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Billboards re-emerge as an issue in SLC mayoral race

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Posted at 7:13 PM, Oct 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-21 10:59:03-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Homeless services, southern Utah wilderness and Jazz.

It’s an eclectic group of issues from a political action committee run by the general counsel of Utah’s biggest billboard company, Reagan Outdoor Advertising.

Utahns for Independent Government is run by Nate Sechrest, who says they are supporting Jackie Biskupski because of her stand on those issues.

“We're not trying to make anything seem like it's coming from Jackie. These are important issues to people and we understand how Mayor Becker feels about them and how candidate Biskupski feels about them,” Sechrest said.

Mayor Ralph Becker and Biskupski are embroiled in a seemingly neck and neck race to lead Utah’s capital city for the next four years. Biskupski’s campaign manager, MaryAnn Martindale said they don’t have anything to do with the billboards.

“I don't know that they hurt, I don't know that they help. But we've asked them to be taken down,” Martindale said.

But a Political Action Committee can’t even talk to a candidate, Sechrest said, and the billboards will stay.

“These are issues that are important to us as a PAC and to people who approached us and asked us to help with those issues,” Sechrest said.

But Martindale and Becker agree that this is less about supporting Biskupski and more about Becker’s outspoken opposition to billboards.

“The primary issue with these billboards is that they're not necessarily pro Jackie, they really are anti Ralph Becker,” Martindale said.

“I do view billboards as visual pollution,” Becker said.