My name is Derek Kitchen and I am running to be the next State Senator representing Utah's Second District.
I live with my partner Moudi, and our husky, Kaya, in an apartment in the Granary District. Salt Lake is my home. I grew up here, attended the University of Utah, and have been a champion for progressive causes in our state. In 2014, my partner and I sued the State of Utah for marriage equality. Kitchen v. Herbert is the case which legalized marriage in Utah and 5 other western states, establishing a groundbreaking case-law that led to nationwide marriage equality in 2015.
In 2012, Moudi and I started a small food business at the Farmers Market called Laziz Foods. We sell middle eastern goods, like hummus, at grocery stores and cafe's around the city. In November of 2016, we opened our first restaurant - Laziz Kitchen - in the blossoming Central Ninth neighborhood. We have a partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to hire refugees and New Americans. Of our mostly-female staff, we have hired numerous refugees from Iraq & Syria. It's a place of comfort and good food, but it's also a place of refuge. I consider Laziz Kitchen to be a community living room.
As a Councilmember on the Salt Lake City Council (elected 2015), I have learned firsthand the important role the state legislature has in the big decisions that faces Salt Lake City. Issues such as addressing homelessness & crime in our downtown, to the long-range economic development effort in the Northwest Quadrant, it’s clear that Salt Lake City needs to have strong champion in the legislature. I’m running to be that champion.