SALT LAKE CITY — Derek Kitchen, one of the plaintiffs in the case against Utah's Amendment 3, has kicked off his bid for a Salt Lake City Council seat.
The downtown resident and owner of Laziz Foods kicked off his bid for the District 4 seat Tuesday, saying it's "exhilarating" to officially begin the campaign and start talking to people about his hopes for the area.
Kitchen and his partner, Moudi Sbeity, along with two lesbian couples, were the plaintiffs in a 10th District court case against Utah's ban on same-sex marriage. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the state's appeal in the case, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage.
The victory, Kitchen said, inspired him to take an active role when it comes to everyday happenings in Salt Lake City.
"Democracy calls for citizen involvement," he said. "Feeling empowered by the success of our case and feeling like … taking a certain risk and seeing it make a positive change in our community has given me courage to use my voice in other ways."
While Kitchen says he doesn't have specific policy recommendations at this point, some of the focuses of his campaign will be addressing concerns he sees as a someone who lives and works in Salt Lake City. Those include issues surrounding the city's homeless population, combatting downtown drug trafficking, communicating with residents and supporting economic development, according to his campaign website.
"I think that, as a resident, I would have an interesting and needed voice on the City Council," Kitchen said. "I'm coming at it as someone with eyes on the bottom line, as a business owner, and somebody who cares about property values as a resident."
Kitchen has been endorsed by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.
The District 4 seat has been held since 2007 by Salt Lake City Council Chairman Luke Garrott, who will be leaving the council to challenge Mayor Ralph Becker in is bid for a third term.