The establishment of a fourth transition committee has been announced by J. B. Pritzker as an advisory board on matters of civil rights. To be known as the Committee on Equality, Equity and Opportunity, Marca Brista, Marty Castro and Kim Hunt will take equal responsibility for guiding the committee in the capacity as co-chairs of the 25 members. They are all currently involved in related endeavors (Access Living; Casa Central and Pride Action Tank).
According to Lt. Gov-elect Juliana Stratton, the committee’s role is to really listen “to the communities across Illinois who haven’t been heard or who’ve experienced systemic disinvestment.” She should know. Being the country’s first Democratic Lieutenant Governor-elect in the 2018 election as well as the first ever black woman to be elected to that position in Illinois, Stratton couldn’t be more apt for her work on this committee. She added:
“The Committee on Equality, Equity and Opportunity will tackle civil rights issues in our state and work to ensure Illinois can protect children and families from dangerous policies from the federal government.”
Alderman Robert Fioretti received a slew of endorsements from law enforcement unions (including the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police) for his upcoming battle against Toni Preckwinkle, current President of Cook County Board.
Fioretti – who has represented Chicago’s 2nd Ward since 2007 – believes that this shows “people who believe in law and order” want change:
“For me to win the FOP’s endorsement is an acknowledgement that something is wrong with our system. To have the sergeants and to have the other organizations that have endorsed me sends a message to those that have been complicit with a system that has let down our communities.”
Fioretti is definitely able to cope with a fight. When he took office in 2007, it was against 14-year incumbent Madeline Haithcock and he managed to get the most votes, forcing a run-off with the incumbent. He then went on to defeat her by an almost two-to-one margin and was then re-elected in 2011 to a second term.
Later this month – in conjunction with Women United Network and Action Illinois, Women’s March Chicago – is planning a March to the Polls. Set for January 20, marches will take place in Chicago, Carbondale and Springfield and will be used to mark the first anniversary of the 2017 Women’s Marches.
The idea behind this is publicity; it is hoped that once people are made aware of what’s going on, women will get more involved with the 2018 general and primary elections as well as future ones. Hopefully this will result in a larger turnout of women voters.
As well, the Women’s March fully promotes women’s rights, in particular: affordable childcare and healthcare; equal pay and rights; fair wages; freedom from violence and more.
As it is, Illinois is already faring better than the rest of the nation. For the 2018 State House and Senate Primary Elections, the average female candidate percentage is a mere 36 percent. but in Illinois, female participation in Primary’s will reach 41 percent in 2018 – which is a new high as well as the largest amount of female candidates vying for those seats in the last three election cycles.
However, even Illinois has a long way to go to bridge the gender gap. Since 2012 there has only ever been one year whereby more women ran in Republican Primary Elections for State House or State Senate than in Democratic Primary Elections. There were two increases however: one with the House of Representatives and one with lieutenant governor (three women competed for the position). At least it’s a start.