Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has appointed Chakena Perry to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) seat vacated by Debra Shore, who recently was named regional administrator of the U.S. EPA, according to the Buzz section of the Politico Illinois Playbook.
Perrythe wife of Pritzker's deputy political director, Christian Perryis a former chair of the Cook County Young Democrats, has worked on political campaigns, was a press secretary for Chicago Public Schools and works in the office of MWRD Commissioner Josina Morita.
"I am proud to appoint Chakena Perry to serve as MWRD Commissioner her commitment to equity, environmental justice, and fighting climate change will help lift up communities across Chicago and have positive impact across Cook County," said Pritzker in a press statement. "Since the passing of Commissioner Tim Bradford, the southland has lacked representation on the MWRD board and with Chakena's appointment we're bringing back their voice. I am delighted that the MWRD board will be able to count on Chakena's professional expertise and lived experience as a young, dynamic, Black woman as they work to serve the diverse communities of Cook County."
Perry was running to represent the 32nd District in the Illinois state House. She was challenging Rep. Cyril Nichols, who beat her for an appointment to that job last year after former Rep. Andre Thapedi stepped down. So Perry's move to MWRD helps House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch in the Democratic primary.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Connecticut College and is expecting to receive a Master of Arts in public policy from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
At least two LGBTQ+ people vied for the spot that Shore (also a member of the community) leftalthough they are both running their own independent campaigns for this year's elections.
Longtime LGBTQ+-rights activist Rick Garcia made a plea to Pritzker. Also, prominent local trans figure Precious Brady-Davis, the associate regional communications director for the grassroots environmental movement Sierra Club, recently announced her candidacy. Her first fundraiser in support of a bid to serve as the next elected MWRD commissioner will take place Saturday, Jan. 15, at The Dearborn. Brady-Davis told Windy City Times she had no comment about Perry's selection. However, Garcia emailed WCT, "Even though I did ask the governor for the appointment, I have been running for a seat on the MWRD. I have an excellent campaign team and I am very much looking forward to winning in the primary on June 28."
To read Windy City Times' recent interview with Shore, visit www.windycitytimes.com/lgbt/Debra-Shore-reflects-on-new-role-in-EPA-past-accomplishments/72008.html .