Jim Dabakis

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Jim Dabakis
Member of the Utah Senate
from the 2nd district
Assumed office
December 2012
Preceded by Ben McAdams
Chairman of the
Utah Democratic Party
In office
July 2011 – March 2014
Preceded by Wayne Holland
Succeeded by Peter Corroon
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Stephen Justeson

Jim Dabakis is an American politician from Salt Lake City, Utah. A Democrat, he is a member of the Utah State Senate, where he represents the state's 2nd senate district.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Born into a Greek-American family from Springfield, Massachusetts, Dabakis is the son of a machinist. Raised Greek Orthodox, he was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at age 11 so that he could play on a Church-affiliated basketball team. In 1971, he enrolled at Brigham Young University and sought guidance from Mark E. Petersen, one of the Church's apostles, about his homosexuality.[1] He was sent to the San Francisco bay area as a missionary and has since ceased to be a practicing Mormon.

Dabakis never graduated from BYU, and after leaving he became a talk-radio and TV host in Salt Lake City. He also organized tours of the Eastern Bloc. In 1991, he moved to Saint Petersburg, Russia where he taught business at a Russian university, developed an art business and provided micro-loans to a variety of emerging Russian entrepreneurs. He split his time between Salt Lake City and St. Petersburg over the next twenty years. His official web page lists his profession as art dealer.[2]

One of the co-founders of Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center, Dabakis is openly gay.[3] On June 26, 2013, he proposed marriage to Stephen Justeson.[1][4] The two were legally wed by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker at the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office on December 20, 2013, just hours after a federal judge ruled the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

Political career[edit]

Senator Dabakis started his political career when he co-founded the Utah Pride Center and Equality Utah. He works closely with both of these organizations.[5] Dabakis was elected chair of the Utah Democratic Party in July 2011.[6] He has made outreach to Mormons a focus of his tenure at the head of the party. In 2014, Dabakis stepped down as state party chair for health reasons and to spend more time with his husband, Stephen.[7]

Dabakis was appointed to the Utah Senate by Democratic delegates in December 2012, following the election of senator Ben McAdams to the mayoralty of Salt Lake County. Five candidates sought the senate appointment, with Dabakis besting Peter Corroon, the outgoing mayor of Salt Lake County, by a vote of 67 to 61 in the final round of balloting. Senator Dabakis is running for reelection in 2014.

Senator Dabakis has his own caucus, the Dabakis Kakis. He holds weekly meetings to keep people updated on the legislative session. He also has a blog during the legislative session: http://dabakisdiary.wordpress.com.[8]

During the 2014 Legislative Session, Senator Dabakis served on the following committees:

  • Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee
  • Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee


Recently Sponsored Legislation[edit]

Bill Number Bill Title Bill Status
S.B. 105 Transfer of Public Lands Act Amendments Placed in Senate File for Bills not yet passed on 3/12/2015
S.B. 58 Carbon Monoxide Detection Amendments Governor Signed 3/27/2014
S.B. 182 Motor Fuel Tax Revisions Sponsor decided not to run
S.J.R. 10 Joint Resolution Requiring Legislators to Spend Time in Classrooms Held in Rules Committee
S.J.R. 14 Joint Resolution on the Protection of the Greater Canyonlands Region Sponsor decided not to run
S.J.R. 19 Joint Resolution Supporting Ukrainian Sovereignty Enrolled 3/16/2014


Senator Dabakis also floor sponsored H.B. 247 Court Parking Facilities.[9]

Pivotal Bills[edit]

Senator Dabakis has not yet sponsored any pivotal bills himself.


  1. ^ a b Horowitz, Jason (2012-11-26). "Gay activist using Utah as a political laboratory". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  2. ^ "Jim Dabakis". Utah State Senate. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Jim Dabakis elected to McAdams' Utah Senate seat". Deseret News. 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  4. ^ "Utah state senator proposes to longtime partner". AP. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  5. ^ a b "Dabakis, Jim". Utah State Senate. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Jim Dabakis Elected Utah Democratic Party Chairman". Associated Press. 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  7. ^ Robert Gehrke. "Jim Dabakis, citing health issues, resigns as Utah's top Dem". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ https://dabakisdiary.wordpress.com/
  9. ^ a b "Dabakis, J. Sponsored Legislation". Utah State Senate. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]