Equality Illinois PAC Celebrates pro-LGBTQ Victories in Local Elections
School board candidates turn back anti-equality challengers
CHICAGO (April 5, 2017)–The Equality Illinois PAC celebrates major pro-LGBTQ victories in Tuesday’s local and school board elections, including the election of pro-trans school board candidates in races contested by anti-equality opponents and the election of six LGBTQ-identified candidates in Berwyn.
In Palatine-based High School District 211, incumbents Anna Klimkowicz and Robert LeFevre and challenger Edward Yung prevailed in a field of six candidates. The EI PAC endorsed Klimkowicz, LeFevre, and Yung. In Elgin-based School District 46, three pro-LGBTQ candidate endorsed by the EI PAC cruised to victory.
“What Tuesday’s election results have shown us–in communities throughout Illinois–is that standing up for the LGBTQ community is not just the right thing to do, it is also good politics,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “Illinois voters want their leaders to support the LGBTQ community and are willing to reward those who do and reject those who won’t.”
The significant victory in District 211, which garnered national media attention, could not have happened without the determination and tenacity of engaged parents, neighbors, and the Trans United Fund. The Fund organized the first-ever trans-led independent expenditure committee in the United States. “We applaud the Fund as well as the parents and neighbors of District 211. Tuesday’s election is their victory and also a major win for the rights of transgender youth across America,” Johnson said.
The District 211 election was fiercely contested by a slate of candidates backed by Parents for Privacy, which sought 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 Elgin-based School District 46, three pro-LGBTQ candidate endorsed by the EI PAC cruised to victory. Re-elected were incumbents Veronica Noland and Donna Smith, both of whom had recently defended the district’s policy affirming trans students. Additionally, non-incumbent Melissa Owens defeated Cody Holt, an incumbent who sought to roll back protections for transgender students in the district. Owens’ victory strengthens the pro-equality majority on the U-46 board. Noland, Smith, and Owens were endorsed by the EI PAC.
Additionally, Berwyn will be represented by six LGBTQ-identified elected officials, including three members of the eight-person city council. Berwyn’s LGBTQ-identified elected officials were all endorsed by the EI PAC:
- Marge Paul – City Clerk
- Scott Lennon – Ward 1 Alderman
- Jose Ramirez – Ward 2 Alderman
- Jeanine Reardon – Ward 3 Alderman
- Julia McAleer-Forte – Berwyn South School District 100
- Brian Brock – Berwyn Park District Commissioner
The EI PAC also endorsed ally Deanna Durica for the board of Berwyn South School District 100. An advocate for trans students in District 100 and in other districts, Durica won re-election on Tuesday night.
In Evanston, out mayoral candidate Mark Tendam, a two-term alderman who was endorsed by the EI PAC, is in a race still too close to call, which in itself is a significant showing.
In Bloomington, Prairie Pride Coalition Board member Elizabeth Fox Anvick won a seat on District 87 School Board.