Jenny Wilson

Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson announced Thursday she will not seek re-election in 2010.

Wilson, a Democrat who won her at-large seat in 2004, has been a champion of civil rights during her term and earlier this year successfully passed a new statute to extend health benefits to domestic partners of county employees. The tide turned on Wilson's proposal, which met defeat in two previous efforts, after Democrats took control of the nine-member council following the 2008 general election. Wilson released a statement announcing her intention to move on following the completion of her term at the end of next year.

"I take great pride in the work I have done to protect our environment, expand civil rights, support the county's employees and to reform the system," Wilson said. "I look forward to new professional, personal and community opportunities and will share plans for a new adventure shortly."

Wilson took a shot at the top executive spot for Salt Lake City in 2007, but lost a highly contentious mayoral primary battle, coming in third behind Dave Buhler and current Mayor Ralph Becker.

Wilson's stint in public service tracks back to 1988, when she served as a campaign press secretary for her father, and former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson, during his unsuccessful run for governor. Since then, she's worked for Congressman Les AuCoin, D-Oregon, the late Congressman Bill Orton, D-Utah, and ran Dave Jones' campaign for Salt Lake City mayor in 1999.

Now, Wilson says she's ready to re-commit to a full-time career path, but not until she completes a to-do list for the year ahead that includes pushing for a county anti-discrimination statute that protects gay and lesbian residents (like Salt Lake City's recent ordinance), advocating for criminal justice reform and alternatives to incarceration, and moving Jordan River preservation efforts forward.

Wilson's decision now leaves two of four council seats in 2010 without incumbent candidates. Councilman Jeff Allen resigned late last month, citing family issues, and is exiting his District 5 position a year early. Allen had already indicated he would not run again for the seat in 2010.

The other two positions slated for the election ballot next year are Democratic Chairman Joe Hatch's District 1 seat and Republican Councilman David Wilde's District 3 position.

e-mail: [email protected]