities—bringing increased equity and adding a critical component to our effort to help clear our air.
We will be opening the new homeless resource centers this summer, a new service model to help those most in need in our community.
We will be welcoming the world as Salt Lake City hosts the United Nations Civil Society Conference, the largest international gathering Utah has seen since 2002, and the first time it will be hosted on American soil, outside of New York.
We will be launching new housing programs to ensure that Salt Lake City is a welcoming place to live for people of all backgrounds and income levels.
A new agreement between Salt Lake City and the School District regulating how law enforcement engages with students in our schools has just been put into place—helping to further break down the school to prison pipeline.
Major infrastructure projects will begin—the start of a multi-year plan to repair and replace our failing roads and infrastructure.
We will move forward on our 100% clean energy plans, including updating the City’s goal to be completed by 2030.
And, we will ensure that our lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the State’s takeover of our land use and taxing authority to build the Inland Port, moves through the courts.
When I took office, I asked City staff to begin a journey with me, a journey to Build a City for Everyone.
Together, we have created fundamental shifts that will make our City more accessible and equitable for decades to come.
We have ensured that whomever takes this office next, will stand in a better position to further move our City toward greater resilience, and equal opportunity.
As your mayor, I will spend my remaining time in office, implementing all we have created, as well as launching new initiatives around education and our Justice Courts.
Salt Lake City deserves a candidate for mayor focused on the issues that matter and the policies that will change lives for the better.
I fully intend to be a part of this debate. To challenge those that seek this office, to demonstrate their ability to prioritize the people most in need and to develop policies which will help them achieve their potential.
From housing, air quality, water, infrastructure, climate change, transportation, jobs, and how all people should be welcome here, I want to know where they stand on these issues and the Inland Port.
I want my mayor to be someone we can believe in and who will continue to fight for us.
Salt Lake City is unique and complex and requires thoughtful attention from experts like those we are fortunate to have on this team.
This is not the time for goodbye—rather, to every expert who has helped drive the change we’ve seen over the last three years, I want to say thank you—for the hard work you’ve done and for all we will do together in the next nine months.
I want to acknowledge those who have supported me through good times and tough times—particularly my office staff and cabinet members.
I have always said my greatest accomplishment has been the team I have built. You are extraordinary leaders and the City is fortunate to have you.
Your strength, kindness, and understanding have helped our residents and your drive to do what is right have inspired me to always move forward.
One of the most rewarding parts of my career has been the opportunity to mentor and serve with women. The advice I have often given them is to “give your full self to the things that inspire you.”
My decision today is to live up to this advice and give my full self to my family and this job, both of which I love.

Biskupski was elected as the first openly gay mayor in Salt Lake City in 2015, beating out incumbent mayor Ralph Becker. She will be the only one-term mayor in Salt Lake in four decades. In February, she announced that she was launching a re-election campaign.

A wide field of candidates have filed for the office, including two openly gay men — former Sen. Jim Dabakis and Utah AIDS Foundation executive director Stan Penfold.

Latino businessman David Ibarra; David Garbett, son of Jan Garbett, the president of Women for Decency; freelance journalist Richard Goldberger; and veteran Aaron Johnson have also announced their candidacy.

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