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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 6, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 45
Salt Lake City elects Lesbian mayor

Jackie Biskupski ousts two-term incumbent
Section One
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Salt Lake City elects Lesbian mayor

Jackie Biskupski ousts two-term incumbent

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Salt Lake City voters elected their first Lesbian mayor on November 3. Jackie Biskupski ousted two-term incumbent Ralph Becker, winning 52% of the votes to Becker's 48%.

She would be the second openly LGBT mayor in Utah history. In 2001 Willy Marshall was elected mayor of the small town of Big Water, with 90 of the 157 votes cast.

Ballots are still being counted, and the election will not be certified until November 17, but Biskupski is maintaining her lead as new votes are counted. She led in the August primary election, by 46% to Becker's 31%.

Biskupski, a former Utah state legislator and current advisor to the Salt Lake County Sheriff's office, ran a grass-roots campaign focused on change at City Hall and promised to be a people's candidate who would listen to constituents.

'I feel great,' Biskupski told an election night gathering. 'We maintained that lead we had, and we're going to finish strong, I know it.'

'It's about all these people in this room. Look at the people in this room,' Biskupski said of the crowd of about 200 supporters. 'This is a diverse group of people from all over the city. This is about having a voice again.'

Openly Gay Utah Sen. Jim Dabakis, who represents Salt Lake City, said the election was history in the making.

'Generations of LGBT people could've only dreamed of this,' he said. 'Jackie is now an iconic gay leader. This is a great moment for Salt Lake City - we're not the stereotype people across the country think we are.'

Incumbent Mayor Becker spent more than $863,000 and garnered endorsements from political insiders, including both Democrats and Republicans, such as former Gov. Mike Leavitt and former Sen. Bob Bennett, as well as five Salt Lake City Council members. He also used his position as mayor to call news conferences celebrating community events.

Biskupski spent more than $536,000 and had help from a political action committee affiliated with Reagan Outdoor Advertising that put up more than a dozen billboards supporting her campaign. She also had the backing of organized labor, including the Salt Lake Police Association.

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