|Op-Ed for Jackie Biskupski|
In the coming days, Salt Lake City voters will either choose to retain the incumbent mayor or elect a new officeholder. With this single act, citizens will decide which path Salt Lake City continues down, whether it be the current one dictated by Mayor Ralph Becker or a new route lead by Jackie Biskupski. We, the board of the Utah Stonewall Democrats, wholeheartedly conclude that Biskupski is the candidate best suited to govern this city moving forward. She is the right person for this momentous time in the city's history.
It has been said by some that she is the "gay candidate." We acknowledge that her sexuality may play a role in the decision-making process of a portion of the voting pool; some may refuse to vote for Jackie because she is a lesbian and others may support her because she is. Both are choices that should be tolerated; who are we to discount anyone's vote?
The Utah Stonewall Democrats, however, believe that Biskupski is simply a candidate who happens to be gay and there is so much more that she has to offer. She is a hard-working, compassionate, dynamically progressive leader and has a real vision for the future of Salt Lake City. Jackie's experience as a small business owner, member of the Utah House of Representatives, and administrator in Salt Lake County Sheriff's office has given her the tools necessary to have a successful mayorship.
As an LGBTQ advocacy group, USD is grateful for strong allies like Mayor Becker. However, it is rare that we get such a meritorious candidate that has proven herself to be a person of excellent character who proudly stands tall for who she is and blazes that trail for inclusiveness.
If elected, Jackie has pledged to be a strong advocate for the people. She will focus on making housing truly affordable, an issue that becomes more important each day as rents and real estate prices continue to skyrocket. A passionate advocate for the environment, education, and small businesses, she will fight to improve our disgraceful air quality, work to close the achievement gap in Salt Lake City schools, and help build a sustainable local economy.
Biskupski is also committed to supporting the often-neglected west side. For many years, this jewel of an area has been treated like the red-headed step-child; it is long overdue for that to change.
As mayor, Jackie will represent all citizens of Salt Lake City. Republican, Democrat, Independent, gay, or straight, it doesn't matter. Her administration will be inclusive of every voice and fight for the dignity of all. Of this we are confident.
We applaud Mayor Becker and his staff for their years of dedicated service. But two terms is enough. It's time for new blood and, most importantly, a fresh governing style. Increased citizen outreach and focus on the underprivileged is a must.
In a democratic republic, change is not only inevitable, it is essential to society moving forward and retaining both its vibrancy and relevance. Former U.S. President Harry S. Truman once said that people "make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better." Jackie is one of those leaders. Voters have two choices to make this Election Day. They can opt to stay the current monotonous course for another four years or they can embrace a candidate that will lead our amazing city in its ongoing quest to become one of our country's sterling cities.
If you desire real, substantive change, we urge you to cast your ballot for Jackie Biskupski.