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  WINDY CITY TIMES

POLITICS Guide to the LGBTQ+ candidates in the state/local Nov. 8 elections
by Andrew Davis
2022-10-06

This article shared 2332 times since Thu Oct 6, 2022
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(NOTE: There is no official Windy City Times election guide for the Nov. 8 general elections.)

This year's primary elections—taking place Tuesday, Nov. 8, although people can vote now—will feature many openly LGBTQ+ candidates throughout Illinois. (However, one notable name will be missing as longtime state Rep. Greg Harris is retiring.) They include:

—Beverly Bell

Race: McLean County Board (6th District)

Website: m.facebook.com/Vote4Bell/

The skinny: Bell is running for re-election, with the board approving the Normal resident earlier this year to fill a short-term vacancy after interviewing her and Illinois State University doctoral student Derek Lough. Bell, who is retired, spent more than two decades working for the United States Department of Defense overseas and later spent 25 years with the Normal Police Department. She also previously served on the Bloomington Planning Commission.

—Kelly Cassidy

Race: Illinois state representative (14th District)

Website: CitizensForCassidy.com

The skinny: Cassidy has served her district since 2011 and is on the Housing, House Human Services and Restorative Justice committees, among others. She is unopposed in the general election, ensuring her re-election.

—Shell DeYoung Dunn

Race: DeKalb County Board (11th District)

Website: https://dekalbcountydemocrats.org/deyoung-dunn/

The skinny: Dunn grew up in South Holland, where her ancestor founded the town. She has stated that she wants to help the county adapt in various ways—from changing farming techniques to bringing trades back to schools to giving the disabled/differently abled full rights and access. She has been affiliated with various organizations, ranging from the FBI to the Woodridge Chamber of Commerce.

—Dennis A. Gauger

Race: Saline County Board

Website: https://www.facebook.com/salinecountydemocrats

The skinny: Gauger, who's retired, is from Valley View, Illinois. He previously ran for Galatia village trustee. The southern Illinois county's largest city and seat is Harrisburg.

—Val Laymon

Race: McLean County Board (7th District)

Website: https://votevallaymon.com/

The skinny: Laymon is a 20-year resident of McLean County, beginning with her time attending Illinois State University. (At ISU, she was involved in groups such as Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and PRIDE.) She is involved in the restaurant industry and is an active member of Bloomington's Hope Church's leadership team as well as a hospitality volunteer. Her platform revolves around the concepts of responsibility and sustainability.

—Kevin Morrison

Race: Cook County Board of Commissioners (15th District)

Website: https://www.kevinbmorrison.com/

The skinny: Morrison has already made history as an incumbent, being the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve on the board. Also, when he was elected in 2018, he was 28—and the youngest in history. He was also the first Democrat to represent the district, upsetting the Illinois Republican Party chair. Morrison is currently chair of Cook County's Technology and Innovation Committee as well as the Cook County Forest Preserve District Zoological Committee. He faces Republican Chuck Cerniglia in the general election.

—Jessica Phillips

Race: McHenry County Board (9th District)

Website: phillips4mchenrycty.wixsite.com/phillips4mchenrycty

The skinny: Phillips, a resident of Huntley, is running for re-election to the board. She made history being the youngest woman elected to the county and most notably, the first out LGBTQIA person ever to be elected to the board. During her time on the board, Phillips fought for LGBTQIA equality and the solution regarding ICE as well as environmental issues and concerns within McHenry County.

—Anthony Joel Quezada

Race: Cook County Board of Commissioners (8th District)

Website: https://anthonyforcookcounty.org/

The skinny: Quezada was born in Chicago and raised in the Logan Square area who is self-described "the proud son of working-class, immigrant parents." He has worked as the neighborhood services director for another LGBTQ+ politician: Chicago Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. In 2020, Quezada was elected to serve as the 35th Ward Cook County Democratic committeeperson. He defeated four others, including incumbent Luis Arroyo Jr., in the Democratic primary on June 28—and Quezada (who's unopposed in the general election) will be the first out Latino LGBTQ+ person on the board.

—Rob Reneau

Race: Peoria County Board (10th District)

Website: https://www.facebook.com/votereneau/

The skinny: Reneau was elected to the board in 2018 and serves on board committees such as County Operations, Public Safety and Justice, and Infrastructure, among others. Reneau, who works as a forensic scientist, has 15-year-old twin boys, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which has endorsed him.

—Lamont Robinson

Race: Illinois state representative (5th District)

Website: https://www.lamontjrobinson.com/

The skinny: Robinson—who runs two Chicago Allstate Insurance offices, in Bronzeville and Humboldt Park—made history as the first openly gay African-American person in the General Assembly. He is running unopposed in the general election.

—Mike Simmons

Race: Illinois state senate (7th District)

Website: https://www.senatormikesimmons.com/

The skinny: Simmons—a former Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree—is the first openly gay member of the Illinois Senate and the third openly gay, Black state senator in the country. He's unopposed in the primary and general elections in his first time on the ballot. (He was chosen to succeed now-former state Sen. Heather Steans on Feb. 6, 2021.)

—Eric Sorensen

Race: U.S. House (17th District)

Website: https://www.ericforillinois.com/

The skinny: Sorensen lives in Moline with his partner, Shawn, and two dogs. Sorensen, a longtime meteorologist endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, is vying for the seat being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, who announced her retirement in April 2021. He will face Republican Esther Joy King, who previously lost to Bustos 52% to 48% in 2020. If he wins, Sorensen will be the first out LGBTQ+ member in the U.S. Congress from Illinois.

—Samantha Steele

Race: Cook County Board of Review (2nd District)

Website: https://www.samanthasteele.org/

The skinny: Steele, an out bisexual resident of Evanston, has already expressed her board plans as she is unopposed in the general election: "I am looking forward to working with the current Board of Review Commissioners along with my fellow nominee Alderman George Cardenas to ensure a smooth transition. In addition, I commit to upholding the mandate of change voters embraced to bring sweeping reforms to our broken property tax system." In 2006, she was the first Democrat and youngest elected county assessor in Tippecanoe County, Indiana.

—Matt Titus

Race: Coles County Board (11th District)

Website: N/A

The skinny: Titus has worked as a campaign chairman, field organizer, school board member (in Charleston, Illinois) and substitute teacher. In 2021, Titus told the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier that he decided to first run for the board four years ago after leading a committee that worked to pass a referendum in 2016 to implement the school facilities sales tax in Coles County. Titus is running against Republican Robert Bennett in the Nov. 8 election. The Coles County seat is Charleston, which is also the home of Eastern Illinois University (where Titus attended).

—Maggie Trevor

Race: Cook County Board of Commissioners (9th District)

Website: https://maggietrevor4cook.com/

The skinny: Trevor, who identifies as lesbian, fell short when running for the Illinois General Assembly a couple years ago. Trevor was born and raised in Rolling Meadows, where her parents were among the city's original residents. If she defeats Republican Matt Podgorski in the general election, she will be the first out lesbian on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

—Brad Trowbridge

Race: Cook County Circuit Court (Gordon vacancy)

Website: https://www.bradforjudge2022.com/

The skinny: In terms of elections, this certainly isn't Trowbridge's first rodeo, having run in 2012, 2018 and 2020 (narrowly losing in the latter)—but he shows how important persistence can be, as he's unopposed in the Nov. 8 election after advancing from the 2022 primary election. The openly gay judicial candidate and progressive Democrat boasts a slew of endorsements, including U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky, Ald. Tom Tunney, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, IVI-IPO, state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz and the Chicago chapter of NOW.

—Anthony Vega

Race: Lake County clerk

Website: www.votevega.org/

The skinny: Vega may be a Grayslake resident (along with husband Jorge), but he was born on Chicago's Southwest Side and graduated from Curie Metropolitan High School's IB Program. He has worked for Sierra Club Illinois and Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Shakespeare in the Parks program. Currently, the Equality Illinois-endorsed Vega is chief of staff of the Lake County sheriff's office.

—Michael Weaver

Race: Cook County Circuit Court (Lynch vacancy)

Website: michaelweaverforjudge.com/

The skinny: Weaver, an Edgewater resident, has been found qualified by all local bar associations and boasts many endorsements, including outgoing Illinois House Speaker Greg Harris. He is a partner in the trial department at the full-service law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP as well as a volunteer for a variety of community organizations and initiatives. He in unopposed in the Nov. 8 general election.


This article shared 2332 times since Thu Oct 6, 2022
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