Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09



Debra Shore on climate change and her campaign
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

This article shared 4318 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Like many local LGBT politicians, Debra Shore is well known in the city's gay community. However, ask those who know Shore what her job entails as a commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago ( MWRD ) , and you're likely to get a blank stare.

It is not an office most people know about, although the job is arguably the difference for Chicagoans between drinking fresh water and sewage, and the difference between staying dry and coming home to floating furniture after it rains. Shore, along with eight other commissioners, holds the seemingly apolitical job of figuring out what to do with the water that comes from our drains and our thunderstorms.

It's a job that evolved out of her efforts as a volunteer environmentalist. Shore, who is active in the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, is up for re-election, at a time she says, when water management is becoming an increasingly urgent issue. Windy City Times caught up with Shore about why she wants another six-year term, why casting the right vote for the office matters, and what climate change means for Chicago.

NOTE: View downloadable election guide charts at the following link. This election chart was updated online on Tuesday March 13 with corrections and updates. .

Windy City Times: This is not an office most of us are familiar with. Why is it important for us to elect the right person for MWRD commissioner?

Debra Shore: This agency manages our water resources in terms of waste water and storm water, and so it has enormous influence I think on people's quality of life. Increasingly, we live in a world where the water is salty and dirty.

We have seen two years in the last four that have been the wettest on record; 2008 was the wettest and 2011 was the second wettest. People experienced flooding and basement backups throughout Cook County. This agency can't prevent all flooding because these new kinds of storms are overwhelming to the local infrastructure, but it has a vital role to play in working with people in municipalities throughout the county to try to tackle the storms we're seeing, climate change and try to enhance quality of life.

WCT: What are the immediate challenges in terms of climate change?

Debra Shore: In terms of storm water, I think we're seeing a new kind of storm, which is more intense and more localized and less predictable, so [ you have ] the huge storms that compound the experience last July; five inches fell in two hours at O'Hare. That's just a huge deluge, and it's a kind of natural event on the order of a tornado or a hurricane. You can prepare for those but you can't prevent them.

That's happening on a landscape that we continue to pave over and build upon, so that 42 percent of Cook County is now impervious surface, meaning it is parking lots or roads or buildings or all kinds of development that causes runoff. And it doesn't allow rain to infiltrate, and it removes the land's ability to absorb rain. So that's one of the things we can work on, is how do we return some of that capturability for rain.

WCT: Your environmental activism led you to office. Tell me about how you first got involved.

Debra Shore: Well, I started out doing this habitat restoration in the early 1990s because I wanted to learn more about nature near where I lived. I found out about these volunteers who go out on weekend mornings to the wonderful forest preserves that we have in Cook County that harbor the best remaining examples of our original Midwestern wilderness. Volunteers are seeking to restore health to these remnants by cutting out this invasive brush, by collecting seeds, by pulling weeds.

WCT: Have there been any moments where your environmentalist side was frustrated with the political official?

Debra Shore: When I came into office, I certainly supported the addition of a treatment step called "disinfection" at the waste water treatment plants that would kill more of the bacteria that aren't currently in the treated wastewater that's discharged into the waterways. However, I didn't have enough votes on our board to win support for doing that and that certainly frustrated me and my supporters in the conservation community. Happily, over the years, a number of commissioners joined the board who did also support the newer water quality standards and last June, we voted eight to one in support of disinfection.

WCT: What have been your high points thus far as commissioner?

Debra Shore: The vote to support disinfection is a high point. Our board selected and appointed a new executive director who began at the end of June. His name is David St. Pierre. This was the first time in 50 years that our board went outside the rank of district employees for this appointment. To me that is significant because it demonstrates a move towards professionalism, towards seeking the best ideas and fresh perspectives.

I'm also proud of having supported and initiated, immediately after I joined the board, providing domestic health benefits to domestic partners both of same-sex and opposite-sex employees at the district.

I was also pushing to open up our federal lobbying contracts to competition because the district had been renewing a contract with one firm for more than 25 years. They kept getting increases each year and had never allowed other firms to compete for that contract. Finally, last year, we had the votes to do that. The same firm got the contract but their fee was more than $200,000 less.

WCT: What do you want voters to know about you?

Debra Shore: I've been a volunteer doing habitat restoration in the Cook County Forest preserves for more than 20 years. I've been a hiker and camper and climber in the Rocky Mountains. I've climbed 42 of the 54 mountains in Colorado that are over 14,000 feet high. I have a 28-year-old son who is a graduate of architecture school, [ I have ] and a partner of 18 years. I live in Skokie.

Debra Shore's campaign website is .

This article shared 4318 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

VIEWS U.S. Senators: It's time to act against anti-LGBTQ discrimination
Georgia has had the eyes of the nation on it for some time now. It's just over five years since people across Georgia braced themselves as lawmakers sent sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation to the desk of then-Governor ...

Gay News

'Filmmaking on the South Side' on Aug. 21
On Aug. 21, 7-9:30 p.m., Chicago Humanities Festival and local partners from Sisters in Cinema, South Side Home Movie Project and the Chicago South Side Film Festival will host a conversation about the development of community-based ...

Gay News

Gay Calif. donor convicted in deaths of two Black men
On July 27, a federal jury convicted wealthy California political donor Ed Buck, 66, on charges he injected gay men with methamphetamine in exchange for sex, leading to two deaths and other overdoses, CBS News reported. ...

Gay News

Report: LGBTQ elected officials up by 17% in past year; 28,116 more would be equitable representation
--From a Victory Institute press release - Out for America 2021 report finds 986 out LGBTQ elected officials nationwide; Black LGBTQ elected officials increased by 75% in the past year; Mississippi is only state in the nation with zero known LGBTQ elected officials ...

Gay News

Lightfoot: Mask mandates may return to Chicago
People may not want to toss those face masks. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told The New York Times she will consider reinstating a mask mandate and other restrictions if the city starts to consistently record more ...

Gay News

Pelosi names Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced July 25 that she has appointed U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) to the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, bolstering the Republican presence on ...

Gay News

WORLD Marriage in Chile, Polish website, Toronto news, 'Reclaim Pride' march
On July 21, Chile's Senate approved an equal-marriage bill, reported. The regulations were presented during the second government of the socialist Michelle Bachelet (2014-2018) and last June 1, during ...

Gay News

NATIONAL California cases, trans woman killed, Pride staircase, sports law
Proponents of Proposition 8 have to file a brief on or before Aug. 16 to show they have standing to appeal a district court decision to release tapes of the landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial that ...

Gay News

Hungarian protesters defy prime minister with sizable march
In Hungary, approximately 30,000 people joined the annual Pride celebrations in the capital of Budapest on July 24, with attendees marching in colorful outfits in support of inclusion and freedom, according to However, this year ...

Gay News

Gina Ortiz Jones, Shawn Skelly confirmed by U.S. Senate; both make LGBTQ history
--From a press release - Washington, DC — The United States Senate today confirmed two historic LGBTQ presidential nominees by unanimous consent. Gina Ortiz Jones, confirmed for Under Secretary of the Air Force, will be the first out lesbian to serve ...

Gay News

U.S. House resolution apologizes to LGBTQ service members, civilian workers
A new resolution introduced in the U.S. House apologizes for the federal government's treatment of LGBTQ federal civilian workers and U.S. service members, who were once subject to expulsion from their positions because of their sexual ...

Gay News

Chicago City Council approves civilian oversight for police
On July 21, the Chicago City Council approved a controversial civilian oversight panel, giving the public more control over Chicago police following years of protests about law enforcement misconduct, The Chicago Tribune reported. The vote was ...

Gay News

Research: LGBTQ people of color meet more discrimination, Equality Act an urgent need
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Discrimination inflicts profoundly greater harm on LGBTQ people of color in a wide range of areas, according to recent analysis of scholarly research released by the National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for ...

Gay News

Quigley secures funding for Center on Halsted program and other projects
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations and Chair of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, announced that the Appropriations Committee has approved ...

Gay News

U.S. Sen. Warnock to headline Personal PAC's annual luncheon
--From a press release - U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) is slated to be a featured speaker at the Personal PAC 28th Annual Awards Luncheon on Wed., Oct. 20. The event will take place virtually and feature several pro-choice leaders. More ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.