Ralph Becker (mayor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ralph Becker
Ralph Becker.jpg
34th Mayor of Salt Lake City
In office
January 7, 2008 – January 4, 2016
Preceded byRocky Anderson
Succeeded byJackie Biskupski
Member of the Utah House of Representatives
from the 24th district
In office
Succeeded byRebecca Chavez-Houck
Personal details
Born (1952-05-30) May 30, 1952 (age 67)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Kate Kopischke
ResidenceSalt Lake City
OccupationUrban planner
WebsiteSalt Lake City Website
Ralph Becker

Ralph Elihu Becker Jr. (born May 30, 1952) is an American politician and attorney who is the former Minority Leader of the Utah State House of Representatives and the 34th mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Early life and career[edit]

Becker was born in Washington, D.C. to Ralph Elihu Becker and Ann Watters Becker. His father, Ralph Elihu Becker, was United States Ambassador to Honduras from 1976 to 1977 during the Ford administration.

He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, his J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law in 1977, and his M.S. in Geography/Planning from the University of Utah in 1982. Becker is an attorney and planner (Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners), who has co-founded Bear West in 1985, a planning, natural resources consulting firm. He also is an Adjunct Professor at the College of Architecture and Planning, University of Utah.

Becker has had a career that has spanned serving in the National Park Service as a garbage man, firefighter, and ranger (law enforcement and EMT) (1971–76), Utah State Planning Coordinator under Governor Scott Matheson (1981–1985), and Salt Lake City Planning Commissioner (1988–1996). He is one of three people in Utah to be a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. His Utah legislative accomplishments include six years in Utah legislative leadership (four years as House Democratic Leader), leading the passage of the Quality Growth Act (1999), funding for trails, open space, and transit, Utah's first Energy Policy Act, and advocating social justice issues.

In November 2006, Becker announced his candidacy for the 2007 race for Salt Lake City Mayor and won on November 6, 2007.

On January 7, 2008, Becker took the oath of office and began his four-year term as mayor. In 2011, Becker was reelected in a landslide, winning 75% of the vote.

Political accomplishments and controversies[edit]

In July 2009, Becker received major criticism for his decision to place a Public Safety Building in the same city block as Salt Lake City's Main Public Library known as Library Square. Eventually, Becker would opt to place the Public Safety Building on the block immediately east of the proposed location - a more popular option.[1]

In November 2009, Becker signed into law non-discrimination ordinances that forbid landlords and employers to deny housing or jobs due to sexual orientation or gender identity.[2]

In December 2013, Becker officiated over some of the first same-sex marriages performed in the state of Utah.[3]

In February 2014, Becker signed the Freedom to Marry Petition,[4] a non-partisan declaration that "all people should be able to share in the love and commitment of marriage".[5]

Becker served as the 2014-2015 President of the National League of Cities.[6]

2007 General Election[edit]

2007 General Election [7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ralph Becker 27,556 63.77
Republican Dave Buhler 15,524 35.93
Other write-ins 129 0.30
Total votes 43,209 100

2007 Primary Election[edit]

Top 2 candidates advance to General Election (Regardless of Party Affiliation)

2007 Primary Election [8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ralph Becker 10,486 38.50
Republican Dave Buhler 7,570 27.79
Democratic Jenny Wilson 6,364 23.36
Independent Keith Christensen 2,295 8.43
(unknown) J.P. Hughes 378 1.39
(unknown) John M. Renteria 53 0.19
(unknown) Quinn Cady McDonough 42 0.15
(unknown) Rainer Huck 37 0.14
(unknown) Robert 'Lot' Muscheck 14 0.05
Total votes 27,239 100

2011 General Election[edit]

2011 General Election [9]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ralph Becker 12,916 74.91
Republican J. Allen Kimball 4,150 24.02
Other Write-Ins 2,121 1.24
Total votes 19,187 100


His father, Ralph Elihu Becker, was U.S. Ambassador to Honduras during the Ford administration.


  1. ^ Rosemary Winters (July 2, 2009). "Becker picks new site for police HQ -- across street from Library Square". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2013-12-24.
  2. ^ "Non-discrimination ordinances become law in Salt Lake City". KSL-TV. April 2, 2010.
  3. ^ Matthew Piper (2013-12-20). "Salt Lake County offices see a crush of same-sex marriages". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2013-12-24.
  4. ^ Romero, McKenzie (Feb 13, 2014). "Becker joins mayors signing Freedom to Marry petition". Deseret News. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Freedom To Marry Website".
  6. ^ "NCL Officers". Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  7. ^ "OFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS 2007 GENERAL ELECTION SALT LAKE COUNTY, UTAH". slco.org. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  8. ^ "UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS 2007 PRIMARY ELECTION SALT LAKE COUNTY, UTAH". slco.org. Retrieved 12 February 2014.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Rocky Anderson
Mayor of Salt Lake City
Succeeded by
Jackie Biskupski