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Scholarship Honors Former IL State Rep. Larry McKeon

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( Peoria ) - The first Rep. Larry McKeon Scholarship will be a $1,000 scholarship given in 2010, to an individual who has been a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, or Queer ( GLBTQ ) , advocate and/or a GLBTQ Volunteer. The Acorn Equality Fund ( AEF ) will grant one individual the Rep. Larry McKeon Scholarship for the next 20 years or until the fund is depleted. The AEF hopes that friends and associates of Rep. Larry McKeon will give tax-deductible contributions in his honor to ensure the longevity and perhaps increase the amount of the scholarship in the future. This scholarship was established with the help of long-time friends of State Rep. Larry McKeon and the Acorn Equality Fund.

Former IL State Rep. Larry McKeon, D-Chicago, passed away in May of 2008. He left a rich legacy as a politician and an activist. Rep. McKeon, 63, was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1996, becoming Illinois' first openly gay state legislator. Rep. McKeon later announced that he was HIV+. He served as IL Representative of the Chicago's North Side's 13th District. It was announced on the IL House floor on May 14th of 2008 that Rep. McKeon had died from a sudden stroke. Thankfully, before he passed away, Rep Larry McKeon had begun discussions with Héctor Martínez, co-founder of the Acorn Equality Fund about creating a new scholarship in his name with a focus on GLBTQ advocates. His dream is now a reality.

Years served: 1996 — 2008 ( 12 years ) Committee assignments: Labor ( Chairperson ) ; Committee of the Whole; Aging; Housing & Urban Development ( Vice-Chairperson ) ; Executive; Agreed Labor Bills, Subcommittee ( Sub-Chairperson ) .

Biography: Full-time state legislator; born June 30, 1944, in Nampa, ID; B.A. and M.S., California State University at Los Angeles; Ph.D. coursework and exams, University of Chicago; 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army Infantry.

"I am dedicated to improving the quality of life for the people of Illinois. Specifically… to ensure equal protection for all citizens under the law; to make sure everyone has access to quality, affordable health care; and to ensure that our children receive the quality education that they deserve." -State Rep. Larry McKeon

Rep. McKeon's top legislative priorities included ensuring access to quality health care, strengthening public education, ensuring balanced community development, eliminating unnecessary government regulation, property tax relief, job creation, fighting discrimination and protecting individuals' rights. Rep. McKeon brought more than 41 years of experience in public service as a U.S. Army infantry officer, a law enforcement officer and manager, an educator at three universities, a social service manager and community activist. Prior to serving as a State Representative, McKeon was an executive director at the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and Mayor Richard Daley's liaison to the city's gay and lesbian community.

Rep. McKeon received a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Master's degree in Public Administration from California State University-Los Angeles and completed Ph.D. coursework and exams at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.


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