Pritzker-Stratton campaign holds LGBTQ breakfast in Springfield

Illinois Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Phoenix Center Executive Director Jonna Cooley at the IUOE 965 union hall in Springfield on Thursday, Aug. 25. Photo by Tom Wray

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton sat down with members of the Springfield LGBTQ breakfast on Thursday as part of their re-election campaign.

Pritzker and Stratton have been endorsed for re-election by Equality Illinois and the Human Rights Campaign. Pritzker has appointed several LGBTQ people to boards and administrative offices in state government. They were introduced by Jonna Cooley, executive director of Springfield’s Phoenix Center. Equality Illinois Political Director Mike Ziri and State Sen. Doris Turner (D-Springfield) were also in attendance.

Illinois also has the most robust laws protecting LGBTQ people in the Midwest and among the most robust in the country.

Pritzker said his mother was an activist for LGBTQ rights as he was growing up in California, so his support from the community comes from her and his experiences with LGBTQ activists David Goodstein and Harvey Milk as a child.

“This was made possible by a mother who cared deeply for the rights of people who were being infringed upon,” he said.

“I’m so proud to serve alongside this governor, because all of you know the moment in history we find ourselves in right now,” Stratton said, referring to the raft of bills that have been passed in state legislatures attacking the LGBTQ community, especially transgender youth. Their GOP opponents, Darren Bailey and Stephanie Trussell, have also been vocal in their opposition to the LGBTQ community.

Those attending asked what could be done if cases like Obergefell were overturned like Roe was (marriage equality in Illinois is because of a law that was passed and not effected by Obergefell) and if there could be more funding specifically for the LGBTQ community, especially with schools and homelessness.

“It is not an exaggeration to tell you that hate is on the ballot,” Pritzker said, adressing that many at the breakfast were anxious and concerned about the political climate. “The people on the other side, they genuinely want to, first of all, take away the funding that exists for all the things we care about. But, maybe more impactfully, they just believe this entire discussion [on LGBTQ issues] is evil to them. That’s who they are.” He said the rhetoric and attacks on the LGBTQ community were the worst he’s seen in his lifetime.