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ELECTIONS 2019, LGBT Chicagoans discuss mayoral candidates
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2019-03-27

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Windy City Times recently asked a cross-section of LGBT voters who they plan on voting for, and why. Here is what some of them had to say:

—Michael Bauer, activist and Lightfoot campaign chair: "Lori is incredibly smart, deeply serious and thoughtful. She has an amazing ability to absorb information, ask the pertinent questions, then and develop her strategy to deal with complex problems. She is dedicated to fairness by giving all the stakeholders an opportunity to make their case. She is determined to maintain a positive environment for the Chicago's business community while creating much greater economic opportunities and jobs in neighborhoods that have long been neglected. Most of all, she represents the change that I believe Chicagoans sorely want. I hope that everyone reading this joins me in voting for Lori Lightfoot."

—Stephanie Skora, director of policy and operations at Brave Space Alliance and co-founder of Trans Liberation Collective: "I am voting for Toni Preckwinkle, because of her commitment to prison and police reform, and her commitment to rent control. I cannot vote for Lori Lightfoot because she is endorsed by Republicans, was cruel to the families of police-brutality victims and wants to turn closed schools into mini-cop academies."

—Jerry Pritikin, historian and activist: "Up until last week I was leaning toward Toni. She has earned her stripes in so many ways in Chicago, and not on any family name.

"I did not know much about Lightfoot. But sometimes you are known by the company you keep. [Recently,] several aldermen, including mine, and known Democrats came out for Preckwinkle who I happen not to like; and 43rd Ward Ald. Michele Smith, who I do like, came out for Lightfoot. I will vote for Lightfoot based mostly on that."

—Isaac King, Urban Broadcast Media: "I will be voting for Lori Lightfoot in the mayoral election. I attended and facilitated forums during the primary and she really stood out to me. She seemed prepared to answer on ALL issues and not just the those from her platform. And my gut feeling is that she will be the ONLY candidate who will bring significant change to Black and Brown communities in Chicago."

—Michael O'Connor, activist: "I support Lori Lightfoot because her campaign platform promises public-policy changes that seek transformation of Chicago's public schools; shines a desperately needed light on corruption in City Hall; advocates real measurable changes within the Chicago Police Department; and finds realistic solutions to the ballooning city workers' pension debt that both mayors Daley and Emanuel delayed payments on by legislatively robbing City of Chicago pensioners."

—Jan Christian Bernabe, Equality Illinois' statewide community advisory group member: "First off, I think it's a great sign that we have two women of color in Chicago's mayoral runoff. I hope this fact signals a more diverse selection of municipal and statewide candidates in the future.

For this election, I will be voting for Lori Lightfoot. Her temperament coupled with ability to galvanize the support of many communities of color and other marginalized communities in Chicago is a shift in Chicago mayoral politics. More than that, Lori has proven to be an empathetic candidate, with a vision for Chicago that embraces all who live here. Lori has the best interest for Chicagoans, and I believe she can execute her platform with enthusiastic support from municipal and union laborers to businesses and nonprofits, from tech workers and teachers to LGBTQ individuals and immigrants."

—Justin DeJong, vice president of communications for the American Medical Association: "This is a remarkably exciting time for Chicago's LGBT community because of the barriers we're breaking in the mayoral race. We hadn't even had an openly LGBTQ candidate run citywide prior to Lori Lightfoot, and the thought of someone from our community winning the mayor's office felt like a distant illusion. In my role on the Victory Fund campaign board, I was proud when we endorsed her campaign and showed she was a credible and viable candidate for office. Lori's [potential] victory shows that her message of change, inclusion and cleaning up the Chicago machine resonated and built over the course of her campaign."

—Ebonie Davis, community advisory member: "As a woman of color who identifies as a lesbian, it would seem my mayoral choice is simple—but the reality is that race and sexual orientation are not factors in my decision; I want the best person for the job.

"When I speak with the elderly homeowners on my block who struggle to survive, I think to myself, 'We need the best!' When I drive my daughter—who has autism—to a private school in Lincoln Park every day because CPS wasn't equipped to handle her needs, I think to myself 'We need the best!" When I look at the bullet hole in my guest bedroom wall and remember how the bullet narrowly missed my niece's head, I think to myself, 'We need the best1'

"Lori is committed to promoting peace and prosperity for the citizens of Chicago and, being one of those citizens, Lori Lightfoot is the best person for the job."


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