I want to continue to serve this beautiful community that I love. With the support of our community, I look forward to an energetic year and certainly many years ahead for Salt Lake City. —Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City mayor
SALT LAKE CITY — Ralph Becker will seek a third term as mayor of Salt Lake City.
The mayor said Monday he has the energy and commitment to serve, noting there are several goals he wants to reach during a third term in office.
"My team and I have been operating on all cylinders for almost eight years. And I have had the pleasure to work with this incredible community to partner in moving Salt Lake City towards becoming a great American city," Becker said at a press conference at Mestizo Coffeehouse on the city's west side.
"I want to continue to serve this beautiful community that I love. With the support of our community, I look forward to an energetic year and certainly many years ahead for Salt Lake City."
Becker said he was motivated to run for a third term because of two "bigger picture initiatives," optimizing the benefits of a new airport for the city and region and following through on the promise of the Mountain Accord "to protect and provide our jewel of the Wasatch Mountains for future generations."
The Mountain Accord is a collaborative planning process attempting to chart the future for the mountains between I-80 and Little Cottonwood Canyon by addressing how to balance the economy, transportation, recreation and environmental challenges facing the area.
The city needs to complete construction of the 2,500-seat George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater, designed to suit traveling Broadway shows, he said.
"We also need to provide for a range of housing choices that gives all portions of our population reasons to move to and remain in our downtown area," Becker said.
In recent history, only Ted Wilson sought a third term as Salt Lake mayor. While he was re-elected, Wilson did not complete his final term, leaving office in 1985 to become director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. J. Bracken Lee also served three terms as Salt Lake mayor beginning in 1960, 12 years as mayor of Price and two terms as governor.
Becker, who has served as mayor of Utah's capital city since 2008, ticked off a number of accomplishments during his two terms as mayor, including a more vibrant downtown and increased mobility options with the addition of the airport TRAX line, the Sugar House Streetcar and improved cycling and walkable options.
"I could go on — the Livability Agenda has established Salt Lake City as a leader recognized throughout the region and the nation. We passed the first nondiscrimination ordinance, establishing ourselves as an inclusive community, and we reduced energy use through projects like the first net-zero public safety building in the county and reducing Salt Lake City's contributions to our region's unacceptable air pollution dramatically."
Becker recently became president of the National League of Cities. He also serves on the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
Becker is expected to face challengers, including at least one member of the Salt Lake City Council.
Asked how he felt about being challenged by members of the council, Becker said, historically, council members and other community leaders have challenged sitting mayors.
"This is a great job and I can understand why others would be interested in pursuing it," he said.
Becker said he has had a great working relationship with the City Council. "I think every major initiative we've taken on as an administration we've received support, often times with split votes. That's the nature of having a diverse community and diverse members of our council and I wouldn't expect that to change."
Councilman Luke Garrott, who represents District 4, tweeted on Sunday that his campaign "is getting legs. Official launch early spring."
According to UtahPolicy.com, others who may consider a run for mayor are former Rep. Jackie Biskupski, Sen. Jim Dabakis, City Councilmen Stan Penfold, Kyle LaMalfa and Charlie Luke and former Councilwoman Jill Remington Love, although some of the names surfaced while it was still unclear whether Becker would seek a third term.
Becker handily won each of his previous elections, winning 75 percent of the vote in 2011 and 64 percent in his first bid for mayor in 2007.
Becker said he intends to walk door to door while he campaigns for re-election — as he has each time he ran for state legislative and municipal offices — to "engage residents and business owners in helping us achieve an agenda for the next several years."