Maggie Trevor is back.
Two years after losing to Republican Tom Morrison by 43 votes ( out of almost 45,000 ballots cast ), Trevor who identifies as lesbian, faces Ryan Huffman in the March 17 Democratic primary for the state rep seat in the 54th Districtwith the winner facing Morrison in the general election in November.
Trevor was born and raised in Rolling Meadows, where her parents were among the city's original residents.
Windy City Times: Since you lost your last general election race by 43 votes, how are you feeling about this primary raceand what did you learn from the last election?
Maggie Trevor: Well, you always campaign like you're 43 votes behind. I do have a primary competitor [Ryan Huffman], and one of the frustrations I had about 2018 is that nobody ran in 2016 [with Morrison running unopposed]and I think a lot of people wrote this district, a Republican stronghold, off.
WCT: Could you talk a little bit about the 54th District?
MT: The 54th District is in the northwest suburbs. It's primarily Palatine Township, with a little bit of Elk Grove Township. Cities in it are Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates and a little bit of Barrington. It has been a traditionally Republican district for decades, but it's rapidly changing district; it's a diverse district.
The housing in this area was built in the 1950s so it's been turning over at an accelerated rate. It's ethnically diverse, and it's been trending Democratic. For the past four years or so, it's been in the national spotlight because the high school district is 211and it's been embroiled in a controversy over its transgender access policy for student's locker rooms. [Editor's note: Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 recently settled a lawsuit brought by transgender former student Nova Maday, who alleged discrimination.]
There was a small group called Parents for Privacy that made some [anti-LGBT] noise; Tom Morrison is closely aligned with this group, and he introduced an [anti-]transgender bathroom bill into the state legislature. He also introduced a bill that would basically criminalize medically appropriate care for transgender students. So nearly losing to me didn't teach him anything. For me, that was the straw that broke the camel's backand that's why I decided to enter the race. This is where I grew up, and my mother was a civil-rights activist in this area for decades.
This area still has its problems, but it's far more welcome and diverse than it was when I was a kid. Seeing someone trying to turn the clock back in my homeI can't abide by it, so I'm not going to stop until I see him out of office.
WCT: On your website, you mention LGBTQ issues as well as other topics like gun safety. I'm curious why the latter is important to you.
MT: For a number of reasons… I'm not opposed to gun ownership, in general. My father was a gun owner, and he was a very responsible person. I understand the need for gunsfor protection. But there's no reason to have the kind of weaponry we've seen in these mass shootingsguns that fire large amounts of rounds quickly.
I also think we need to have strong background checks. We need to keep guns away from those who may be prone to domestic violence or people who are seriously mentally ill.
There's a personal aspect to this for me as well. I taught at the University of Iowa for six years, and there was a mass shooting there in 1991. Having taught in that atmosphere after that shooting, there were a couple times I had to have a police presence in my classroom for a couple lecturesso I know we need to make sure that we stop this craziness. We need sensible policies in place.
WCT: Did you see the report from the teachers' union about active-shooter drills in schools [that said such drills are traumatizing for students]?
MT: I did. It said that the drills do more harm than goodand, to some extent, I have to agree with that. I can tell you that, with an incident I had in my classroom, one of the pressing concerns I had as well as the Iowa City police and university security was to not panic the students. What makes a good classroom environment is one that allows students to concentrate on what they're trying to learn; drills take away from that. We need to make students feel safe.
Regarding lockdown drills as well, that's something I feel teachers need to be trained in. They can [instill] fear as well. I think it's something we need to study.
WCT: What do you feel is the most important issue for the LGBTQ community?
MT: I think it's employment discrimination. That, to me, is the most important issue. I think the progress the LGBTQ community has made in the past couple decades is astoundingbut not everyone can take advantage of some of the rights they have for fear of losing their jobs. We have strong protections [in Illinois], but that's something people in many other states don't have.I won't push the clock back, unlike [Morrison].
There are things we need to look at in Illinois [regarding] the LGBTQ community, though. We need to look at social services, particularly services for homeless youth. However, from a national perspective, I think employment discrimination is the biggest issue.
WCT: With the primary race, what do you feel is your biggest advantage as well as your biggest disadvantage?
MT: I think my biggest advantage is that I have a whole lot of experience in issues that are important to Illinois. [Huffman and I] are fairly close on a lot of issues, but I have a lot of professional experience. I have six years' experience working at a public university, which is critical for understanding issues related to higher education and school funding. I also have about 20 years of experience in the business world, most of it in healthcare; I understand the healthcare marketplace. Having affordable, accessible healthcare in Illinois is really important.
My biggest disadvantage is [my opponent's] youth. It's tough to get out of bed every day, knock on doors and convince people I have the energy to do this. He's young and has a bright future; I have a bright future, toobut sometimes it's a little hard to convince people of that.
Trevor's website is MaggieTrevor4il54.net .