Dennis Sneyers, an out gay politician from Illinois, has announced plans to run for mayor of Chicago in 2015.
Sneyers will formally announce his candidacy on 5 August in the city, but has already begun campaigning efforts.
Sneyers told Windy City Media: “I always thought that some day I might run for Congress or something like that. I never thought that I would decide to run for mayor of America’s third largest city.”
Sneyers has a history of LGBT outreach work, volunteering with New York non-profit Gay Men’s Health Crisis and founding the Chicago Gay Games bidding organization.
In 2002, he competed in the Sydney Gay Games, playing table tennis. In 2006, he competed in the Chicago Gay Games in rowing.
Sneyers said to Windy City Media that the most pertinent issue facing the LGBT community is youth homelessness. Sneyers, a longtime advocate for LGBT youth, attended the Summit on LGBT Youth Homelessness in May.
Sneyers told Windy City Media: “I’m hoping that people will be able to look at more than the fact that I’m openly gay, and consider that what I can give to Chicago is a real choice in how the city will be managed in the future.”
In his campaign video, Sneyers is critical of current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, saying the city needs a leader who will aid the needs of different populations. He is also critical of the city’s crime management and prevention efforts, the public education system, and the amount of debt in Chicago.
Sneyers said: “I’ve been thinking about this for the last couple of years. What better time to enter politics than now, when the city needs so much work?”