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Chi. Elects 2nd Gay Alderman

Chi. Elects 2nd Gay Alderman


Chicago has a second openly gay city council member after James Cappleman (pictured) won his runoff election Tuesday.

Cappleman, a social worker and community activist, defeated Molly Phelan by 55% to 45% in the runoff, which was necessary because no candidate in their ward received a majority of the vote in the February 22 election. Fourteen of the city's 50 wards had runoffs.

Windy City Times reports that some of the campaign materials distributed by Phelan were perceived as homophobic. One flier claimed Cappleman would address crime in the ward through "anger management classes and flowers," plus "planters, public art, decorative pedestrian lightposts and streetscaping."

"Never believe that you can't change politics as usual. You can, and we have," Cappleman told supporters Tuesday night, according to He also thanked the Gay and Lesbian Victory fund for its assistance. Victory Fund president and CEO Chuck Wolfe said LGBT Chicagoans have "gained another authentic voice on their city council, but more than that, they've gained a real fighter."

Cappleman, who ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2007, will represent Chicago's diverse 46th ward, a north lakefront area that includes portions of Boystown and Andersonville, both heavily LGBT enclaves, as well as Uptown, historically a magnet for recent immigrants. It is just north of the 44th ward, which encompasses much of Boystown and is represented by the city's other openly gay alderman, restaurateur Tom Tunney, who won a third term in February with no opposition.

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