Out pols protest Vallas record on LGBTQ ahead of mayor runoff

Wed. March 8, 2023 7:15 PM by Gerald Farinas

campaign signs

photo credit // gerald farinas

'We don't need a republican running Chicago,' Commissioner Quezada said

Chicago mayoral bet Paul Vallas is not being truthful about his support of the LGBTQ community, say out lawmakers. Local LGBTQ politicians gathered on N. Halsted St. and Roscoe Ave. to protest Vallas' alleged misleading messaging.

"We demand mayoral candidate Paul Vallas to stop misleading the public about his record on LGBTQ issues," they said.

They pointed to recent Vallas campaign ads hitting local network broadcasts touting a "track record of significant contributions to the LGBTQ civil rights movement that goes back to the early nineties."

Standing in front of a pair of rainbow flags draped against a brick wall, out City Council members Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Maria Hadden (49th), and ally Rosanna Rodriguez (33rd), were joined by gay Cook County Commissioners Anthony Quezada (8th) and Kevin Morrison (15th) to make the statement in the neighborhood popularly known as "Boystown."

Also in attendance were newly elected Ald. Jessie Fuentes (26th) and runoff candidate Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (48th), who both identify as queer.

Retired legislator and Illinois state House Floor Leader Greg Harris offered the weight of decades of out service to the city and state as he backed the message of this new generation of public servants.

"Paul Vallas is a Republican," Commissioner Quezada said on Twitter after the event. 

The first openly gay Latinx Cook County Board member explained that Ken Griffin, a major donor of Republican candidates like President Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, today endorsed Vallas' campaign/

"We don't need a Republican running Chicago," he continued. "We need a mayor who will stand up for progressive values."

Fuentes, who will be sworn in this Spring, noted that "Paul Vallas helped raise funds for anti-LGBTQ group Awake Illinois."

"When he's been in a position of power and authority, he's used that power and authority to harm LGBTQ civil rights," the incoming council member continued. "We need a mayor that'll fight to protect the LGBTQ community and more importantly stand on a platform that elevates our LGBTQ siblings."

The group argued that when Vallas was CEO of Chicago Public Schools, he cancelled planned LGBTQ diversity and inclusion training and ended up banning an award-winning young adult book that featured a Black lesbian character.

Richard Chapman of the Chicago Sun-Times added him to his list of "evil book-banners" at the time.

Noticeably absent were retiring veteran council members Ald. Thomas Tunney (44th) and James Cappleman (46th). Both represent parts of the primarily LGBTQ north side neighborhood.

Tunney had thrown his support behind Vallas in the primary race.

Another out council member, Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) had supported millionaire philanthropist Willie Wilson. Wilson recently endorsed Vallas' runoff bid.

Vallas television ad in question