[Article updated Feb. 13, 2015]
Jen Kramer, a candidate for alderman from the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, is being criticized for transphobic and racist Tweets on her personal Twitter account.
Kramer, who is running in the 43rd Ward, apologized for the comments and told Windy City Times on Feb. 13 that she took responsibility for them, calling the remarks "insensitive and ill-advised attempts at humor. That is not the person who I am."
The Civil Rights Agenda released a press release on the controversy Feb. 11: "Judging from the social media behavior of a candidate in the 43rd Ward Aldermanic Race, some might think that Jen Kramer is mean spirited and lacking good judgment."
TCRA pointed out that "numerous tweets from her personal Twitter account show comments offensive to all sorts of people. While offensive behavior is not illegal, it speaks to one's character. Running for public office is not a human right, it is a privilege. Rule number one of dealing with voters is respecting them."
Anthony Martinez of TCRA said, "When you say or do things in your private life that reflect on your character, it bleeds over into your public life. There are no rules about offensive behavior on the application for alderman but maybe there should be. These tweets are not illegal. However, they are inappropriate, they show poor judgment, and a lack of respect for other people that is offensive and just plain wrong."
One Tweet, under @Kramerica, was posted Sept. 11, 2014: "Gone are the days when a high pitched voice and moustache determine someone's sex. The worst part, I think it hit on me. Just my luck."
Another reads: "Getting gas in the center of Cabrini Green. What can I say, I'm a girl who likes to live on the edge." She also tweets about the "adventure" of taking a wrong turn in the "deep" South Side.
Kramer, on Feb. 13, pointed to work that she had done on events and organizations such as the Gay Games and Special Olympics, and noted that she had no intention of being hurtful, homophobic or transphobic. "Anyone who knows me knows that is outside my wheelhouseit is not who I am."
She attributed the comments gaining attention to opponents in the aldermanic contest, adding, "To say that this is a political dirty trick would be an understatement."
Kramer, who is a special events director at Navy Pier, is facing off against incumbent Ald. Michele Smith. Also in the running for the post are Caroline Vickrey, formerly an assistant Illinois attorney general, and business owner Jerry Quandt.