Debra Shore, commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) since 2006 and editor of Chicago Wilderness, has been nominated to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chicago office.
One of the most influential elected out lesbian public officials in the Chicago area, Shore would be heading one of the largest districts of the EPA. It encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and 35 recognized Native American tribal jurisdictions.
The Evanston, Ill. resident would be the lead administrator protecting air quality, as well as land and water resources, in the region. She would in effect police the area against pollution by individuals, corporations, and even government entities. The region is known for high risk toxic waste from a mix of agricultural and historic manufacturing industry.
Originally from Dallas, Tex., Shore has lived in metropolitan Chicago since 1982 and grew to become one of the leading conservationists of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, and its connected forest lands. She was a founding organizer of what is now Friends of the Forest Preserves.
In 2006, Shore was the first out lesbian non-judicial candidate elected in Cook County, Ill. She was reelected in subsequent elections, even amassing one million votes in 2012.
Shore has also served on the board of the Victory Institute, founded in 1993 to help prepare LGBTQ people to run for public office across the country.