Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

STATE HOUSE Toni Berrios on LGBT issues and her family
ELECTIONS '12: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Erica Demarest, Windy City Times
2012-03-14

This article shared 4546 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Maria Antonia "Toni" Berrios made history in 2003 as the first Puerto Rican woman to join the Illinois House of Representatives. Since then, Berrios, whose father is Democratic heavyweight Joseph Berrios, has presided over Illinois' 39th district, which spans parts of Logan Square and Belmont-Cragin.

On March 20, the five-term incumbent will face off against 24-year-old Will Guzzardi, an unlikely opponent who left his Huffington Post editorial position to "clean out the old and bring in [ the ] new."

Windy City Times caught up with Berrios to talk about consumer protections, legislative priorities and that famous family.

NOTE: View downloadable election guide charts at the following link. This election chart was updated online on Tuesday March 13 with corrections and updates. www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/WCT_2012_primarychartsforweb.pdf .

Windy City Times: You come from a political family. Did you always plan on working in politics?

Toni Berrios: I didn't think so, but I found out after I got into office that my first grade teacher told my mom, out of all of us kids, I was the one that would follow my dad's footsteps. It was interesting to hear. [ When I joined the state House ] , I was asked to run by other elected officials. They thought I'd be good for the position, and I figured I'd stand up to the challenge.

WCT: You chair the House Consumer Protection Committee. What are you working on?

Toni Berrios: Consumer protections are very important to me. One of the pieces of legislation I currently have requires clear language for contracts. So, if someone gets a new cell phone, we're asking for the contract to be in plain language. We want the everyday person who's getting a phone to understand the entire contract. I'm getting opposition from a lot of different companies because they want to keep those small clauses in there that people don't understand or just don't find.

We really want consumers to have more information in their hands that will help them when they're signing the contracts.

Another bill that we're working on is for property taxes. They're so high in the city of Chicago, and property values have gone down. It's unfair for anyone to have to pay these outrageous prices. There's legislation that we voted on that states: As the property value goes down, the property taxes can't go up in a 12-month period.

WCT: You've done a lot of work with Vida/SIDA [ the Humboldt Park HIV/AIDS organization that focused on Latino/a clients ] . Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Toni Berrios: I advocate for their funding, attend their events, and share their events on my community calendar—things like that. I want to make sure the information gets out there, just on LGBT issues and the other items they work on.

I was also very supportive of their new housing project. It's transitional housing for homeless LGBT youth in the Humboldt Park area. It's the first program of its kind on the Northwest Side in the Latino community where homeless youth who are LGBT actually have a safe place to sleep.

It's something I've partnered with them on, and I've been promoting. I've vowed to help them as much as they need me to—whatever's needed, [ whether it's ] fighting for funding, or just making sure that the children in the community know there's a place for them to feel safe at. [ Vida/SIDA ] did all the planning, but they kept me in the loop the entire time.

WCT: Do you identify as a straight ally?

Toni Berrios: I'm definitely an ally. I'm even endorsed by Equality Illinois. I voted for civil unions, and I talked to some of my colleagues who were undecided and asked them to vote in favor of the legislation too.

WCT: What were those conversations like?

Toni Berrios: They went pretty well. [ People ] definitely understood where I was coming from, and they understood the necessity of the legislation.

WCT: Why were they hesitant?

Toni Berrios: Just because it was an LGBT issue and it went against their religion. When I asked them: Please do this. It's the right thing to do for the community; it's the right thing to do for civil rights… Then they changed their minds.

WCT: Do you support full marriage equality?

Toni Berrios: Yes, I do.

WCT: Your opponent in this election, Will Guzzardi, wrote a Huffington Post piece where he suggested that because you come from an old-school political family you aren't the best choice for the House. What did you think of that?

Toni Berrios: My response has always been: I'm the state representative. I'm the one who has to come down to Springfield and vote on issues that are important to my community and fight for resources that are important to my [ constituents ] .

As for my background: My family is my family. You can't change who your family is. They're all there to support me, but other than that, I'm the one who's down here putting in the hours, putting in the days. And this is my full-time job. It's not like I have any supplemental income coming in. It's what I enjoy doing.

WCT: In January, the New York Times wrote an article detailing how your father worked as a lobbyist on video-poker legislation that you later voted for. Guzzardi has brought it up in his campaign. What's your response?

Toni Berrios: My dad is not a lobbyist any more, for starters. When he became assessor, he said he'd give up his lobbying contract, and that's what he's done. When he was down here, he'd never talk to me about legislation. There were always a team of lobbyists for different bills, and I was always assigned someone else so there was no conflict of interest.

I'm part of the community. Making sure I can bring back the resources that my community needs has been my number-one priority since I started as state representative. I've found funding for more parks and green space; we now have a brand new field house. I plan to continue to fight for the community.

To learn more about Toni Berrios, visit www.toniberrios.com .


This article shared 4546 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Bulls, Blackhawks lose; Lightfoot-Fire FC link 2022-12-01
- The Chicago Bulls (9-12) fell to the Phoenix Suns (15-6) 132-113 in Arizona on Nov. 30, dropping the Bulls to 12th in the Eastern Conference. Phoenix now leads the Western Conference. Devin Booker scored 51 for ...


Gay News

Landmark step toward equality: Senate passes bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act 2022-11-29
-- From press releases - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — today celebrated the bipartisan passage of the Respect ...


Gay News

Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth submits 2000+ petition signatures to run for seat vacated by Harry Osterman 2022-11-24
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Early this morning, Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, candidate for 48th ward, submitted 2166 petition signatures — over four times as many as the 473 minimum required — in order to get on the ballot for ...


Gay News

Transgender Day of Resilience: Town Hall panelists tackle allyship, discrimination and immigration 2022-11-23
- Brave Space Alliance (BSA), Life Is Work (LIW) and Chicago Therapy Collective (CTC) hosted three free events across the city that they named—TDOR Weekend: A New Era, Together— to celebrate ...


Gay News

Gay candidates Lopez, Lawson file papers for 2023 aldermanic race 2022-11-21
- Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), an openly gay City Council member who has been an ardent foe of Mayor Lightfoot, announced Nov. 21 that he was dropping his bid for Lightfoot's mayoral seat, and would instead ...


Gay News

Kris Mayes shatters lavender ceiling; first LGBTQ person elected Arizona Attorney General 2022-11-21
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Kris Mayes won the election for Arizona Attorney General. With this historic win, she is now the first out LGBTQ Attorney General in Arizona history. Mayor Annise Parker, ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois on the Club Q shooting 2022-11-20
-- From a press release - Statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, on the Club Q shooting: On a day already marked by sadness, the LGBTQ+ community woke up to the tragic news ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Respect for Marriage Act, lesbian judge, gay official resigns 2022-11-20
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said that debate on the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) is suspended and will continue on Nov. 28, when the Senate reconvenes after Thanksgiving, LGBTQ Nation reported. The RFMA ...


Gay News

WORLD Brazilian musician, top LGBTQ+ cruises, Elon Musk, anti-trans attack 2022-11-20
- Brazilian musician Pedro Sampaio revealed that he dates men and women, Out noted. Sampaio has 7 million monthly listeners on Spotify, more than 5 million followers on Instagram and several music videos with more than 50 ...


Gay News

Reports: Senate to vote on marriage equality law Nov. 16 2022-11-15
- The U.S. Senate will vote on a measure enshrining marriage equality into law Wednesday, according to reports. Supporters of the measure, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, which aims to protect against an eventual repeal ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Political results, communicable-disease law, Urvashi Vaid 2022-11-13
- Sharice Davids won the election for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District. In 2018, she made history when she became the first out LGBTQ+ person elected to Congress from Kansas and one of the first two Native American women ever ...


Gay News

REPORTS: Tunney will not run to be Chicago mayor 2022-11-11
- Outgoing Ald. Tom Tunney (44th ward) will not be among the challengers to incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the upcoming city election, according to multiple reports. Tunney's decision was first reported Nov. 10 in Chicago Tribune. ...


Gay News

Erick Russell shatters lavender ceiling; first Black LGBTQ person elected to statewide position in U.S. history 2022-11-09
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Erick Russell won the election for Connecticut state Treasurer. With this victory, he is now the first Black out LGBTQ person ever elected to statewide office in U.S. ...


Gay News

HISTORY MADE: Oregon's Tina Kotek one of first lesbian governors in U.S history 2022-11-09
-- From a press release - SALEM — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, hailed the victory of HRC-endorsed Tina Kotek in her bid to become the governo ...


Gay News

History made: More LGBTQ+ people elected to congress than ever before 2022-11-09
-- From an HRC press release - Washington, DC — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — hailed the victory of at least ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.