Ken Mejia Beal first out LGBTQ Democratic Chair in Illinois


Ken Mejia Beal, who narrowly lost an election for state representative last year, has been elected as chair of the DuPage County Democratic Party. He’s the first out LGBTQ county chair in Illinois.

Beal said he found out he would be the first when he was interviewing for the office, when he was asked what it would be to be the first one.

“I want to open the door for others,” he said. “We can volunteer for campaigns AND be candidates. We can help the Party AND head the Party. I share this moment with folks like Majority Leader Harris, Representatives Kelly Cassidy , Lamont Robinson, and Sam Yingling. I share this with every single person that has been brave enough to stand in their truth and say ‘Yes I Am.’ ” 

His race last year made national news when his opponent, State Rep. Amy Grant (R-Wheaton), made racist and homophobic comments during a fundraising call. She still won re-election.

Beal has kept busy in the year since working on municipal elections and civic groups, much of what he was doing before the election. Now, he’s leading the Democratic Party in the second largest county in Illinois.

“I have served on the executive team for the Democratic Party of DuPage county under Chair Cynthia Borbas,” Beal said. “When she resigned, I immediately called her to ask who and what she wanted in a replacement. She said she would like for me to run and I thought ‘I don’t Know.’ I then spoke to several of our township chairs and elected officials and they all said me. I then thought about midterms, the remapping , etc. and said to myself ‘time to put the Party first.’ I know I have the work experience and credentials to do the job and it is a very important job. So I ran.”

His first goal is to keep the party growing. DuPage County has been getting more diverse and Beal would like the party membership, and leadership, to reflect that diversity. He also wants to boost fundraising for elections and just running the part.

“When I am done, I would like to leave the party with a diverse membership and funds in the bank,” Beal said.

His election comes just a few weeks after the formation of the Northwest Suburban Pride Action Fund. However, they weren’t part of his election to chair. “That is mainly because for this race I reached out to my trusted campaign manager, Anne Sommerkamp and we did the work,” he said.

As for running for office again, he will. Just not right now.

“One day, sure,” Beal said, “For now, my 100 percent attention is on being the Chair.”



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