Judith C. Rice is an attorney and lifelong Chicagoan with a gold-plated resume. Rice was treasurer for the City of Chicago from 2000 to 2006, was "the first female commissioner of both the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Department of Water" and was director of the city's Department of Revenue. She is currently the senior vice president and head of community affairs & economic development for BMO Harris Bank.
Judy Rice has been active in the city's LGBT community for 30 years and has officially come out as lesbian in an interview with Kate Sosin at Windy City Times. Rice is running for judge in the Cook County Circuit Court 7th Subcircuit. If elected, she would become one of the more high profile openly LGBT elected officials in the city.
WCT: You have strong ties in the community. Did you feel pressure from the community to come out over the years?
JR: I think that people have always known who I am, the people who know me. I've never hidden who I am from people who know me. I wouldn't say it's any pressure. It's me feeling that it's important that we raise our hands at this point in time because people need to understand that LGBT are around them everywhere in the community. Maybe they're doctors, maybe they're lawyers, maybe they're sons, maybe they're daughters. So, the more than we can show that, the better it is going to be for our community.
WCT: Could you have imagined 30 years ago when you started attending Pride that it would be possible to run as an out candidate for judge?
JR: I could not imagine at all. I was a scared, young person to be out on the street and be physically identified. So, look at the change that we have had and that we've come to through the work of many people who are a lot more brave and a lot stronger than I ever have been.
Rice also discusses the need to make the court system more responsive towards transgender men and women,
[W]e see a lot of them. Everywhere that you go, you're asked to identify yourself. So one problem and one issue those would bring for individuals who are transitioning or have transitioned are in the workplace. Are they going to be accepted? Are they going to be able to be terminated from their jobs because they're transitioning? So those are the types of issues that we have to make sure people are safe, that they have their civil rights.
It's a very moving interview and well worth the ten minute read. Brava to Judy Rice for making this announcement. She is a wonderful leader and a superb administrator.
The Illinois Democratic primary is March 18 2014.
Thanks Marc Loveless!