Lamont Robinson Jr. is a Democratic candidate seeking election to the Illinois House of Representatives to represent the 5th District. 

  

Robinson is a lifelong Chicagoan. He grew up on the South Side and lives and works as a small business owner in the district he is running to represent. His history with community engagement and leadership is evident in his campaign, where he became the first openly gay African American person to win a primary for the Illinois General Assembly. 

 

#Boom recently interviewed Robinson as part of our "OUT on the Trail" series profiling Missouri and Illinois’ LGBTQ+ candidates in 2018.

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Tell us about your district; where is it, what does it include?

 

The Illinois State House 5th District is in the City of Chicago. It includes the South and North sides of the City of Chicago. From the most expensive real estate in the county, the cities business district, museums, colleges and universities to some of the poorest communities in the country by capita. 

 

It includes South Shore, Park Manor, Washington Park, Woodlawn, Bronzeville, Englewood, South Loop, Loop, Gold Coast, River North and Old Town.

 

What was the catalyst for you getting into this race?

 

I grew up on Chicago’s South Side. While some areas are more prosperous, filled with working families with stable jobs, too many parts of the community that I grew up in have been ignored for too long, with few resources and too little hope.

 

My mother was a Chicago public school teacher, and my father was a city inspector. My dad passed away when I was young, but I was still more fortunate than many of my neighbors. I had a support system to fall back on in difficult times. My mother, extended family, and the men and women in my community stepped in to fill the void. They ensured that I had the resources I needed to thrive. They made certain that I had access to educational and employment opportunities, good healthcare options, and a safe place to live and grow. That’s not the case for too many of our youth.

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I’m running for 5th district state representative because I know things could have turned out very differently for me. I believe that government has a responsibility to provide its citizens with an environment for them to live healthy, happy, and productive lives. As a lifelong Chicagoan, I know that each community has its own challenges - some neighborhoods need business development strategies while others need support for their social service organizations, and still others need the peace of mind to walk around their communities safely. I want to support our residents by being their advocate, by hearing their concerns and telling their stories, and pulling in the resources we need to thrive. I know the district’s residents not only because I have lived in the district for some time, but also by serving 5th district residents through my small business. I serve people struggling to experience and protect their prosperity. For some, prosperity is a struggle to achieve something that for too long has been denied. I want to help residents protect and grow their prosperity by helping to shape a community built on economic growth and development, employment, and support for essential social services.

 

I will fight to bring prosperity to all the residents of the 5th District.

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What are the most important issues that you have seen or heard from your district that are your priority?

 

Jobs and economic development. 

 

You're the first openly gay African-American person to win a primary for the Illinois General Assembly, what does that mean to you?

 

It is truly an honor to represent to represent the LGBTQ community and such an expansive district that is made up of all walks of life. I am excited to take my experiences as an educator, small business owner, director of a non-profit to the legislature. 

 

A lot of our readers find coming out stories to be particularly empowering. Would you mind sharing yours?

 

For sometime growing up, I knew I was attracted to the same sex, but I suppressed it for many years. Once I got to college I was tired of struggling with my sexuality and I wrote my pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He wrote me back that he loved me and God loved me and made me in his image. This changed my life, I came out to my mother later that year. My mother has been supportive and I am thankful for her acceptance because I understand that my path is not a common one.

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Despite the political climate that we are currently in, what are the biggest areas of agreement that you and your opposing party can achieve?

 

We need to bring more revenue into the State of Illinois, put more money into our neighborhood schools and create jobs. 

 

Illinois is one of a handful of states where it is illegal to discriminate against gender identity. With all that's going on nationally, what would you say to those Illinoisans who identify as transgender?

 

That as someone who's best friend is a transgender women and who has a transgender man employed as a manager in my business, our trans brothers and sisters have a champion in the legislature who will use his office to support and fight for their issues and concerns. 

 

"OUT on the Trail" is an ongoing series of profiles on out LGBTQ candidates in 2018. Check out our interviews with Kathy EllisTom HanneganMitch WeberIan MackeyPatrice BillingsGreg Razer , Ryan DillonMaggie TrevorGreg Harris, Kelly Cassidy and Lamont Robinson.  

 

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