SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An openly gay man will be sworn in Monday as a Salt Lake City councilman.
Stan Penfold, who was elected to represent the liberal Avenues and Capitol Hill areas, is thought to be the council’s first openly gay member.
Penfold said the council has done a “remarkable job” on social issues and he doesn’t intend to become a lightning rod for gay rights.
Among other actions, the council has passed ordinances banning discrimination against gays in housing and employment. Penfold said he will focus on grass-roots issues such as affordable housing and improving neighborhoods’ quality of life.
“I want Salt Lake city government to see a city of neighborhoods,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “People function well when they are recognized.”
The 52-year-old Penfold grew up Mormon in Humboldt County, Calif., and ran nurseries in Sandy and West Jordan after moving to Utah nearly 30 years ago. His parents hail from Idaho and met at Brigham Young University in Provo.
He was executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation over the last decade, and served on the city’s zoning rewrite committee and a neighborhood steering committee.
As a member of the Greater Avenues Community Council and Salt Lake Association of Community Councils, he embraced historic preservation, walkable neighborhoods and monster-home limits.
Penfold also took a job with a community design nonprofit, pushing low-income housing and alternatives to suburban sprawl, including transit.
“The city will be very surprised when they realize how much he understands the issues,” said longtime friend Harriet Mazer.
Julie Brizzee, outgoing board president at Penfold’s AIDS Foundation, agreed.
“He’ll be conciliatory in terms of trying to bring sides together,” she said. “He always sees a good medium road to take. But I don’t think he’s wishy-washy.”
Penfold, a Democrat, replaces Eric Jergensen in District 3.