Openly gay business owner Tom Elliott has announced that he plans to run for Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy's seatshould a vacancy arise.
On Facebook, he posted, "My State Senator [Heather Steans] announced her resignation and my state Representative [Cassidy] announced she is seeking an appointment to the state Senate. If that happens, there will be a vacancy in the 14th District.
"As many of you know, I have spent much of my career supporting Democratic candidates and causes, and now I'm seeking to take my public service journey to a new forum - the Illinois House of Representatives.
"It's a new day in Illinois with new leadership at all levels of government, and we have major challenges to address in this state. This is just an opportunity that I couldn't pass up."
On his website, Elliott4IL.com, Elliott said, "For years, I've worked behind the scenes to effect progressive change in our community and our state. … I've spent my career advancing Democratic values, working to support issues and elect candidates. As a new day dawns in Illinois, I am taking the next step in my public service journey."
He added, "Today, I am a small business owner, an advocate, and a mentor. My public relations firm gives me the opportunity to advocate for the issues I care about, in what some might say is a non-traditional way. Our clientele is at the intersection of culture and politics, giving us a unique space to bring people together around important issues and ideas.
"And as a small business owner, as an LGBTQ person, as a mentor and as an activist, I know firsthand how the challenges we face every day have become exponentially more difficult in just the past year."
Elliott's key issues include economic responsibility, the environment, support for Illinois families, support for the LGBTQ+ community, infrastructure and education.
Elliott is a founding partner of Acacia Consulting Group and has a background steeped in politics, including turns as a communications director for groups such as Illinois Senate Democrats and individuals such as Daniel Biss (a former state senator who plans to run for mayor of Evanston next year) and former Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar.
Black gay activist Mike Simmons has announced that he is vying for Steans' seat.