SLC Mayor Wants Religious Diversity on City Council

SLC Mayor Wants Religious Diversity on City Council

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Carole Mikita ReportingSalt Lake's Mayor Rocky Anderson has found himself in the middle of another controversy. This times he says he wants more religious diversity on the city council.

All seven members of the city council are Latter-day Saints and the mayor believes that should change. A lot of people were taken aback, including the incumbent, who says he and the mayor have agreed on many issues, and a candidate who hasn't even announced she's running yet.

SLC Mayor Wants Religious Diversity on City Council

Jane Marquardt, Future Candidate, Salt Lake City Council District #3: "I hope that people won't view me as the anti-Mormon candidate. I'm certainly not anti-Mormon, although I'm not LDS."

Attorney Jane Marquardt has support from Mayor Rocky Anderson. He wants change, religious or otherwise, in the four up-coming city council races.

Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City Mayor: "I do think the city council needs to be more diversified. Religiously, six out of seven of them are active members of the LDS church. I don't think that's reflective of our community."

Eric Jergensen is the incumbent in Salt Lake's District #3. He says there are any number of issues he and the mayor see eye-to-eye on; on this they disagree.

Eric Jergensen, SL City Council Dist. #3: "One can't just say, well 45% of the city is LDS and 55% of the city is not LDS; and therefore the city council, we'll divide them up."

Jergensen says in three years there have been only two issues church leaders have weighed in on -- Main Street Plaza, the mayor ended up siding with the church on that one, and Nordstrom wanting a zoning chance to move to The Gateway, many who are not Latter-day Saints sided with church leaders, he says, on that.

Eric Jergensen: "If religion comes into this particular election cycle, and then religion is continued to be or allowed to continue to be a divisive issue in our community, it just can't be."

As for Jergensen and Marquardt, the candidates, they say they like and respect each other.

Jane Marquardt: "Nobody at all would be paying attention to city council district three in February had it not been for this controversy. So I welcome the chance to introduce myself to people but I hope that people will come to know me for who I am, not simply that I'm the non-LDS candidate."

Mayor Anderson says he realizes this issue of religious diversity both in the city council and state legislature is unpopular, but he's willing to take the flak to open discussion.

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