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Sara Feigenholtz sworn in as state senator at ceremony
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

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Call her state senator instead of state rep.

A packed house of dignitaries and other supporters gathered Jan. 21 at the Ann Sather on Belmont Avenue in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood for the swearing-in ceremony of now-state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz. Feigenholtz stepped down from her 12th state representative seat to take this post.

Cook County Circuit Court judicial candidate and notary Jill Rose Quinn administered the oath of office. Feigenholtz chose Quinn for this honor.

According to Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison ( 15th District ), Quinn may be the first out transgender person in Illinois state history to swear in an incoming elected official. However, Windy City Times was unable to obtain confirmation of this.

Prior to the ceremony, North Side Democratic committeemen met at Sheffield's Chicago to decide who would fill newly retired state Sen. John Cullerton's 6th District seat. There were no other candidates vying for this seat and every committeemen present voted in favor of Feigenholt's appointment.

"I feel like I am the guy who made all of this possible," said Cullerton. "Let's hurry up and get her sworn in before anybody changes their mind."

Cullerton also spoke about his history with Feigenholtz and called her "a fantastic [work] partner for all those years."

Attendees cheered and chanted "Sara" after Quinn finished administering the oath.

Feigenholtz praised Cullerton as "one of the greatest leaders we will ever know."

"We are all here at a time in our lives when our country and state are at a really critical juncture," said Feigenholtz. "We have a lot of work to do and have also done great things in this state in the last year including protecting a woman's right to choose no matter what the federal government does."

Feigenholtz gave a shout-out to state Rep. Kelly Cassidy ( 14th District ), who was unable to attend. She said the Illinois General Assembly's priorities have to include protecting the environment, funding education, affordable housing access, property tax reform and solving the pension problem. Feigenholtz spoke about her decades-long advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ people, those with health insurance issues, elder caregivers and other disenfranchised groups to enact new legislation that would improve their lives.

Newly elected state Senate President Don Harmon ( 39th District ) said, "I cannot wait to have you in the Senate. You are going to do so well there and the caucus is eager to have you. I will tell you after all that time in the House you are going to love the Senate."

Following the ceremony; Feigenholtz, Quinn and attorneys Giovanni Randozzo and Michael C. Dorf signed the official Senate appointment document and House resignation letter—the latter removing Feigenholtz from the March 17 Democratic primary ballot. Feigenholtz will be on the Nov. 3 general election ballot for her new state Senate seat.

Alds. Tom Tunney ( 44th Ward ), James Cappleman ( 46th ), Michelle Smith ( 43rd ) and Harry Osterman ( 48th ); state Rep. Ann Williams ( 11th District ); Rep. Mike Quigley ( 5th District ); Sidetrack's Art Johnston and José "Pepe" Pena; retired state Sen. Carol Ronen; and retired state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie were among the many dignitaries present.

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