SOUTH HOLLAND | Robin Kelly, the Democratic nominee for the 2nd Congressional District in the April 9 special election, said Saturday she would like to see the day when being a “first woman” isn’t considered that special.
Kelly — who won the nomination in a special primary held last month to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress — was among several women honored by Thornton Township at its annual women’s history month celebration. If she wins next month, she will be the first woman to hold that post.
Kelly said the most important part of potentially breaking that gender barrier is setting an example for others.
“Hopefully, (being nominated) shows younger women that they can think about running for office too,” she said.
“It will be nice when we reach the point when being the ‘first woman’ won’t be considered as significant, because there will be many of us in important positions,” Kelly said.
Kelly used the event in part to meet with potential voters, and wound up posing for pictures with many of the nearly 300 people in attendance.
She was joined at the event by community leader Karen Adams, Cook County Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, volunteer Guadalupe Macias, Calumet City Alderman Magdalena “Leni” Wosczynski and WFLD-TV news anchor Robin Robinson. All were presented with the township’s “Women of Honor” award.
Among local government officials attending the event were state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush and Lansing village President Norm Abbott.
For Kelly, the event was one of several stops — including a visit with officials of the Service Employees International Union — she made Saturday.
“There are a lot of people who were never a part of the process in the primary (election),” she said, specifying groups involved with agriculture and organized labor. “I’m trying to reach out to them.”
Kelly is running against Republican nominee Paul McKinley. Although the congressional district that stretches from 53rd Street in Chicago to the Kankakee/Iroquois county line leans heavily Democratic, Kelly said she’s not downplaying his challenge.
“He is the Republican nominee, so he has some supporters out there,” Kelly said.