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Mike Simmons appointed as Illinois’ first out LGBTQ state senator

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Mike Simmons has been appointed to the state senate district vacated by Heather Steans, the first out LGBTQ state senator in Illinois history.

Simmons will be serving the 7th District, covering parts of the Rogers Park, Edgewater and Andersonville neighborhoods in Chicago. All three have sizable LGBTQ populations and a number of LGBTQ businesses and institutions. He was appointed after winning the votes of Democratic committee people on the Chicago north side.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Simmons had previously served as a policy director under Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and deputy commissioner in the city’s department of planning and development. He has also served on the board of LGBTQ rights group Equality Illinois.

Steans, who left office on Jan. 31, is known for her progressive stands, including LGBTQ rights. She was a state senate sponsor of the civil union law in 2009 and the law that legalized marriage equality 2013.

Along with being the first out state senator, Simmons also becomes one of only three black out LGBTQ state senators in the country.

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