Organizations and elected officials condemned comments Republican Illinois state Rep. Amy Grant made during a fundraising call about her Democratic challenger, Ken Mejia-Beal.
According to a statement Equality Illinois released, Grant said of Mejia-Beal, "He's afraid of the reaction people might give him, not because he's Black, but because of the way he talks. He's all LGBTQ, he wants to work for the chronically ill…" The organization also said Grant made a pointed racist remark by saying "all we need is another person in the Black Caucus."
"Even in the age of Trump, Illinoisans expect their elected officials to act with integrity and in accordance with Illinois values of equality and inclusion. Amy Grant fails even that basic test," Equality Illinois said. "She is clearly unable to represent all of her constituents with equal care and respect. Her apology is insufficient for an elected official in 2020.
"Homophobia and bigotry must have no home in DuPage County or anywhere in Illinois. Grant must drop out of the election. If she does not, the voters of the Forty-Second District must reject her and send a message on Election Day that love trumps hate."
The Illinois House LGBTQ Caucusconsisting of Majority Leader Greg Harris as well as state Reps. Kelly Cassidy, Yoni Pizer, Lamont Robinson and Sam Yinglingalso criticized Grant.
"The LGBTQ Caucus believes this kind of hate speech has no place in Illinois, especially from an elected state representative," the group said. "The fact that these comments were made when Rep. Grant knew the call was being recorded demonstrates the emboldening and normalization of racism and homophobia, a deeply troubling trend that we have witnessed during the Trump era. To criticize and ridicule someone for who they are and who they love is despicable and unacceptable."
After word got out about Grant's comments, contributions to Mejia-Beal's campaign skyrocketed. Citizens for Gregory Harris contributed $57,800 while entrepreneur Fred Eychaner gave $5,800; also, the campaign received donations from Illinois SEIU ($2,500), the Illinois Federation of Teachers ($1,000) and SMART Local 265 ($5,000).
Windy City Times has reached out to Mejia-Beal and Grant.