Chris Wharton, progressive activist and LGBTQ attorney, announced his candidacy for Salt Lake City Council District 3 on Thursday, after sitting Salt Lake City Councilman Stan Penfold announced he wouldn’t seek re-election this year.
Chris enters the race with the endorsement of Salt Lake County Council member Arlyn Bradshaw, whose district overlaps many of the same areas.
“Chris is the perfect successor for Stan Penfold,” says Bradshaw. “He will build on Stan’s legacy and represent this district with distinction.”
Wharton announced his top issues for the district are:
- Preservation of the unique character of the Avenues, Marmalade, and Capitol Hill neighborhoods.
- Neighborhood safety, including the need for more community policing to prevent property crime.
- Sustainable use of natural resources and protecting environmental quality.
Wharton first entered politics when former Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker appointed him while he was a law school student, to the Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission. Becker re-appointed him to a second term, when he served as chair of the commission. Salt Lake City’s non-discrimination ordinance, among the first in the nation, was passed during Wharton’s tenure on the Human Rights Commission.
Wharton also served as the vice-chair of the Utah Pride Center and helped lead a nationwide coalition of LGBTQ organizations to file an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court calling for equal treatment under the law for LGBTQ families. He has also served on Equality Utah’s Legal Panel.
Wharton is a member of the Utah Bar Commission and last year served as president of the Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar. He founded a downtown law firm that has obtained precedent-setting results for its LGBTQ clients.
He also represented several members of the Capitol 13, including Equality Utah executive director Troy Williams.
Wharton is a fourth generation resident of Utah’s capitol city and has deep roots in the greater Avenues neighborhood. He lives in the lower Avenues with his husband.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Westminster College before receiving his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.