16 July 2011
by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Jim Dabakis is the new Democratic State Party Chairman for the state of Utah. He was elected in a statewide race, making him the first openly gay man elected in a statewide race, and he is one of the first few openly lesbian or gay Democratic Party Chairs nationwide.
According to Pride in Utah, though “Utah has seen two openly-gay Representatives in the State House. It has also seen an openly gay State Senator. But this is the first time an openly-LGBT person has been elected to an office by voters statewide, and it comes just 3 years after Prop 8.”
Dabakis stated “It’s an honor and a thrill [to be elected Chairman] of the State Democratic Party.” The campaign began five months ago, and Dabakis did not think then or now that his sexuality would be a factor. He stated “I don’t see it as a relevant factor. I am here to do a job and do it the best I can whether I’m gay, straight, black, white or purple.”
Pride in Utah also noted that “Jim is the original co-founder of both the Utah Pride Center as well as the political advocacy group Equality Utah, and has built up a large following after his negotiations with the Mormon Church ended with them endorsing Salt Lake City’s Non-Discrimination Ordinances.”
Utah is a very red state making the job ahead of Dabakis daunting at best.