This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Jackie Biskupski has one great reason for leaving the Legislature her 18-month-old son, Archie.
She's moving out of District 30 to live in a kid-friendly neighborhood in, as it happens, her Democratic colleague Brian King's District 28. She needed a bigger house and yard and good schools.
A single mom, she'd also like to adopt another child to round out her family.
But in leaving, Biskupski takes 12 years of hard-earned legislative experience with her and leaves the Legislature without a single openly gay lawmaker. Former Sen. Scott McCoy and former Rep. Christine Johnson left not only Capitol Hill but also Utah last year McCoy to New York City and Johnson to South Carolina.
Politically, Biskupski's retirement comes just as Senate President Mike Waddoups has put the redistricting cross hairs on three Democratic senators: Pat Jones, Ross Romero and Luz Robles. His plan would put Jones and Romero in the same new district, and pit Robles against Republican Sen. Dan Liljenquist in a district composed of Bountiful and a chunk of Salt Lake City.
She also leaves a paltry cadre of female legislators, who make up just 17 percent of the heavily Republican Legislature.
Still, Biskupski plans to continue being an advocate for social justice, a fiscal conservative (she calls herself a "big old tightwad") and a mentor. Oh, and she's thinking hard about a run for Salt Lake City mayor in five years. (Yes, Ralph Becker knows.)
But even before her legislative days, Biskupski served as an advocate for the LGBT community, victims of domestic violence, the homeless and the emergency food system. She takes particular pride in backing legislation that helps midwives minister to women who want to have their babies at home.
She does regret not being able to repeal a law that keeps gay couples from adopting children together.
"We're all connected on every level," Biskupski. "The social justice stuff has been the most rewarding for me."
It comes naturally.
"I'm named after Jackie Kennedy," she said. "I come from a mindset of social justice from Day One, and that never left me. It's part of why I became an elected official."
Biskupski will keep working as an administrative assistant to Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.
"I promised him I would work my guts out," she said.
Even so, as every working parent knows, family comes first.
Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her at email@example.com.