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  WINDY CITY TIMES

ELECTIONS 2020 Guide to the LGBTQs
2020-09-25

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This year's general elections will feature a record number of openly LGBT candidates throughout Illinois. They include:

—Karla Bailey-Smith

Race: Illinois state representative ( 88th District )

Website: Unite88.org .

The skinny: Bailey-Smith was born in Greencastle, Indiana. She earned an undergraduate degree at Illinois Wesleyan University in 1990 and a graduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993. Bailey-Smith's career experience includes working as a painter and scenic artist.

—Kelly Cassidy

Race: Illinois state representative ( 14th District )

Website: CitizensForCassidy.com .

The skinny: Cassidy, who recently wed activist Candice Gingrich, has served her district since 2011. She is unopposed in the general election.

—Kody Czerwonka

Race: Illinois state representative ( 110th District )

Website: KodyCzerwonka.com .

The skinny: Kody was born in Montrose, Illinois, and graduated from high school in 2011 as well as Eastern Illinois University in 2017. He's pitted against incumbent Republican state Rep. Chris Miller.

—Michelle Darbro

Race: Illinois state representative ( 20th District )

Website: DarbroForRep.com .

The skinny: A Norwood Park resident, Darbro is a career firefighter and paramedic who is a 2015 inductee to the University of Chicago Athletic Hall of Fame.

—Michael Forti

Race: Cook County Judicial Circuit Court ( 8th Subcircuit/Gubin vacancy )

Website: None

The skinny: Forti is a judge for the 8th Subcircuit of the Cook County Judicial Circuit Court in Illinois. However, his current term expires Dec. 7, necessitating a run. He faces no opponents in this race.

—Jackie Gunderson

Race: McLean County Board ( 9th District )

Website: GundersonFor9.com .

The skinny: Gunderson has gone from being an Illinois State University student to a full-time employee. Also, she is director of the Penguin Project of McLean County—a non-profit organization creating unrestricted access to the performing arts for children and young adults with developmental disabilities.

—Greg Harris

Race: Illinois state representative ( 13th District )

Website: GregHarris.org .

The skinny: Harris who was chief co-sponsor of SB10, the legislation that brought about marriage equality in Illinois has a district that includes several North Side neighborhoods. Harris ( who was first elected to the state House in 2006, and is the first openly gay person in Illinois to become a member of legislative leadership ) is unopposed.

—Val Laymon

Race: McLean County Board ( 7th District )

Website: VoteValLaymon.com .

The skinny: Laymon moved to the county two decades ago to attend Illinois State University. Her three-pronged platform embraces sustainability, accessibility and equity. A lover of animals, Val and wife Jean have spent the last two years fostering dozens of dogs for Pet Central Helps.

—Ken Mejia-Beal

Race: Illinois state representative ( 42nd District )

Website: KMBfor42.com .

The skinny: First-time political candidate in the DuPage County district, Meija-Beal's platform centers on three major issues he intends to change in his district: halting any revenue increases on alcohol, establishing simpler distribution of affordable insulin and HIV medication, and ending puppy mills in Illinois. He was recently in the news when his opponent, state Rep. Amy Grant, stated ( and then apologized for ) anti-gay and racist remarks.

—Jill Rose Quinn

Race: Cook County Court judge ( K. Sheehan vacancy )

Website: VoteJillRoseQuinn.com .

The skinny: Quinn, a transgender attorney, has private practice experience includes working at general legal practices in Chicago, Bloomington, Lombard, Glen Ellyn and Franklin Park. She is set to make history as the state's first trans judge, as she is running unopposed.

—Lamont Robinson

Race: Illinois state representative ( 5th District )

Website: VoteLamontRobinson.com .

The skinny: Robinson—who runs two Chicago Allstate Insurance offices, in Bronzeville and Humboldt Park—made history as the first openly gay African-American person in the General Assembly. He is running unopposed.

—Brian Sager

Race: Illinois state representative ( 63rd District )

Website: People4BrianSager.com .

The skinny: Sager is a retired college professor and administrator who has been the mayor of Woodstock since 2005. Among his top legislative priorities are economic and job growth as well political ethics and early childhood education. He faces Republican incumbent state Rep. Steven Reick.

—Levander "Van" Smith Jr.

Race: Cook County Circuit Court ( Larson vacancy )

Website: SmithJrForJudge.com .

The skinny: Smith, an Oak Park resident, is waging his first campaign for Cook County Circuit Court judge—but he already sits on the bench. In February 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Smith as a judge ( in the domestic-violence division ), with a term set to expire Dec. 7, 2020.

—Maggie Trevor

Race: Illinois state representative ( 54th District )

Website: MaggieTrevor4il54.net .

The skinny: Trevor, who identifies as lesbian, faces Ryan Huffman in the Democratic primary—with the winner facing Republican incumbent Tom Morrison in the general election in November. Trevor was born and raised in Rolling Meadows, where her parents were among the city's original residents.

—Sam Yingling

Race: Illinois state representative ( 62nd District )

Website: SamYingling.com .

The skinny: Grayslake resident Yingling ran unopposed in the primary for his fourth term. He is the first openly gay House member from outside metropolitan Chicago. Yingling proposed to longtime partner Lowell Jaffe at the party former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn threw to celebrate the passage of Illinois' marriage-equality bill in 2013. ( They married in 2015. )


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