Out officials Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot were among those joining community members, as well as other elected officials, present as openly gay Lake View resident and activist Yoni Pizer officially kicked off his bid to represent the 12th District in the Illinois House.
More than 200 persons attended the Jan. 16 event, which filled the "glass bar" at Sidetrack nightclub in Boystown to capacity. Pizer wants the seat that will be vacated by longtime state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, who has been eyeing a seat in the state Senate. Feigenholtz's seat is being contested, however; openly LGBTQ canddiates Ryan Podges and Marty Malone, among others, are also vying to represent the 12th District in the House.
In her remarks, Lightfoot said that she was "all in" in her support of Pizer. She added, "We have to have representation that understands our lives' experiences. ... We owe it to ourselves to support [Pizer's] efforts."
In his remarks, Pizer spoke about myriad issues, among them transgender rights and the increasing number of anti-semitic hate crimes across the nation.
"There are a lot of people who want to turn back the clock," he said. "...We're not going to let that happen."
He added, "Representation matters."
Pizer also spoke of a number of changes he'd like to see implemented at the state government level, among them term limits and restrictions on how soon a politician can register as a lobbyist when they leave office.
"When I get to Springfield, we're going to have real ethics reform," he said.
Pizer was introduced by Cassidy, who is co-chairing his campaign. Cassidy said that Pizer "is exactly who we need in the General Assembly. ... I want someone as amazing as Yoni to sit in the chair next to mine, [and] in the office next to mine."