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Jackie Biskupski beamed as members of Salt Lake City's LGBT community and the Utah Stonewall Democrats endorsed her for mayor.
Standing on the steps of the Salt Lake City Hall, Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, and Salt Lake County Councilman Arlyn Bradshaw both of whom are gay threw their support behind Biskupski's bid against incumbent Mayor Ralph Becker. The Utah Stonewall Democrats State Caucus joined them Sunday morning, as did Mark Lawrence of Restore Our Humanity, the group that initially funded and identified couples for the Kitchen v. Herbert gay marriage court case.
Several endorsements spoke to a hope that Biskupski, the first openly lesbian ever elected to the Utah House, can bring her unique perspective and more inclusiveness to city government. "There are a lot of people… that don't feel a part," Dabakis said. "They feel as though there is a cap on their possibility in life. And one of the reasons I'm voting for Jackie Biskupski is because she represents so many in our state that aren't represented yet. Not just about being a lesbian and being a single mother and being a woman, but to represent all of those in our city and in our county and in our state that feel as though they're voiceless, and their perspective is not heard."
Her ascent to statewide office inspired Bradshaw, then a young man interested in politics.
"It filled me with hope that my sexuality was not a barrier to the things that I wanted to accomplish," Bradshaw said. As a legislative intern, he met Biskupski during her tenure as a state lawmaker and was impressed with her poise, advocacy, and her "effectiveness working with that body which, as we know, is not always the most amiable to our causes."
Biskupski later helped Bradshaw during his successful 2010 bid for County Council.
Lawrence, of Restore Our Humanity, has a lot of respect for Becker. He hopes Becker seeks a higher office. But Becker's two terms are enough, Lawrence said, and told Biskupski he would remind her of the same eight years from now.
"No need," Biskupski replied. "Eight is enough."
No matter where people live in Utah, seeing people like Dabakis and Bradshaw run for office "to represent everyone, it gives them hope," the mayoral candidate said. "And that hope means a lot, and in some cases, that is lifesaving hope."
Biskupski said that she will represent the whole community, including minorities. "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 added.
In a news release Sunday afternoon, Equality Utah voiced its support for both Biskupski and Becker.
"They both have been great on issues important to our community. Many LGBT leaders and individuals are Biskupski backers and it's also accurate to report that Mayor Becker has many LGBT supporters," the statement reads. "… Voters can be assured that both Becker and Biskupski will fight for our community."
The mayoral election takes place Nov. 3.