Mayor-elect Biskupski's Statement on Office of Diversity & Human Rights

Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski released the following statement regarding her choice to lead the Office of Diversity & Human Rights:

Today, Salt Lake City Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski announced she will retain and expand the role of Yolanda Francisco-Nez, currently the Coordinator for the Office of Diversity & Human Rights (ODHR). In her expanded role, Yolanda will continue to oversee ODHR, and will also serve as a policy advisor on issues of diversity and minority affairs to ensure greater equity and inclusion in city government, education, and economic development.

“In order to build a city with opportunity for all people, we must not only bring diverse voices to the table, but those voices must be in a position to help lead the conversation” said Mayor-elect Biskupski on her decision. “Throughout her career at City Hall, Yolanda has proven her commitment to Salt Lake City’s diverse communities. In speaking with her personally, and after hearing from a variety of interested parties, it is clear to me Yolanda is willing and able to do more to make Salt Lake City government responsive and reflective of all the people who live here.”

Yolanda Francisco-Nez has worked in various roles in the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office since 2000. In 2008 she was appointed as Coordinator of the Office of Diversity and Human Rights. In her current position, Yolanda helped facilitate the Salt Lake City ordinance protecting LGBTQ people in employment and housing, led the Complete Count Committee to ensure underrepresented populations were included in the 2010 Census, and developed award winning curriculum for refugee and immigrant populations addressing employment and housing discrimination, sexual violence, gang violence prevention, the justice court system, and the citizenship process. Yolanda currently serves as a Board Member of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies, and Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

“I am eager to continue my work and take on new challenges in a larger role with the Biskupski administration” said Yolanda Francisco-Nez on the announcement. “I have seen first-hand the continuing needs of Salt Lake City’s minority communities, and know city government can play a key role in addressing inequality in our society. With Mayor-elect Biskupski’s commitment to diversity, I am confident we can make a real impact in the years to come.”

Yolanda was born on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and moved to Salt Lake City as a child.

Mayor-elect Biskupski’s Statement on new Deputy Chief of Staff

Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski released the following statement regarding her choice of Deputy Chief of Staff:

Today, Salt Lake City Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski announced former state legislator and minority leader David Litvack will become her Deputy Chief of Staff when she takes office on January 4, 2016. In his role, David will oversee policy development and analysis for the administration.


“In order to realize the full potential of Salt Lake City’s energy, we need a strong advocate for responsible and strategic policy at the city, county, and state levels. With his years of leadership in the legislature and experience at the county level, David is the perfect choice to help move the capital city forward,” said Mayor-elect Biskupski on her decision. “I have had the opportunity to mentor, partner, and work with David over the course of his career in public service, and there is no doubt he is smart, intentional, and most importantly dedicated to an inclusive and diverse community.”


Since 2008, David has served as the Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) in the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office, Office of Regional Development. In his role as CJAC Coordinator, David works closely with local officials within the county and state criminal and social justice system to develop strategies to reduce recidivism, improve information-sharing between agencies, and enhance the use of data driven decision making. David represented Central City and West Salt Lake as a legislator from 2000 – 2012. During his twelve years in the Utah House of Representatives, David served two terms as the Minority Leader, as well as serving on the Health and Human Services Committee, Executive Appropriation, Law Enforcement and Justice Committee, and the Legislative Management Committee.

“In the House, Jackie served as a mentor, not only to me, but to many new legislators who were eager to serve the people in an effective and honest manner. We all learned by watching Jackie, how to navigate relationships, on both sides of the aisle, to get work done to benefit the people we represented,” said David on working with Mayor-elect Biskupski. “Having seen how she works and understanding her vision, I am honored to be a part of this team and the great things to come.”

David moved to Salt Lake City in 1987, attended Westminster College, and currently lives in Salt Lake City’s Central City neighborhood with his wife Erin, their two children, and dog.


Mayor-elect Biskupski Statement on new Chief of Staff

Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski released the following statement regarding her Chief of Staff selection:

Today Salt Lake City Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski announced Salt Lake County Township Executive Patrick Leary will become her Chief of Staff when she takes office on January 4, 2016. Patrick will also serve as the Chief of Staff for the remaining transition period.

“Patrick’s more than 20 years of experience in public administration, his wealth of knowledge in local government, deep commitment to accessible and transparent government, combined with our shared belief that public service is a calling that requires a high degree of professionalism and humility, make him the perfect fit for the role of Chief of Staff in my administration” said Mayor-elect Biskupski on her decision. “I have known Patrick both professionally and personally, and know he will bring a high level of competence and professionalism, along with an understanding that the needs of the people and a desire to humbly serve them must always be at the core of every decision we make.”

Patrick Leary has spent his professional career working in local government administering large organizations such as the Office of the District Attorney, the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office, as well as serving as Associate Director for the Administrative Services Department and Director of the Public Works Department of Salt Lake County. In January 2013, Mayor Ben McAdams appointed Patrick as the first Township Executive, responsible for providing municipal services to the 160,000 residents living in the unincorporated areas of the County. In his role as Township Executive, Patrick has spearheaded economic revitalization efforts, parks and green-space improvements, enhanced transportation planning, as well as tackling tough problems like health, safety and community development.

“I am humbled at the opportunity to serve Mayor-elect Biskupski and to help implement her vision for Salt Lake City” said Patrick Leary on the announcement. “Throughout her career Jackie has always prioritized people and fought to bring voice to those who have been underrepresented. We have already seen that commitment from her as Mayor-elect and I am looking forward to working with her as she continues that mission as mayor of our capital city.”

Patrick is originally from Salt Lake City and continues to live in the city with his wife Amy and their two children.

Mayor-elect Biskupski Statement on meeting with LDS Church officials

Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski released the following statement regarding her meeting with LDS Church officials today:

“I truly appreciate meeting with Elder D. Todd Christofferson, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Bishop Gérald Caussé, presiding bishop of the Church, to discuss the future of Salt Lake City. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints plays a key role in Salt Lake City’s history and in our city’s future and I look forward to continuing a relationship of open dialogue.

“Elder Christofferson and Bishop Caussé were very interested in discussing ways the Church can help on issues of homelessness, air quality, and watershed issues. We are all looking forward to a much more collaborative effort on long-term economic development opportunities for Salt Lake City. Today we began meaningful conversations that will continue at all levels for the next four years.

“At the end of the meeting Elder Christofferson also graciously accepted a letter which conveyed my feelings on the Church’s new policy regarding families headed by same-sex couples and their children. As a leader in Salt Lake City, and after hearing from many individuals, I felt it was my responsibility to use this opportunity to express the community’s concerns in a respectful manner. I share in the sadness and confusion that this new policy has caused many in our community--both members of the Church and non-members. The LDS Church has done so much good in promoting the strength of the family and while I strongly believe they are entitled to live in their doctrine, I hope this policy direction will not last long.”

Statement: Mayor-elect Biskupski Statement on Transition Process

Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski released the following statement regarding her transition process:

“For the last few weeks I have been working to ensure the transition between Mayor Ralph Becker’s administration and mine is transparent, fair, and respectful for both city employees and the public. Earlier today I sent all Salt Lake City employees a transition document (available here:, laying out my initial timetable for this process. I have also formed a transition team consisting of individuals with diverse backgrounds in government, human resources, small business, law, and consulting (for full backgrounds, please visit

“As the incoming mayor, it is my responsibility to review all appointed positions and the current structure of city agencies, to ensure the wishes of voters are reflected throughout city government. I have identified 34 appointed positions, consisting of department heads and mayoral staff, who will be part of my first round of review. I have already met with many of these individuals and, in the next several days, I will have met with every department head. Members of my transition team will also meet with department heads and mayoral staff.

“As is common in mayoral transitions, I have requested that all appointed department heads, as well as the mayoral staff, submit a letter of resignation to me by January 4th, 2016. Each of these resignations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and, as soon as possible, I will determine whether to accept individual letters of resignation. Between now and then, the Mayor-Elect will begin the recruiting process for many appointed positions. More information about the recruiting process will be provided imminently. I have asked that all individuals submitting letters of resignation remain in their current positions until the effective date of any resignation I accept.

“Due to the importance of public safety, I have decided not to request at this time the resignations of Interim Police Chief Brown and Fire Chief Dale. I would like the opportunity to work with both of them to evaluate their performance and to determine whether they will support my vision for public safety.  

“I would like to thank Mayor Becker and his staff for their cooperation in this effort, and I look forward to completing the transition and to assuming my role as Mayor of Salt Lake City on January 4th.”


Statement: LDS Church policy on children from same-sex families

The conversations I have had over the past 24 hours, regarding the LDS Church policy to exclude children living in same-sex households from membership, have been with people of all walks of life, both Mormon and non-Mormon. The common theme is both shock and concern for children—not just those directly impacted—but all children in our community who are witnessing a form of injustice that no child should experience.

As a faith community, the LDS Church has done so much good in promoting the strength of the family, that it is hard for many of us to accept a policy that would tell a child who wishes to seek spiritual guidance from the Church, that they should look elsewhere simply because of their parents. Our community has also come so far in the last year to bridge the gaps between us, that this new policy feels confusing to many.  

The LDS Church is entitled to live in its doctrine and to make policy decisions that reflect the teachings of their faith, but I hold onto hope that a move in this direction will not last long.  As a mother of a young son—who will grow up in this community—I want him to feel welcome wherever he goes and judged based on the content of his character, not on his mother’s sexual orientation. My son will make many important decisions in his life and if he chose to become a member of the LDS Church, I would support his choice, and I would hope he could find acceptance in his faith community.    

Hispanic Caucus Endorses Biskupski for SLC Mayor

PRESS RELEASE, Utah State Hispanic Democratic Caucus

The Utah State Hispanic Democratic Caucus weighs in on the two democratic candidates for Salt Lake City mayor, endorsing Jackie Biskupski while laying out a range of areas where the city must make progress for the Latino community.

Citing a lack of inclusion and a failure to follow through with commitments under Mayor Ralph Becker’s two terms in office, the Utah State Hispanic Democratic Caucus endorsed his challenger, Jackie Biskupski, for Salt Lake City Mayor this weekend.

The endorsement decision comes after a Latino focused debate between the two mayoral candidates, sponsored by Utah Coalition of La Raza, a candidate survey issued by the Utah State Hispanic Democratic Caucus, and a meeting of caucus members to discuss the endorsement.

“For the most part, both candidates speak well on the issues that matter to our community, but actions speak louder than words,” explained Paula Espinoza-Wells, chair of the Utah State Hispanic Democratic Caucus. “Mayor Becker has had two terms to make progress on the issues that impact the Latino community and our caucus members overwhelmingly expressed that too little progress had been made on those issues, such as transportation, education, and affordable housing.”

The other point of contention the caucus took with Becker was the lack of diversity hires within his administration. “One of the first actions by the Becker administration was to throw out the affirmative action plan implemented by his predecessor, Mayor Rocky Anderson,” explained Espinoza-Wells. “In a city where Latinos account for a quarter of the population, we see very little diversity in Mayor Becker’s staff and among the city’s boards and commissions.”

As an example, caucus members pointed to Mayor Becker’s Homeless Services Site Evaluation Commission, which will make a proposal on whether and where to move the city’s homeless shelter after this November’s election. That commission, caucus members noted, has 30 members to represent the city’s interests and includes not one single person of color.

In addressing diversity in the city, Biskupski’s answers to the candidate survey resonated with the caucus. Biskupski’s survey response stated: “The Salt Lake City Mayor’s office should reflect the diversity of Salt Lake across all departments, agencies, boards, and commissions at every level of employment. We should not silo diversity efforts within the City’s Human Rights Commission. As Mayor, I am deeply committed to diversifying our City’s government, starting at the top with my cabinet and executive staff. I am absolutely committed to recruiting Latino/Hispanic candidates to leadership positions within my administration.”

While pleased with Biskupski’s sentiments, the caucus noted that, should Biskupski win in November, the Latino community would be watching to see substantive policies and real inclusion from city hall. “Our caucus members will certainly offer their collective expertise to a Biskupski administration,” stated Espinoza-Wells, “and we expect to see much greater outreach, inclusion, and focus on issues that matter to the Latino community than the previous administration.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Biskupski rolls out 'business friendly' economic-development plan

From Salt Lake Tribune

A week ago, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker lauded his economic development plan, panned his opponent for criticizing the rejuvenated economy and challenged her to reveal a program of her own.

On Tuesday, Jackie Biskupski did just that, rolling out an economic development plan under the heading "A Better City For Everyone." But it could have been called a blueprint for a business-friendly American city.

Read the Full Story...

Salt Lake Tribune: Becker courts Republicans; Biskupski grabs support from labor groups

From Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is wooing Republicans in an effort to come from behind and capture a rare third term in one of Utah's last Democratic strongholds.

The race, officially, is nonpartisan, but the last Republican to be elected mayor of Salt Lake City was Jake Garn in 1971. Nonetheless, 20 percent to 25 percent of the capital's registered voters are Republican. And the incumbent is in a deep hole, garnering just 31 percent of the primary vote to 46 percent for challenger Jackie Biskupski.

Three other challengers, now eliminated, accounted for the remaining 23 percent of the electorate that did not cast primary ballots for the incumbent and may switch to Biskupski.


KUER: Biskupski Says Salt Lake City has Too Many Fees, Red Tape for Business


Jackie Biskupski wants to make Salt Lake City a more friendly place to do business. The mayoral candidate unveiled her economic development plan on Tuesday.

Biskupski says Salt Lake City has low unemployment and an economy that is rebounding but businesses are dealing with too many fees and red tape.

“We are not staying competitive in the county or even outside the county,” Biskupski says. “So it is very difficult for us to recruit businesses here and keep them here.”

Read/Listen to the Full Story...

Campaign: Statement on Joe Hill

100 years ago there was a grave miscarriage of justice in Salt Lake City. Joe Hill was convicted and put to death for a crime he did not commit and the families of two murdered men were denied the prosecution of the actual killers. It is time for our community to acknowledge this injustice. I support a proclamation stating these facts and I support the proposed monument remembering Joe Hill and John and Arling Morrison.

Jackie Biskupski announces leave of absence from Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Jackie Biskupski announced a leave of absence from her administrative position with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office and released the following statement:

“With less than twelve weeks before the general election, it has become necessary for me to take a leave of absence from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, beginning September 7th.

“The demands of a mayoral campaign are significant. As commitments increase, I find it necessary to take a leave in order to focus solely on the demands of the campaign.

“I have a great deal of respect for the Sheriff and those I work with in his administration and believe that taking this time will allow them to continue their important work without the potential distraction of my campaign. I am grateful to Sheriff Winder for understanding and supporting this decision.

“I am working hard, meeting with residents of the city, business owners, and organizational representatives. Taking this time away from the Sheriff’s Office will allow me to focus on this effort, full time.”

Deseret News: Biskupski gets most votes in Salt Lake City mayoral race, advances to general election

SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Ralph Becker has advanced to the Nov. 3 general election, but unofficial results from Tuesday's primary indicate the incumbent mayor has some work to do if he hopes to earn a third term.

Jackie Biskupski was the top vote-getter in the previously crowded race for Salt Lake City mayor and will join Becker on the ballot on Election Day.

Jackie's statement on Planned Parenthood

“I believe it is necessary to respond to the recent attacks on Planned Parenthood and share my disappointment in the misguided attempts by Governor Herbert to defund them by halting federal funds.

"I am confident the latest controversy will resolve itself in time but, it has created many misperceptions about Planned Parenthood and I believe we need to be mindful of all the good work they do.

“Planned Parenthood provides crucial reproductive health services to people in Utah. Services include pregnancy testing, STD testing and treatment, screenings for rape and sexual assault victims, sex education, vaccines, cancer screenings, and vasectomies.

“For many Utahns, Planned Parenthood is the sole provider of low-cost healthcare. In 2014, over 50,000 Utahns were served, over 22,000 of those from Salt Lake City.

“As a woman, as a mother, and as a candidate to be the next mayor of Salt Lake City, I stand up for all those who rely on Planned Parenthood to ensure their sexual and reproductive health.”

“I stand with Planned Parenthood and am grateful for the services they provide to people in our city and state."


Campaign: Jackie responds to Becker’s about face on the open space bond

“Mayor Becker has been pushing the “Connecting You to Nature” bond for the last several months, touting it as the centerpiece of his reelection platform. Now that he’s the recipient of public outrage, he’s changing his position

“He’s scrambling to try and gain support for reelection and, as a result, is making poor leadership decisions that are negatively affecting the city and its residents. Rather than involving the public and key stakeholders, he forged ahead with his own plan and then flipped his position when it became detrimental to his bid for re-election.

“As mayor, I will seek first, the input of residents, taxpayers, and community leaders. Preservation and expansion of open spaces are a critical component to the future of our city and I support the creation of new recreational opportunities, but this growth must be fiscally responsible, it must be sustainable, and above all, it must have the support of the residents who will foot the bill.”

Campaign: Jackie Biskupski responds to Prison Relocation Commission decision

Jackie Biskupski responds to the announcement by the Prison Relocation Commission’s selection of Salt Lake City as the new prison location:

“I am extremely disappointed in the selection of Salt Lake City as the location for the new prison, and the culpability of Mayor Becker in this process is especially disappointing.

“This is a decision that will shape this city's future for generations to come. Our west side has been ignored by this administration, so it should come as no surprise that Mayor Becker would sell them out in his negotiations for a sales tax in this city. 

“In addition to the lack of concern for residents of the west side, the environmental impacts and the shortage of water resources in this part of the valley should be more than reason for the commission to look elsewhere.

“As mayor, I will continue to oppose the prison relocation, and will pursue every option available to keep it from being built in the west side of Salt Lake City.”

Campaign: Jackie Biskupski reacts to Primary Election win

I am delighted by the outpouring of support I have received during the Primary Election and am very pleased with our final results. Running against an entrenched incumbent is a challenge but it is clear from the tally that Salt Lake City residents are ready for new leadership and support my vision for this great city.

Thank you to all the candidates for running a good race and for bringing up important issues that we will continue to address.

We are just 12 weeks out from the General Election, and our work is far from over. I’m committed to working tirelessly to share my message and vision, and solidify the confidence voters have shown me with today’s vote.

My campaign is more energized than ever and I look forward to winning the general election in November.