Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on June 13, 2011
With today’s surprise announcement that Utah’s last openly-gay legislator, Jackie Biskupski, is retiring, rumors are flying fast and thick about who is going to throw their hat in for the special election to House District 30. I wanted to take a quick moment to give everyone an update.
First I want to express my sincerest gratitude to Jackie. As Utah’s very first openly-gay legislator she paved the way so many of us in this state. Utah tends to lag 30 years behind national trends, and Jackie’s election 12 years ago wasn’t easy for her and even once she arrived on the Hill she faced some extreme prejudice from her follow lawmakers. But with hard work, dedication and an un-matched political savvy, she was able to create those inroads which have allowed for so many others to follow in her footsteps both in the legislature as well as in smaller races. As a member of the LGBT community, and a resident of House District 30, thank you so much for everything you have done for us Jackie!
Secondly, I want to express my gratitude for the calls, emails and messages today from so many of you encouraging me to run to replace Jackie. Serving in our Legislature would be an enormous honor, but although I want to see an openly-LGBT person take the seat – the time is not right for me.
Serving in the legislature should be about more than just bragging rights, and at this point in my life I just don’t feel qualified to tackle the myriad issues that face a member of the House. With the very real possibility of HD30 disappearing in the redistricting process this year, I feel that the only person who could accomplish more than just those bragging rights would be someone who is capable of jumping feet first into each issue.
I have heard of 4 members of our community so far who have expressed interest in the seat (and maybe there will be more). I don’t want to mention their names until they officially announce, but I consider each of them to be good friends and wish them all the luck in their race over the next month. I am fully confident that each of them would be capable of serving our district well.
As for myself – I do plan to run for office shortly, but in a much smaller race than the State Legislature. I’m very much looking forward to it, and we will continue to take steps forward in our goal to ensure that every US Citizen is guaranteed their full and equal rights!