State Sen. William Delgado ( D-Chicago ), on Jan. 5, announced that he would not be seeking another term in Springfield, citing family reasons as the main reason for his decision.
"Spending close to 17 years in the Illinois General Assembly, I have had the honor of being the first Latino to serve in both Chambers," Delgado said in a statement. "I am privileged to have represented the constituents of the 2nd Legislative District on important issues that have positively impacted their lives.
"After careful deliberation, I have decided that it is time to come home to my wife Iris, and help my only remaining son Adam as he plans for his future. I will not be seeking re—election in the 2016 cycle, as I will formally withdraw my candidacy this morning.
"Although I retire from the Senate, I am not retiring from the political arena. We still have much work to do in the City of Chicago, as everyone's efforts are needed to save our public school system, and bring public safety to every community. I look forward to working with you as we build a stronger and safer Chicago for our working families."
Delgado has long been supportive of LGBT causes and issues. In March 2015, he was the solitary "nay" votein addition to state Sen. Heather Steans, who voted "present"when the Senate voted to ratify the nomination of Rev. James Meeks as the chair of the Illinois State Board of Education.
"It was my understanding that others were voting out of a sense of loyalty to a colleagueI voted my conscience," Delgado told Windy City Times shortly after the vote. He said he was motivated by several factors, among them Meeks' various homophobic remarks; Delgado's late son was bisexual.
"My son never expected that to influence my voting, but that is something I pay attention to," Delgado added.
In 2014, Delgado introduced a Senate bill banning anti-gay conversion therapy for minors. His particular bill never came to a vote, but such a ban was passed in Illinois the following year.
Activist Rick Garcia called Delgado's announcement "disheartening," adding, "Sen. Delgado has been one of the strongest and best allies for our community. Not only could we count on him to vote 'properly' for our community, he also spoke out for us forcefully. This is a big loss for the Senate, and I hope [Delgado] continues his public work."