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Former Senator Makes Chi. Mayoral Bid

Former Senator Makes Chi. Mayoral Bid

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Another gay-friendly politician has formally kicked off a campaign for Chicago mayor: former U.S. senator and ambassador Carol Moseley Braun.

Braun made her announcement Saturday morning at Northerly Island on Chicago's lakefront with a message of inclusion. "This great city can't survive if some Chicagoans are treated like second-class citizens," Braun said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "This city must continue to grow with the support of and inclusion of every neighborhood, every community."

In 1992, Braun became the first African-American woman elected to the Senate. She was one of only 12 senators to vote against the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in 1993, and one of only 14 to vote no on the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. She was also the first U.S. senator to appoint an LGBT liaison. She was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame as a Friend of the Community in 2007.

She served only one term in the Senate, losing to Republican Peter Fitzgerald in 1998 after a somewhat troubled tenure. The Federal Election Commission had looked into allegations that Braun had misused campaign funds, but no charges were ever filed. She was also criticized for meeting with the military dictator of Nigeria. Since leaving the Senate she has served as ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, taught law and political science, and started an organic coffee and tea company.

She joins a crowded field of candidates to succeed Mayor Richard M. Daley, who is not seeking reelection in 2011.

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