Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Woman joins race for McKeon’s seat

Woman joins race for McKeon’s seat
Copyright byh Gay Chicago Magazine

CHICAGO - One of Chicago’s most involved Ravenswood/Lincoln Square residents, Mel Ferrand, has her sights set on a new goal. With the soon to be departure of State Rep. Larry McKeon from the Illinois Assembly, Ferrand has announced her interest in the nomination for the vacant 13th district seat. If elected, Ferrand would be the first out lesbian to serve in the state legislature.

After the announcement by McKeon of his intentions to retire from the state assembly, several men immediately announced their desire to be placed in his uncontested spot on the November ballot. Now, one woman feels she should be added to the top of that list. The timing of McKeon’s announcement has left this seat open, affording five Democratic Committeemen an extraordinary opportunity to send an advocate from Chicago to the state legislature. Ferrand believes she is the optimal candidate for the position.

In addition to being both gay and a woman - each underrepresented groups in the state legislature - Ferrand was born to Latino and Jewish parents, affording her a unique perspective and cultural outlook as well. All four of these constituent groups have been and continue to be underrepresented in the State House. Ferrand stated, “In this representative democracy we desperately need more diverse representation, and that is, in part, what I bring to the table. I hope the committeemen are brave enough to step up to this challenge.”

A longtime resident of Ravenswood/ Lincoln Square and a social and political activist all of her life, Ferrand, an out lesbian, is a journey level union carpenter, has served as an officer of the Ravenswood Community Council and is cochair of the Education Committee of that neighborhood organization, is a past president of the Illinois NOW PAC, past cochair of the Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance, founding member of the Grant Park Advisory Council and is currently an elementary school teacher on Chicago’s near west side.

Ferrand, further encouraged by this remarkable opportunity, says she is asking voters in the 13th district to call the five committeemen directly and tell them they support her. The five Democratic Committeemen are Ald. Gene Schulter (47th Ward), 773-348-8400, Alderman Pat O’Connor (40th Ward), 773-769-1140, Tom Sharpe (46th Ward), 773-871-1330, Mike Volini (48th Ward), 773-878-1195 and Ald. Bernie Stone (50th Ward), 773-764-5050.


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