Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

ELECTIONS 2022 13th IL House District: Eileen Dordek speaks on the issues
by Carrie Maxwell
2022-06-07

This article shared 1138 times since Tue Jun 7, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Eileen Dordek is running in the 13th Illinois House District primary against four other Democratic candidates to replace the long-time out gay state Rep. Greg Harris, who is retiring at the end of this current term.

The new district boundaries encompass all of the Uptown, Arcadia Terrace, Bowmanville, Budlong Woods, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood neighborhoods and parts of the Andersonville, Buena Park and Lake View neighborhoods.

Windy City Times: Give the voters a little snapshot of yourself. How will your background outside of politics play into your legislative agenda?

Eileen Dordek: I am a mental-health provider and an active therapist. I am also a reproductive- and LGBTQ[-rights] advocate, and have been for many, many years. For more than 12 years, I served on the board of Personal PAC—a pro-choice political action committee working actively to elect pro-choice state and local officials and pass legislation which has expanded reproductive healthcare and abortion care access in Illinois at a time when it has been restricted across the country. I believe these two issues are completely intertwined because they both deal with bodily autonomy. If you are coming for one, you are coming for both so they both need to be protected.

I have worked directly with legislators on three pieces of legislation that has made Illinois an island in the middle of the Midwest for abortion care access.

As a legislator, I would come into this role with deep experience from my mental healthcare profession. I would be one of just a few people who are actual healthcare professionals in the legislature. As a social worker, I work directly with social service agencies and make referrals for people to get resources so as a legislator I would make sure they are funded, coordinating with state resources. The Governor has put a few things into place including specific coordinators working with six agencies. One of the jobs of the legislature is to make sure that the agencies implement the bills that are passed into law. That is something I would be very experienced with because of my profession.

WCT: Why did you decide to run for office? What makes you the best candidate for this race?

ED: I have really been engaged with my community. I have deep roots there working with a variety of different organizations from the 47th Ward Dems to Personal PAC to local schools and food pantries in my neighborhood.

When I saw that Greg was retiring I waited. I wanted to see who stepped up. There are these areas Greg has always taken care of so I never worried about things like advocating for Medicaid and insurance coverage, reproductive access and LGBTQ equality. When I saw who entered the race I did not see the areas I have focused on in my life that I always counted on Greg to cover so ultimately I decided I was the best person for this job.

My deep roots in this community make me the best candidate. I have lived in and around this district for 25 years and know it like the back of my hand. I started my career at Sarah's Circle in Uptown which is an agency that helps end homelessness for women so I got to know a lot of the social service agencies in that area.

I think my overall experience gives me a leg up on covering a lot of the issues that are really relevant to people right now. I have been knocking doors and people are devastated about the Supreme Court's draft opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade. With COVID we have had so many issues around healthcare and specifically mental healthcare emerge. Greg was directly involved in making sure that providers like myself could continue to use tele-health and get paid for it through people's insurance coverage. This is an example of something in my life that I would be able to address in the legislature.

I have worked directly with state legislators and people in government at all levels—city, county and state. I will be able to hit the ground running because I already know the players like the chair of the affordable housing community. The 13th district needs desperate help in this area and I want to work with him to make this a reality.

WCT: What LGBTQ, HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice legislation do you plan to work on that has not already been addressed via current state laws?

ED: Immediately, and hopefully before the new state legislature gets seated, we need to put in protections that some other states have like Connecticut has against lawsuits from states that want to criminalize abortion and trans care. Here again is where the intersections are happening. We know Republicans are coming for medical care providers and want to criminalize treating young trans people who are trying to get the affirming care they need. There was a bill that was passed the Illinois House but not taken up in the Illinois Senate.

There was a big financial commitment toward better mental healthcare during this past session. I have spoken with the National Alliance for Mental Illness and Thresholds and they are really excited about that funding but sometimes those bills get passed but do not get fully implemented. The money does not always go where it needs to go. We know when people have intersections in marginalized communities it makes life more challenging so there might be more support that is needed. We know LGBTQ youth are struggling at even higher rates than the general population including suicide rates, mental health challenges and more homelessness so making sure we shore up resources for this community is a tremendous priority. Helping them get through their youth to become functioning adults in our society is so important and funding things like the Broadway Youth Center and other LGBTQ youth services will help with this effort.

WCT: In what ways will you ensure that the Getting to Zero Illinois 2030 initiative comes to fruition should you be elected?

ED: I was thrilled that the bill passed to decriminalize HIV and I did my part to make that happen.

Implementation is the key and that means making sure that there is proper funding. We passed the PrEP and PEP bill to help people get access to the drugs they need to prevent HIV infection but more needs to be done so people know about this access.

WCT: Do you support HB2542 (Illinois Name Change Modernization Act)? Why or why not?

ED: Yes. The Illinois Senate must pass this bill otherwise it will have to be reintroduced in the Illinois House in the next legislative session. Right now that really keeps trans people from being able to get the healthcare and other access they need.

Being on the Equality Illinois board I get to talk to and be friends with some of the amazing experts in this field, the primary trans advocates in Illinois like Reyna Ortiz who is also a social worker like me. What I have come to understand, especially talking with Reyna, is that society sometimes criminalizes being a trans person. Because you want to live your authentic life it makes things like using your chosen name that is not on official documents criminal and we should be making this name change process very simple. We know that trans people are more likely to interact with the criminal justice system and have difficulty getting a job and hopefully we can find ways to change that over time. Right now we need to get away from all the things that criminalize being LGBTQ.

WCT: Looking at the state's COVID response over the past two-plus years, is there anything that should have been done differently by both the governor and state legislature? Where do you see the state legislature's role going forward regarding this ongoing pandemic?

ED: It would have been nice to have a mask mandate really, really early but I know that there was so much we did not know at the time about this disease. I do think the Governor and certainly Dr. Ngozi Ezike did a really good job in communicating to the public about COVID. The state legislature could have shifted to online meetings and votes a little sooner to get more done in 2020. I realize why you want your legislators in Springfield so they are accessible to the people coming there to advocate for their issues but this was a special circumstance.

In Illinois, we recognize that public health is important. States health departments across the country have been drained of their resources and staff. We need consistent funding to make sure that the local and state health departments have the funding they need. This is something we can do so people have the information to make the best decisions to guide their lives. The legislature has an oversight role with these government agencies. The current administration and leadership in the state House and Senate have good communication and that needs to continue.

WCT: Which endorsements do you want to specifically highlight?

ED: I am extremely proud to be endorsed by Gov. JB Pritzker, Sen. Dick Durbin, Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigley, The Sierra Club, AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood and Equality Illinois. I have the vast majority of endorsements.

WCT: What is your overall message to IL-13 voters?

ED: This is an overwhelming time on the federal level and it is easy to get distracted but there is so much we can do here in Illinois to protect our rights and make it a safer and healthier state for all Illinoisans and I am the best candidate to do that.

See eileendordek.org/ .

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


This article shared 1138 times since Tue Jun 7, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NATIONAL Okla. schools, Tenn. lawsuit, political items, Mich. library 2022-08-07
Video below - Oklahoma public schools have started requiring students from kindergarten to college to complete "biological sex affidavits" if they want to compete in school sports, in accordance with a state law that took effect earlier this year, ...


Gay News

WORLD Zelensky, French position, UK drag-queen shows, triathlons 2022-08-07
- Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed he will ask Ukraine's government to look into legalizing same-sex marriage after the war with Russia ends, PinkNews reported. Ukraine's constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Last ...


Gay News

Uganda government forces LGBTQ+ group to shut down 2022-08-07
- An LGBTQI+-rights group in Uganda said the country's government forced it to shut down, according to The Washington Blade. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), in a press release, said Uganda's National ...


Gay News

Pritzker visits UpRising Bakery and Cafe 2022-08-06
- On Aug. 5, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker met with Corrina Sac, owner of Lake in the Hills business UpRising Bakery and Café, as well as leaders from Equality Illinois and Woodstock Pride and Illinois state Rep. ...


Gay News

POLITICS Milwaukee gets RNC in '24; Chicago among DNC hopefuls 2022-08-06
- Milwaukee will host the 2024 Republican National Convention (RNC). According to Politico, RNC committee chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted, "I am excited to announce that the RNC has voted unanimously to select Milwaukee as the host city ...


Gay News

Indiana Gov. Holcomb signs bill banning most abortions 2022-08-06
- Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a bill that would ban most abortions—making it the first state to pass a restrictive law against the procedure since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this ...


Gay News

CDPH, community partners provide monkeypox update as Market Days nears 2022-08-05
- With the event known as Northalsted Market Days happening Aug. 6-7—and with tens of thousands of people expected to attend—the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and community partners held a press conference Aug. 4 about ...


Gay News

Sinema plans to sign on Senate Democrats' climate, health and tax bill 2022-08-05
- U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) announced Aug. 4 that she will "move forward" with Democrats' massive climate, prescription drug and spending bill, after fellow party members appeared to reach an agreement about her concerns with the ...


Gay News

Cook County Commissioner Morrison calls for hearing to address monkeypox outbreak 2022-08-04
-- From a press release - SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Aug, 4, 2022 —Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison (District 15) has introduced a resolution calling for a public hearing in the Cook County Health and Hospitals Committee that will convene Monday, Aug. 8, ...


Gay News

Bailey faces backlash after abortion/Holocaust comment 2022-08-03
- Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey is facing backlash after footage from 2017 showed him comparing abortion to the Holocaust, according to NBC Chicago. "The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn't even ...


Gay News

Voters preserve abortion rights in red state Kansas 2022-08-03
- In the first abortion-related election since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Kansas voters have rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have specified that the right to terminate a pregnancy is not protected, ...


Gay News

LGBTQ trailblazer Jim Obergefell wins primary in Ohio, advances to November election 2022-08-02
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed candidate Jim Obergefell advanced to the November election after running unopposed in the Democratic primary for Ohio state House District 89. He is the named plaintiff of the ...


Gay News

HRC commends White House Monkeypox (MPV) Coordinator appointments; calls for greater federal response 2022-08-02
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, commended the Biden Administration for appointing Robert Fenton and ...


Gay News

Pritzker issues monkeypox public-health emergency declaration 2022-08-02
-- From a press release - CHICAGO—Gov. JB Pritzker issued a proclamation declaring the monkeypox virus a public health emergency and declaring the state of Illinois a disaster area regarding the disease. The declaration, which applies to the entire state, will allow ...


Gay News

Vallas speaks at event of group known for anti-LGBTQ+ views [UPDATE] 2022-08-01
- Former Chicago Public Schools CEO and current mayoral candidate Paul Vallas spoke at a fundraiser for Awake Illinois—a group that has been criticized for its transphobic and homophobic rhetoric, The Chicago Reader reported. The group hosted ...


 



Copyright © 2022 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.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.