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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Election 2023: Johnson defeats Vallas and LGBTQ+ Council representation to increase
by Matt Simonette

This article shared 1836 times since Tue Apr 4, 2023
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Cook County Commissioner and educator Brandon Johnson narrowly defeated former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas on April 4 in a close race to become Chicago's 57th mayor, with Johnson capturing (as of publication) about 51.48 % of the vote in the runoff election. Vallas garnered about 48.52%. The city's LGBTQ+ community, meanwhile, will see a significant increase in the number of openly LGBTQ+ Chicago City Council members.

Johnson's victory was called by AP at about 9:30 p.m.

The contest between the progressive Johnson and the moderate Vallas, which was called by AP at around 9:30 p.m.) had become increasingly competitive since they edged out several other candidates in the Feb. 28 election; that night, incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot came in third, ensuring that she would not be returning to her post this May. Johnson had been endorsed by a number of prominent LGBTQ+ politicians and activists, including former Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, state Sen. Mike Simmons and state Rep. Kelly Cassidy. Outgoing Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward) was among Vallas' supporters.

Johnson told Windy City Times in March: "My focus is going to be in investments. [We need to] invest in stabilized housing, public transportation, the education system and LGBTQ+ services. I'm so focused on the intersectionality of all this because—as a public-school teacher and as a child brought up in a home where parents made sure people are seen and valued—the more we isolate and segment our approach to our work, the less likely we are to make sure it's inclusive and holistic."

In an April 4 statement, leaders from the LGBTQ+ advocacy Equality Illinois said, "Congratulations to Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson on his historic victory tonight to lead the City of Chicago. He built a bold, beautiful coalition that reflects the diversity of this great city, including LGBTQ+ people, and we all share values of equality, equity, inclusion, and justice. We look forward to working together with him and his team to advance justice for LGBTQ+ Chicagoans and to ensuring Chicago remains welcoming and affirming for all those who seek refuge and support."

Meanwhile, the three openly LGBTQ+ aldermanic candidates who had advanced into the runoffs each won their April 4 contests, meaning that, come May, there will be nine openly LGBTQ+ members of the council.

State Rep. Lamont Robinson, Jr.—hoping for a move from the state to the local government—decisively won against opponent Prentice C. Butler, capturing 66.52% of the vote while Butler captured 33.48%, meaning he will next be representing the city's 2nd Ward.

In the 43rd Ward, incumbent Ald. Timmy Knudsen will retain his post after debating his opponent, Brian Comer. Knudsen won with 51.72% of the vote, while Comer earned 48.28%. Knudsen was appointed to his post in late summer of last year after former Ald. Michele Smith stepped down from her post.

Andersonville business owner Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth won 51.89% of the vote in the 48th Ward. Her opponent, Joe Dunne, received 48.11%. Manaa-Hoppenworth will replace outgoing Ald. Harry Osterman.

Winners or uncontested incumbents in the Feb. 28 race included Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Maria Hadden (49th), as well as Alds.-elect Jessie Fuentes (26th) and Bennett Lawson (44th).

Each of the three aldermanic candidates on April 4 were endorsed by the LGBTQ+ Victory Funds, which offers supports for LGBTQ+ candidates. Annise Parker, president and CEO of the organization (and the former Mayor of Houston), said in a statement: "Tonight's wins make it clear that Chicago will remain a national leader for LGBTQ+ rights and that at the end of the day, Chicagoans saw through anti-LGBTQ dog whistles and chose exceptional LGBTQ+ leaders because of their qualifications, positive visions for the city and deeply rooted community support. We are confident that under their leadership, Chicago will continue on its path towards increased equity and opportunity for all residents."

This article shared 1836 times since Tue Apr 4, 2023
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