Dabakis not running for re-election

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, announced on Tuesday he would not be running for re-election in 2018.

Dabakis, who represents a heavily Democratic area in The Avenues in Salt Lake City, said it was simply time for him to move on.

“I believe in a citizen legislature,” said Dabakis on Tuesday. “I just don’t buy this 30-years up here.”

Dabakis has served in the legislature for six years, taking over for Ben McAdams who stepped down from the seat when he was elected Salt Lake County Mayor in 2012. Dabakis is currently the only openly gay member of the Utah Legislature.

“I believe there’s a time you ought to get the hell out of the way and let other people be part of this,” he said.

Dabakis is one of the most outspoken Democrats on the Hill, often clashing with his Republican counterparts and even other members of his caucus. He was ousted from his caucus leadership position following the 2016 election reportedly because of differences between him and the rest of the Democratic caucus.

Dabakis was elected chair of the Utah Democratic Party in 2011, but stepped down from that post in 2014 due to undisclosed health reasons and to spend time with his husband. He says Tuesday’s decision was not prompted by any health concerns.

Even though he’s moving on from the legislature, Dabakis plans to remain involved in Utah politics through his “Utah Progressives” PAC.

“I’ll still be around,” he said. “But I feel I’ve left nothing on the table. There’s a time and a place to move on, and this is it.”