The responsibilities of elected LGBT officials to their constituents was a central talking point in an Oct. 14 speech in downtown Chicago by transgender Virginia state legislator Danica Roem.
Roem emphasized the effectiveness of constituent services in her platform before her 2017 election. In her Chicago speech, delivered at the Victory Fund's 2018 Chicago Champagne Brunch, she added that the most important "constituent service" was ultimately ensuring the fair-and-equal treatment of all of one's constituents.
"We are resilient," Roem said. "LGBT politicians are resilient because they are members of the LGBT community."
Roem praised and encouraged openly gay Cook County Board candidate Kevin Morrison, who had spoken earlier. Morrison earlier in the week withstood a blistering allegedly anti-LGBT attack ad from his opponent for the seat.
Roem said such attacks come about when politicians "know that they have lost the issues."
In Morrison's remarks, he spoke at length about his commitment to mental health services in Cook County, adding, "I want to make sure that the Cook County Jail is no longer the largest provider of mental health services in America."
Victory Fund, which is committed to training and otherwise giving support to openly LGBT candidates with strong chances of winning office in their races, endorsed 272 out of about 600 candidates across the country in the last year, according to organization President Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston. She admitted that such a wide turnout of candidates was "daunting" for the organization, adding, "That is probably 100 more candidates than what we are used to endorsing in any single year."
Parker also emphasized that resources need to be directed at good politicians into state government: "Bad legislation starts in statehouses."
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy presented U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky with Victory Fund's award named for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District ( MWRD ) Commissioner Debra Shore, long an active local member for the organization.
In her remarks, Schakowsky praised Shore, noting that, prior to Shore's arrival, MWRD posts were often regarded in the political community as positions for "hacks." She added, however, that Shore "has totally transformed that into a great environmental organization."
Schakowsky further spoke about her grandson, who is transgender: "It's so wonderful how not only our family, but the entire community, has embraced him. I am a thrilled grandmother."
Among those local politicians also attending the event were Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot; Alds. Tom Tunney and James Cappleman; and state Rep. Sam Yingling.