New Salt Lake City Council Is The Youngest – And Gayest – Ever
Four members of the Salt Lake City Council were sworn in Tuesday, including two new faces. Incoming council members Chris Wharton and Amy Fowler replace retiring council members Stan Penfold and Lisa Adams.
Returning council members James Rogers and Erin Mendenhall were also sworn in for their second terms.
The new group is the city’s youngest council ever, with all seven members under the age of 45.
“I feel very good about this,” said Wharton. “I think we have a great team. I think it helps that we’re all very young and we have that fresh perspective. I think we’ll work well together,” he said.
Wharton and Fowler – both gay – join Councilman Derek Kitchen as representatives of Salt Lake City’s LGBT community, which means three of the seven elected officials on the council openly identify as LGBT. Mayor Jackie Biskupski is also gay.
The council’s priorities for the new year include continuing the push for affordable housing and environmental sustainability. Fowler said at the top of her list is continuing work for the city's homeless population.
“I’m very glad that the city has taken the steps that it has taken. I think that there’s a lot more work to do,” she said. “We need to be figuring out a way to get people the resources that they need and the help that they need.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the council chose Mendenhall to serve as its chair for 2018. Wharton was elected as vice chair.