PAC Endorsements for April 4 Election

Equality Illinois PAC Endorses Pro-LGBTQ Equality Candidates
in April 4 Local Elections

School board and local government candidates are on the front lines
of protecting LGBTQ Illinoisans

CHICAGO (March 29, 2017)–Pro-equality office-holders are on the front lines of protecting the rights and improving opportunities of LGBTQ Illinoisans, which are the reasons why the Equality Illinois PAC (EI PAC) is endorsing candidates in significant school board and local government races for the April 4 election.

In two of the school board races, in Elgin-based District U-46 and Palatine-based District 211, the EI PAC-endorsed candidates are fighting opponents who are running on platforms to roll back the rights of transgender students.

“In our efforts to achieve justice and fairness for LGBTQ Illinoisans, we must engage in elections at local levels of government, especially school boards,” said Nicole Bashor, chair of the EI PAC. “School boards are critical to adopting policies that ensure our schools are truly welcoming places for transgender students. The opponents of LGBTQ students know this, and that’s why they’re fighting against trans-affirming policies and candidates at board meetings and at the ballot box. The candidates endorsed today share our values of fairness, inclusion, and the freedom to be who you are without burdens or discrimination.”

For the board of Elgin-based U-46, the EI PAC endorses Veronica Noland, Donna Smith, and Melissa Owens.

The EI PAC previously announced its endorsed candidates running for the Palatine-based Township High School District 211 board, Anna Klimkowicz, Robert LeFevre, and Edward Yung.

In Berwyn, the EI PAC is endorsing Deanna Durica and Julia McAleer-Forte for the Berwyn South School District 100 board and Brian Brock for the Berwyn Park District board.

The EI PAC has also endorsed Mark Tendam for Mayor of Evanston. Tendam, who is currently an alderman and is LGBTQ-identified, advanced from the primary to the runoff election.

Based in Elgin, U-46 is the second largest school district in the State of Illinois, serving nearly 40,000 students. Recently, after President Trump rescinded the federal education guidance, some members of the U-46 board attempted to strike the district’s policy that affirms transgender students. However, a majority of the U-46 board upheld the current policy.

There are five candidates running for three seats in Elgin: incumbents Veronica Noland, Donna Smith, and Cody Holt and challengers Melissa Owens and Enoch Essendrop. EI PAC-endorsed candidates Noland, Smith, and Owens support the current trans-affirming policy. According to news reports, Holt and Essendrop are opposed to policies that affirm transgender students. In fact, Essendrop recently referred to transgender students as “troubled” and an “illegitimate minority group.”

In Palatine-based Township High School District 211 board, EI PAC-endorsed candidates Anna Klimkowicz, Robert LeFevre, and Edward Yung are being challenged by a slate of candidates backed by Parents for Privacy, which seeks to repeal a district policy that affirms transgender students​. Parents for Privacy is allied with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based legal advocacy organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center recently called an anti-LGBTQ extremist organization.

In Berwyn, Deanna Durica is a current member of the BSSD 100 board. She supports the district’s existing policy affirming the rights of transgender students and visited other school boards to advocate for them to adopt affirming policies. For its policy, BSSD 100 was named Ally of the Year by the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance in 2015.

Julia McAleer-Forte and Brian Brock identify as LGBTQ. In fact, if Brock and McAleer-Forte win their races next Tuesday, Berwyn will be represented by six LGBTQ-identified elected officials. LGBTQ-identified city clerk candidate Marge Paul and aldermanic candidates Scott Lennon, Jose Ramirez, and Jeanine Reardon were endorsed by the EI PAC when they won their primary elections on February 28. They are unopposed on April 4.

In Evanston, mayoral candidate Mark Tendam’s leadership positions have allowed him to better advocate for marginalized groups and issues, including HIV/AIDS, spousal benefits for same-sex couples and an expansion of gender neutral restrooms,

“We know that representation is critical to both sharing our stories as LGBTQ people and to advancing initiatives that promote fairness and justice throughout our neighborhoods,” said Brian C. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Equality Illinois. “Yet, of the thousands of elected offices in Illinois, less than 50 are held by LGBTQ-identified individuals. These candidates share our core values of fairness, equality, and inclusion. As we support and elect more LGBTQ people to public office in Illinois, we will make greater strides in building a better Illinois.”

The EI PAC is the only statewide political entity dedicated to defending and securing the rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans through engagement in the electoral process. Endorsements are based on a candidate’s record in office and responses submitted on the EI PAC’s 2017 candidate survey. Read more about the EI PAC at


For Berwyn Park District Board: Brian Brock

For Berwyn South School District 100: Deanna Durica and Julia McAleer-Forte

For Elgin-based U-46 School District: Veronica Noland, Melissa Owens, and Donna Smith

For Palatine-based Township High School District 211: Anna Klimkowicz, Robert LeFevre, and Edward Yung

For Evanston Mayor: Mark Tendam