Illinois Governor-elect Bruce Rauner on Nov. 6 announced several additional members of his transition committee, including openly gay former city official Ron Huberman and anti-gay minister Rev. James Meeks. Former U.S. Rep. Glenn Poshard, a conservative Democrat who in the late 1990's was given a "zero" rating by Human Rights Campaign, is another member of the team.
Huberman, now a private equity manager, served in several different capacities for the City of Chicago, heading up, at various times, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Transit Authority and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. He publicly came out in a Chicago Sun-Times article in 2009.
Mark Cozzi, president of Lincoln Park Capital Group, a private equity firm, told Windy City Times that he would also be joining the committee along with Ryan Ruskin, who heads up the Ruskin Group, a sustainable packaging firm. Cozzi and Ruskin are openly gay as well.
Meeks, a former state legislator, supported Rauner because Democrats take the Black vote for granted, then drag their feet to bring about change, according to a September Chicago Sun-Times report.
"We have had a Democratic-controlled senate and a Democratic-controlled house and a Democratic governor for 12 years and not one thing has changed for [Black] people because the Democratic Party does not have to put us as a priority," he said.
Meeks was a fervent opponent of marriage equality as Illinois grappled with that issue, reportedly sponsoring numerous robocalls and mailings to rally opposition among South Side voters to the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act.
Poshard, a former president of Southern Illinois University and former U.S. Congressman, ran for Illinois governor in 1998 and lost to then-Secretary of State George Ryan. At the time, he opposed anti-discrimination laws that banned bias in matters such as public accommodation, housing and credit.
Other committee members include former Gov. Jim Edgar; Bill Daley, a former Obama administration official and brother to Richard M. Daley; Manny Sanchez, who conducted Latino outreach for President Obama's 2012 re-election; Douglas Oberhelman, CEO and chairman, Caterpillar, Inc.; state Rep. Jil Tracy, who was running mate to gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard; University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise; Jim Alexander, president, Illinois State Police Command Officer's Association; U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock; Arabel Alva Rosales, president and CEO, AAR & Assocs.; Ron Gidwitz of GCG Partners, who was co-chair of Rauner's campaign; John Gates, chairman and CEO, PortaeCo, and a former Regional Transit Authority chairman; Pastor Corey Brooks, founder, New Beginnings Church of Chicago; and Rob Funderburg, chairman of Rockford-based Alpine Bank. Lieutenant Governor-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti will head up the team.
"I am committed to assembling a diverse and talented team to drive results for our state and bring back Illinois," Rauner said in a statement. "Today, I am pleased to announce key members of the transition committee who I have selected to work alongside Evelyn Sanguinetti and our senior transition staff as we prepare to take office. It is an honor to have such a talented group of individuals working with me to get our state working for the people again."