Category: Illinois Government

Chicago Maroon Interview: Former University Administrator Runs for State Rep

“UChicago has been a leader in intellectual pursuits, academic research, basically thought leadership. As an anchor institution in the area, UChicago needs to invest in the community in a more direct way,” said Grace Chan McKibben, one out of seven Democratic candidates vying for Illinois 25th District state house seat.

Current 25th District State Representative and majority leader Barbara Flynn Currie is retiring after thirty-nine years in office, leaving the race for State Representative wide open. On the March 20 primary elections, voters will choose between McKibben and six other Democratic candidates to represent the district that includes areas of Hyde Park and neighborhoods on south down the lakefront.

McKibben said that she stands out because she is an immigrant Asian-American woman, a demographic barely represented in government. There has so far only been one Asian-American in the Illinois legislature: Theresa Mah (A.M. ’93, Ph.D. ’99), another ex-UChicago administrator elected just two years earlier. McKibben noted that she also has extensive experience in both the private and public sector. After receiving her A.B. and A.M. from the University of Chicago, McKibben served as Associate Dean of Students at UChicago from 1998 to 2003. She has also worked in government, as Chief of Staff of the Illinois Department of Employment Security from 2003 to 2005, and now works as a community leader, as Development Director at the Indo-American Center.

You can read the complete interview on the Chicago Maroon site by clicking here.

Windy City Times Interview: ELECTIONS 25th Dist. State Rep. candidate Grace McKibben on LGBTQ issues, religious freedom laws

I have been a supporter of LGBT rights and an advocate of LGBT rights from very early on. In the early 90s my husband and I were sponsoring LGBT student groups to talk to other students in residence halls, but even before that, I grew up in Hong Kong. This is one of the things that I emphasize quite a bit throughout the campaign trail—that I did not grow up in the U.S, so I don’t take a lot of rights and the liberties we have in the US for granted, because in a lot of the other countries, you don’t have that. In Hong Kong there is nondiscrimination for the LGBT community, but there isn’t very strict enforcement of nondiscrimination and to be sure that people are able to have equal opportunities in employment and education and housing. Growing up in that environment and coming to the US in the 80s, when the AIDS crisis was going on and LGBT issues were just coming to the forefront, I had high school friends that joined the early LGBT movement. I have a very close high school friend who dropped out of college to be a leader in ACT-UP. So this is a long history.

More recently among my own children there are LGBT kids. I’ve also been working with the Chicago Gay Men’s chorus for this past year as the acting executive director, helping them with the strategic plan. A lot of it, helping a historical organization like that that has significant impact on the LGBT life in Chicago, makes you realize how important history is because current chorus members are not as much connected with that history from the 80s and 90s.

I think there’s a lot of misconception from the outside world, particularly from the non LGBT community, you know, now that there’s marriage equality, and now that there are less overt discrimination in some circles, that there’s no need for groups like Chicago’s Gay Men’s Chorus to continue to do what they do anymore, and that’s absolutely not true. It’s such a fragile balance, and there’s so many issues, particularly since the last election, that have come to the fore. There’s still not equality; for the trans community it’s definitely still not equal. There’s still a lot of battles that still need to be fought.

You can read the complete interview on the Windy City Times by clicking here.

Chicago Defender Interview: Grace Chan McKibben Breaking The Mold

In a recent interview with The Chicago Defender, I talked about my background, experiences, and ability to build relationships across traditional barriers. ““My experience as an Asian woman, an Asian American woman, is that I am usually the only Asian wherever I go,” said McKibben. “I’m used to being the only person that looks like me in various different arenas and I can’t change the way I look, I can’t change my background, but what I can bring is my own unique story, my own unique set of experiences, skills, personality, story, and everything to the table.””

You can read the complete interview on the Chicago Defender by clicking here.

Standing With The Students Of Kenwood Academy

Just came from the Kenwood Academy walkout, I’m so proud to stand with these incredible students who have brought such passion, eloquence, and organizing prowess to the gun debate. Their idealism stands in stark contrast to the cynicism of our politicians, as exemplified by Governor Rauner’s veto of the gun dealer registration bill yesterday. I was also extremely heartened to hear the organizers call for similar protests around school closures. These kids are living proof of the kind of citizens our public schools and our communities are capable of producing when we properly invest in them.

Chicago Sun-Times Interview: Grace Chan McKibben, IL House 25th District Democratic Primary Candidate

In this interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Grace talks about her qualifications and policy positions for Illinois 25th District Representative. “My top three priorities are to ensure there is adequate funding for public education and having an elected school board and also adequate funding for social services for the needy community. And finally, to have a budget that makes sense for Illinois.” You can read the complete interview by clicking here.

Illinois NOW Endorses Grace Chan McKibben for Illinois 25th District Representative!

Illinois NOW says Grace!

I am proud to receive the endorsement of Illinois National Organization for Women, based on my strong record of support for women’s issues. I look forward to working with IL NOW in Springfield for women’s rights, equality, and justice.

We have less than 2 weeks until the March 20 Primary Election. Please volunteer or donate! With your help, we can get a progressive woman who fights for social justice for all in the State House!



Send checks to:

Friends of Grace Chan McKibben
P. O. Box 15368
Chicago, IL 60615

IVI-IPO Endorses Grace Chan McKibben for Illinois 25th District State Representative!

Independent Progressives say Grace!

Today, I was humbled to receive the endorsement of IVI-IPO, Illinois’ oldest and most respected clean government organization. IVI-IPO has advocated progressive change, transparent government, and voter participation in Illinois since 1944. I’ve worked my whole career to strike the delicate balance of bringing people and communities together in pursuit of a goal while maintaining my independence.

Our campaign, which is built on volunteer outreach and small dollar donations, is an extension of those principles. Click here to find out more, donate, or get involved.

An Endorsement!

So excited to be endorsed by Julie Vassilatos, Hyde Parker, public schools advocate, and author of the popular education blog Chicago Public Fools.

“25th District voters, I am endorsing Grace Chan McKibben for her support of a fully elected school board and her nuanced understanding that some sources of revenue are just not worth it.”

There is certainly a great deal happening in CPS right now. Much to pay attention to! We’ve got new CEO Janice Jackson trying to deal with the fallout from the previous CEO’s special education funding-revamp chicanery. We have a series of ongoing hearings about the latest round of school closing plans …


Why the Debt Transparency Act Matters

The Illinois House stood up to Governor Rauner last week; my experience in state government has taught me how important that is—and how and where to do it.

Last Thursday, the Illinois House voted unanimously to overturn the governor’s veto of the Debt Transparency Act; we’re waiting for the state Senate to do the same. I’d like to take this opportunity to dive into what’s at stake here, what it says about how state government works, and how important the upcoming election for the 25th district is.

We usually think of the legislature as responsible for making laws, and the role of the executive branch (state agencies under the direction of the Governor) as responsible of ensuring that the laws are followed. When things do not work in state agencies for the people, the legislature need to step up to pass laws to fix the situation. The Debt Transparency Act does just that.

The State of Illinois is in pretty serious financial straits. In the two years we went without a budget, we’ve accumulated about $16 billion in unpaid bills. This figure may actually be under-estimated because state agencies only have to tell the state comptroller’s office how much they owe to vendors companies, nonprofit agencies, and consultants.

For most the past decade, I have worked at nonprofit agencies that depend on state funding to provide care for elders in their homes, child care services for low-income families, and employment counseling and training to adults who are seeking employment. Over the past three years, many of these human service agencies have been forced to reduce program hours, lay off staff, or in the worst case scenario, shut down altogether because of severe delays in payments from state government for services already rendered. Non-profit agencies are in the same boat as large consulting companies when it comes to debt owed to them from the State of Illinois. But unlike the Deloittes and McKinseys, few community-based organizations can afford to float the State of Illinois loans month after month. And no social service worker I know can survive for months without getting paid by their employer.

The Debt Transparency Act will require that state agencies keep better track of who they owe money to, and for what, and that they share that information—not once a year, but once a month—with the State Comptroller sends a check to the payee after verification.This will help the many organizations to whom the $16 billion is owed to receive their payments faster.

I’m proud to be running as a Democrat, and as a legislator you can bet that I will be standing up and fighting for public services, and for a progressive income tax so that we as a state can fund these services. I’m also proud to fight for spending our tax revenue responsibly. With the combination of my state government and community-based nonprofit experiences, I’m keenly aware of how these organizations depend on state funding to provide needed services for the elderly, for children, and for job-seekers. I understand the need for more transparency not only from standpoint of good policy but I also know from first-hand experience that it will have an impact on ordinary people’s lives. I pledge to leverage my experience to bring legislative authority to solve problems where others might pass the buck to the executive.