Out politicans and other supporters of the LGBT community were in attendance at the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce's second annual State of Edgewater Breakfast June 6.
Among those present at the gathering at The Breakers at Edgewater Beach, 5333 N. Sheridan Rd., were state Reps. Greg Harris and Kelly Cassidy; state Sen. Heather Steans; U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky; Cook County Commisioner Bridget Gainer; and Alds. Harry Osterman and Pat O'Connor.
Harris, Cassidy and Steans spoke about recent successes in passing LGBT-related legislation in recent months, with Harris noting that Illinois will likely be the last state wherein marriage equality was prodded by legislative, not judicial, action. Cassidy also mentioned the anti-school bullying legislation that is currently awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature, noting that, after hearing heartbreaking stories from all over the state "we have real directions and guidance in place for this."
She also spoke highly of the camaraderie she shared with her legislative colleagues: "What an amazing team we have to work together in this districtwe all work so well together and share so many values."
But all of the legislators said they were frustrated with the directions the General Assembly had gone this past session. Steans lamented that partisanship had contributed to a forestalling of many hard decisions, particularly with respect to the state's finances.
"Most years we were able to set partisanship aside and get a lot of stuff done," she said. "I don't think we did that this year."
Harris added, "We're going to have to deal with the issue of revenue … or the work that we've done will be undone, and we will go back into a state of insolvency."
Schakowsky similarly spoke of an extremely moribund U.S. Congress, maintaining that the GOP's decision to derail any policy set forth or supported by President Obama has led to "the least productive session in congressional history. … If we could get together, we could be soaring forward. Everyone in the country is ready but Congress is not there."
Osterman had the more enviable task of discussing the progress the Edgewater neighborhood is making in attracting new businesses to the neighborhood, among them the About Face Theatre, for example. He said that, in years past, Edgewater had to struggle to bring in new businesses, but, "We're at a point right now where people are beating down the door."
Also speaking at the breakfast were Edgewater Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Katrina Balog and Board Chair Brian Koester.