MEET RALPH BECKER
Ralph Becker was sworn in as Mayor of Salt Lake City in January 2008 and was re-elected in 2011 by a wide margin.
Prior to becoming Mayor, he served in the Utah House of Representatives from 1996 to 2007. During that time he served seven years in leadership, including five years as House Democratic Leader.
As Mayor, Ralph has been a strong advocate for new and innovative transit opportunities within Salt Lake City. He has worked to expand trails and bikeways, further develop our light rail system, reintroduce street cars, and encourage less reliance on auto-oriented development.
His commitment to social justice led to expanded protections for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender residents through a Mutual Commitment Registry and a Non-Discrimination ordinance supported by the LDS Church. In December 2013, when gay marriage briefly became legal in Utah, Mayor Becker officiated nuptial ceremonies for 35 couples in a single day. And in October 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in Utah for the foreseeable future, Mayor Becker helped lead the enthusiastic celebration marking marriage equality for our residents.
As part of his broader Livability agenda, Mayor Becker brought Salt Lake City’s alcohol policy in line with other major tourist destinations and municipalities throughout the US; he actively expanded transparency and public input opportunities; improved access to city information and public decision making processes; and has advanced a range projects and policies improve public safety, access to and protection of natural areas and recreational opportunities, energy efficiency, accountability in use of taxpayer money. Under his leadership urban agricultural opportunities have grown substantially, and tirelessly promoted a strong education system, a healthy downtown and outlying neighborhoods, and diverse arts and cultural offerings.
During the recession, Mayor Becker overcame the largest budget gaps in Salt Lake City’s history without raising taxes, reducing core City services, or implementing significant layoffs.
In November 2014 he was sworn in as President of the National League of Cities a resource and advocacy organization that supports 49 municipal leagues and elected leaders in more than 19,000 cities.
Mayor Becker is a professional planner (FAICP) and lawyer. In 1985 he founded the consulting firm Bear West, specializing in community planning, environmental assessment, public lands, land use, consensus building, and public involvement. For more than 10 years he has served as a board member of the Policy Consensus Initiative and National Policy Consensus Center – a national nonprofit organization that promotes collaborative decision making in state and local governments.
He also serves on the Advisory Board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USMC) and as 3rd Vice President of USMC’s National Conference of Democratic Mayors. He is a Steering Committee member for the Mayors Innovation Project – a learning network of American mayors committed to shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and efficient democratic government; and he a member for Envision Utah – a statewide non-profit that encourages people to create and sustain beautiful, prosperous, and healthy communities.
Mr. Becker received a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973 and a J.D. (1977) and Master’s Degree in Geography and Planning (1982) from the University of Utah.
Away from work, Mayor Becker is an avid outdoor enthusiast. He is a backcountry skier, cyclist, backpacker and river runner – personifying the adventurous spirit that brings so many people to Salt Lake City. He has two sons and a granddaughter, and is married to Kate Kopischke, an international mediator and dialogue facilitator.