The Candidate: Deborah Mell
The Race: Democratic Party Candidate for Illinois State Representative in the 40th District
The Competition: Antoinette "Toni" Puccio-Johnson
The Buzz: Mell, an Illinois state representative since 2009 and sister-in-law of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is a strong proponent for gay rights as she herself became the first Illinois lawmaker to wed a same-sex partner. She is one of three openly LGBT members of the Illinois General Assembly.
Mell is vice chairperson of the Mass Transit Committee and is also a member of the committees on Aging, Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education, Human Services, Elections & Campaign Reform and Housing.