SALT LAKE CITY -- Jackie Biskupski, who is running against two-term Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, got an endorsement Sunday from some members of the LGBTQ community and their allies.
Several of those who attended Sunday’s press conference said Biskupski, who was the first openly-gay member of the Utah Legislature, has been an inspiration to them.
“Being from rural Idaho, that was such a significant thing for me,” said Arlyn Bradshaw, a Salt Lake County Councilman. “It filled me with hope that my sexuality was not a barrier to the things that I wanted to accomplish.”
And future leaders are also inspired.
“Particularly young people like me, who haven’t always seen support for the LGBT community in our government, that we can run for public office and we can make a difference,” said Jared Ruga, who is a community activist.
Representatives from organizations serving the LGBTQ community, elected officials, and group members along with LGBT allies came together Sunday to officially endorse Biskupski for Salt Lake City mayor.
“Knowing that she’s been a woman, a single mom, a lesbian: It gives her that ability to reach out and empathize with all minority populations,” said Becky Moss, the chair of the Utah Stonewall Democrats.
But her opponent is no stranger to the LGBT rights movement. Mayor Ralph Becker has been a champion for equal rights, proudly officiating the first same-sex marriage in Utah. In response to his challenger's endorsement, Mayor Becker released this statement to FOX 13 News:
"Jackie was Utah’s first openly gay legislator, and I commend her strength and courage,” he said. “In a campaign, we all have our endorsements and I’m proud to have the support of Equality Utah and many others in the LGBTQ community. My track record of accomplishments in social justice and equality speaks for itself."
Biskupski spoke about the endorsements as well.
“We have a lot of work to do, and sometimes it takes a leader who has been in those shoes to really create a cultural shift that does essentially bring everyone to the table,” she said.
Mark Lawrence is with the group Restore our Humanity, and he said they hope to see Becker serve in higher capacities.
“It is time for Mayor Becker to step up, to seek higher office, new challenges, and new opportunities,” he said. “It is time for Ralph to serve the entire state, and not just Salt Lake City.”
FOX 13 News will host a debate between Becker and Biskupski, which will air Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on FOX 13.