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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Guide to the gays
Windy City Times Election Guide: Gays Running For Office
2012-03-07

This article shared 2429 times since Wed Mar 7, 2012
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The March 20 primary elections feature several openly gay and lesbian candidates for office. ( All of the candidates are in the Democratic party. )

View election chart at the following link. This chart was updated online on Friday March 9 with corrections and updates, most notably in the 8th subcircuit judicial race.

www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/WCT_2012_primarychartsforweb.pdf .

Paula Basta

Race: State House ( 14th District )

Web site: PaulaBasta.org

The skinny: This increasingly contentious race between Basta and incumbent state Rep. Kelly Cassidy took on intrigue because it's possibly the first political contest in the state pitting two out lesbians against each other. ( On Jan. 19, for example, Basta's campaign issued a press release accusing Cassidy of implying through a phone-survey question that Basta's campaign was in violation of federal law. ) Basta's website highlights her LGBT-related accomplishments and "deep understanding of the intricacies of aging and City services."

Kelly Cassidy

Race: State House ( 14th District )

Web site: CitizensForKellyCassidy.com

The skinny: Once a part of the Cook County state's attorney's office, Cassidy became a state representative in May 2011 after Harry Osterman stepped down to successfully run for alderman. Recently, she has protested library cutbacks, and helped introduce a marriage-equality bill and a gender-identity amendment.

Greg Harris

Race: Illinois State Representative ( 13th District )

Web site: GregHarris.org

The skinny: Harris, who is openly HIV-positive as well as being openly gay, has represented his district ( which includes Uptown, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, North Center and Bowmanville ) since being elected in 2006. Although his name has appeared most prominently in LGBT publications in connection with the issue of marriage equality ( introducing a civil-marriage bill ) , he is intimately involved with a host of other issues, such as the state budget, foreclosure mediation, children of incarcerated parents and insurance reform. He is currently running unopposed.

Deb Mell

Race: Illinois State Representative ( 40th District )

Web site: DebMell.org

The skinny: Deb Mell started her first term making history as the first open lesbian in the Illinois General Assembly—and then did something historic in being the only representative to vote against impeachment of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, her brother-in-law. A staunch advocate for marriage equality, Mell is running unopposed in the primary, although it looks like she'll face Republican Antoinette "Toni" Puccio-Johnson in the general election.

Mary Trew

Race: Cook County Circuit Court Judge

( Ninth Subcircuit, Epstein vacancy )

Web site: www.VoteTrew.com

The skinny: When she was the executive director of Domestic Violence Legal Clinic, she helped create one of the nation's first on-site civil court clinics for orders of protection in the Cook County Domestic Violence Courthouse. In November 2010, Trew was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the James R. Epstein 9th Subcircuit Vacancy.

John Ehrlich

Race: Cook County Circuit Court Judge

( Eighth Subcircuit, Cole vacancy )

Web site: EhrlichForJudge.com

The skinny: Another race pitting two out candidates is a judicial one involving John Ehrlich and Brad Trowbridge. As deputy corporation counsel in the City of Chicago's law department, Ehrlich oversees almost three dozen attorneys and a staff of 15. He's personally handled cases such as the Wrightwood porch collapse and the E2 nightclub tragedy.

Brad Trowbridge

Race: Cook County Circuit Court Judge

( Eighth Subcircuit, Cole vacancy )

Website: BradForJudge.com

The skinny: On his website, Trowbridge discusses his legal and counseling/social service experience, and has worked at agencies such as the Northwestern University Counseling Center and the AIDS Legal Council. He also authored the "Alternate Family Relations and Civil Unions in Illinois" chapter for Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Handbook.

Alex Arroyo

Race: State House ( 84th District )

Web site: Arroyo2012.com

The skinny: Arroyo was born and raised in Aurora. The former chair of the Aurora Democratic Party is an active union member in good standing with the Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America. Arroyo also sits on the board of directors of the Illinois Coalition of Community Services in Springfield.

Mike Forti

Race: Cook County Circuit Court Judge

( Simmons vacancy )

Web site: MichaelFortiForJudge.com

The skinny: Forti has been practicing law for more than three decades and has been with the City of Chicago's law department for 17 years. In an interview with Windy City Times, he said, "This is not an instance where people have to pick either someone that is highly qualified someone that is a member of the LGBT community. I think that people in the LGBT community want and deserve both, just like the rest of the population."

John Dalton

Race: 16th Circuit Court, Kane, "A" vacancy

Web site: JohnDaltonForJudge.com

The skinny: Dalton—who would be the first openly gay judge elected outside of Cook County if he prevails—has been an arbitration chairman for more than a decade and an attorney for more than two decades. Dalton plans to fund his campaign without accepting donations from attorneys—a rare position among Illinois judicial candidates. Also, Dalton is an active member of Elgin's First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ.

Deidre Baumann

Race: Cook County Circuit Court Judge ( Stewart vacancy )

Web site: DeidreBaumann4Judge.com

The skinny: Baumann is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, having served as president of the Constitutional Law Committee, the Cook County Bar Association, the Chicago Lesbian and Gay Bar Association and the legal fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. She is also an active member of her community, including serving as president of the Chicago/Cook County 4-H Foundation and as a board member of the Lane Tech Alumni Association.

Debra Shore

Race: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board

Web site: DebraShore.org

The skinny: Shore has been on the board since 2006. One of nine elected commissioners, she chairs the committees on stormwater management and state legislation and rules. Fun fact: Shore has climbed 42 of the 54 mountains in Colorado more than 14,000 feet high.

Andrea M. Schleifer

Race: Cook County Circuit Court Judge

( 12th Subcircuit, Rochford vacancy )

Web site: ElectJudgeSchleifer.org

The skinny: A resident of Des Plaines, Schleifer ( a member of the LGBT organization the Alliance of Illinois Judges ) has been serving as a Cook County judge at the Richard J. Daley Center for more than a year. She is currently hearing custody/visitation and child support matters, and is responsible for more than 6,400 cases.

There are also LGBTs running as presidential delegates, including for President Barack Obama. Those include Gail Morse, Ald. Tom Tunney, Debra Shore and Center on Halsted's Modesto "Tico" Valle.

Anti-gay former state rep. Penny Pullen is running as a Santorum delegate.


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