Salt Lake City - Law and Government

Law and Government

Since 1979 Salt Lake City has had a non-partisan mayor-council form of government. The mayor and the seven councillors are elected to four-year terms. Mayoral elections are held the same year as three of the councillors. The other four councillors are staggered two years from the mayoral. Council seats are defined by geographic population boundaries. Each councillor represents approximately 26,000 citizens. Officials are not subject to term limits.

The most recent election was held in November, 2011. Luke Garrott was re-elected to a second term, while Charlie Luke and Kyla LaMalfa were elected in upset victories over incumbents J.T. Martin and Van Turner. Soren Simonsen was elected by his peers as the Council Chair in January 2012.

Elected officials of Salt Lake City as of 2012
Official Position Term ends
Ralph Becker (D) Mayor 2015
City Council members
Carlton Christensen 1st district 2013
Kyle LaMalfa 2nd district 2015
Stan Penfold 3rd district 2013
Luke Garrott 4th district 2015
Jill Remington Love 5th district 2013
Charlie Luke 6th district 2015
Soren Simonsen, Chair 7th district 2013

Elections are held in odd-numbered years. The years listed above correspond to the next election cycle; the winning candidate will take office in January of the following year.

Labor politics play no significant role. The city has two elected openly gay women and an openly gay man, representing the city in the State House and Senate, respectively.

The separation of church and state was the most heated topic in the days of the Liberal Party and People's Party of Utah, when many candidates would be LDS Church bishops. This tension is still reflected today with the Bridging the Religious Divide campaign. This campaign was initiated when some city residents complained that the Utah political establishment was unfair in its dealings with non-LDS residents by giving the LDS Church preferential treatment, while LDS residents perceived a growing anti-Mormon bias in city politics.

The city's political demographics are liberal and Democratic. This stands in stark contrast to the majority of Utah where conservative and Republican views generally dominate.

The city is home to several non-governmental think-tanks and advocacy groups such as the conservative Sutherland Institute, the gay-rights group Equality Utah, and the quality-growth advocates Envision Utah. Salt Lake hosted many foreign dignitaries during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and in 2006 the President of Mexico began his U.S. tour in the city and Israel's ambassador to the United States opened a cultural center. President George W. Bush visited in 2005 and again in 2006 for national veterans' conventions; both visits were protested by then-Mayor Rocky Anderson. Other political leaders such as Howard Dean and Harry Reid gave speeches in the city in 2005.

See also: List of mayors of Salt Lake City

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