Mayor Ralph Becker is president of the National League of Cities (NLC), the nation's oldest and largest organization representing municipal government.
Becker was born in Washington, D.C. to Ralph Elihu Becker and Ann Watters Becker. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, his J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law in 1977, and his M.S. in Geography/Planning from the University of Utah in 1982. Becker is an attorney and planner (Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners), who has co-founded Bear West in 1985, a planning, natural resources consulting firm. He also is an Adjunct Professor at the College of Architecture and Planning, University of Utah.
Becker has had a career that has spanned serving in the National Park Service as a garbage man, firefighter, and ranger (law enforcement and EMT) (1971-76), Utah State Planning Coordinator under Governor Scott Matheson (1981-1985), and Salt Lake City Planning Commissioner (1988-1996). He is one of three people in Utah to be a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. His Utah legislative accomplishments include six years in Utah legislative leadership (four years as House Democratic Leader), leading the passage of the Quality Growth Act (1999), funding for trails, open space, and transit, Utah's first Energy Policy Act, and advocating social justice issues.
In November 2006, Becker announced his candidacy for the 2007 race for Salt Lake City Mayor and won on November 6, 2007. On January 7, 2008, Becker took the oath of office and began his four-year term as mayor. In 2011, Becker was reelected in a landslide, winning 75% of the vote. In November 2009, Becker signed into law non-discrimination ordinances that forbid landlords and employers to deny housing or jobs due to sexual orientation or gender identity. In December 2013, Becker officiated over some of the first same-sex marriages performed in the state of Utah. In February 2014, Becker signed the Freedom to Marry Petition, a non-partisan declaration that "all people should be able to share in the love and commitment of marriage." In 2013, Becker was appointed 2014-2015 president of the National League of Cities.