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'Chicago Sun-Times' Offers Front Page Profile on Rahm Emanuel's Gay Adviser David Spielfogel

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Thursday's Chicago Sun-Times offered a laudatory front page profile of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's top adviser David Spielfogel:

Spielfogel is not only the mayor’s intellectual match — without the ego to go with it — he’s the brains and execution behind virtually every one of the mayor’s policy initiatives, from ethics reform and ride-sharing to petcoke and the drive to raise $50 million over five years for jobs, mentoring and recreation programs for at-risk kids.

Emanuel rarely makes a move without consulting him.

“Since David joined my campaign in its first few weeks, he’s helped me to shape city hall’s agenda on every major priority. Our first discussion in 2010 was about a range of ways to break from the past and move this city forward . . . Whether on the campaign, or running my transition team, or now in city hall, I have come to value David’s opinions, insight, advice and focus,” Emanuel said via e-mail.

Spielfogel’s father, Keith, said about his son: “If I call, he doesn’t answer. If the mayor calls, he answers.”

Spielfogel also happens to be gay and Emanuel performed his civil union in 2011 at City Hall:

David Spielfogel is the most influential of a large number of openly gay employees in the Emanuel administration.

He had a girlfriend all through college “who I loved,” and he came out after graduation, because, “I’m not sure I knew” before then.

Although his own family was “very accepting,” Spielfogel said the fact that he’s gay gives him a unique and important perspective when it comes to making policy.

“It makes me more sensitive to the feeling among different groups that they’re not included in progress or don’t feel like they have a stake in decisions,” he said.

“Whether you’re gay, whether you’re a woman, whether you’re part of a minority group, there are times when you feel like your voice doesn’t want to be heard solely because of something that’s biological for you. There’s an extra sensitivity there.”


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Tells Supporters to Pressure Illinois Lawmakers on Marriage Equality

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pressing his supporters to turn up the heat on lawmakers in Springfield ahead of an anticipated vote on marriage equality by the Illinois House, the Sun-Times reports:

EmanuelIn an email to the vast network of supporters he created during the mayoral campaign, Emanuel created a vehicle for gay marriage proponents to pressure their state representatives with the click of a mouse.

“The clock is ticking. The House is poised to vote…in the coming days. And I know from talking with several of my friends in Springfield that some members of the House still haven’t decided which way they’ll vote,” Emanuel wrote in a personalized email to supporters Monday.

“If we’re going to pass this bill, it’s crucial that members of the House hear from marriage supporters every single day until the freedom to marry becomes law in Illinois.” ...

... “It’s time for the laws of our state to reflect the values of our people. It’s time for Illinois to take the lead,” the mayor wrote.

“Real change happens when citizens stand strong, tell their stories and urge their lawmakers to do what’s right….What happens in the next week is up to you. Let’s do what it takes to bring home a victory for the thousands of Illinois families who are counting on us right now.”

Emanuel's email comes amid reports that supporters are still looking for the votes needed to pass the bill in the House. On Friday, Chicago magazine published an article indicating where the votes stand.

Find out how to contact Illinois legislators HERE.

(inset: a social media image created by Emanuel's office shortly after the Senate passed the marriage equality bill on Valentine's Day)


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Valentine Celebrating the Illinois Senate's Passage of Marriage Equality: PHOTO

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Created by the Mayor's office.

Marriage Equality Still Faces Many Hurdles In Illinois

RahmChicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's announcement that marriage equality should be a high priority for the Illinois legislature has some wondering if the Land of Lincoln is the next frontier in the fight for gay rights.

According to an AP report today, the outlook is hazy:

...The political realities in Springfield mean ending Illinois’ 16-year-old law banning same-sex marriage isn’t a slam dunk, in the next few weeks or next session.

Because gay rights are not strict party-line issues, a Democratic majority doesn’t automatically mean the bill will pass. When the General Assembly approved civil unions for same-sex couples during the lame duck session in 2010, 17 Democrats – most from central and southern Illinois – voted no, while six Republicans said yes. The bill passed the House by just two votes and the Senate by just one, though Democrats had larger majorities in the House and Senate than they do now.

And as activists lobby friendly lawmakers, religious conservatives are consolidating their discriminatory forces. The Catholic Conference of Illinois, for example, has distributed "tool kits" to outline why the voting public should oppose marriage equality and they are also coordinating their efforts through a sub-group they're calling the Defense of Marriage Department. Very macho.


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Says 'Time is Now' for Marriage Equality, Calls it One of Top Priorities: VIDEO

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he plans to be very involved with the legislative passage of marriage equality in Illinois and at a news conference today called pushing for it one of his top priorities.

Said Emanuel: "I've been in touch with leaders, including State Representative Greg Harris, State Representative Deb Mell and leaders in both chambers, so Illinois will now take the next step in making sure that our values are reflected in our laws."

Emanuel said it was near the top of his list of legislative priorities he'd like to see happen in Springfield:

"One is retirement security and pension reform so we can give taxpayers and the public employees retirement security, which is something we can't say today," Emanuel told reporters during a visit to Austin Polytechnical Academy High School to announce an investment in the school's manufacturing program. "Two, I was advocating, as have other people for 25 years, a casino for the city of Chicago, but one in which I've committed [that] all the resources will go into school modernization and building new schools and modernizing our schools so our kids will have the best facilities to learn in. Third, I will continue to advocate, as I have since a congressman, that we also pass marriage equality and end the discrimination on the books."

Watch ABC7's report on Emanuel's marriage equality statement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Says 'Time is Now' for Marriage Equality, Calls it One of Top Priorities: VIDEO" »


Eight Added to Speaker Roster at Democratic National Convention

Eight new leaders have been added to the list of those speaking at this year's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, CNN reports:

HarrisAdded Monday were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as President Barack Obama's chief of staff for the first two years of his presidency; Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who won the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination; Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who acted as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and is running for U.S. Senate.

Also on the list: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

As I noted earlier, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is slated to deliver the keynote address, and former President Bill Clinton is set to enter Obama's name into nomination.

The convention convenes in two weeks.


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