Candidate could be first out LGBTQ U.S. Rep. from Illinois

Eric Sorensen. Photo from Facebook.

Eric Sorensen could make history as the first out LGBTQ U.S. Representative if he wins the Democratic primary this June.

Sorensen, a former meteorologist at WREX in Rockford, is running for the Illinois 17th district. The district covers much of northwestern Illinois, stretching from Rockford to the Quad Cities down to parts of Peoria. With both urban centers and large areas of rural Illinois, it is a swing district. Cheri Bustos, who is not running for re-election, has represented the district since 2012. It voted for Barrack Obama in 2008 and 2012 while voting for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.

Sorensen is in a crowded field with a total of eight candidates running for the nomination. His campaign website lists his core issues as dealing with climate change, healthcare, schools, jobs and the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s a Rockford native and currently lives in Moline with his partner.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund has endorsed Sorensen for the seat, calling him a Game Changer. Except for Decatur School Board Member Alana Banks and Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman, all Illinois LGBTQ officeholders are in the Chicago metro area.

“Eric is a trusted community leader who has spent the last two decades keeping the people of Northern Illinois safe by telling the truth, reinforcing the importance of science and data, and showing up as his authentic self,” said Annise Parker, Victory Fund president. “LGBTQ elected officials are transformative – especially when at the highest levels of government – and we are proud to support his historic campaign.”

Sorensen welcomed the endorsement.

“I am grateful that through my tenure working in Illinois as a local meteorologist, my neighbors and community members accepted both my work and me as my true, authentic self,” Sorensen said. “As a member of Congress, I look forward to passing legislation to keep our communities safe, especially LGBTQ youth. I’m honored to be endorsed by LGBTQ Victory Fund and will be proud to be Illinois’ first out LGBTQ member of Congress.” 

As a Game Changer, Sorensen can get more support and services from the Victory Fund.