For Immediate Release:
Monday April 23, 2018
Toby Trimmer, Communications Director
(217) 622-7547 |


Democratic County Chairs’ idea for gender-neutral language passed by Sen. Melinda Bush

 SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – Political parties aren’t exclusive to men. That’s why the Illinois Senate today unanimously approved legislation to ensure that state statutes referencing political party offices must be gender neutral.

Working with the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association, Lake County Senator Melinda Bush advanced SB2854 to change Illinois statutes replacing political party “committeemen” or “committeewomen” with the term “committeeperson(s).” “Chairman” is also changed to “Chair” under the measure.

“Words do have meaning,” Bush said. “Women and men make up our political parties and our leaders. Our laws should provide no preference, even in language, to one or the other. It’s simple, but I think it’s a meaningful gesture.”

Bush also highlighted that her legislation isn’t remotely partisan, “Republican women have co-sponsored this legislation because these outdated references aren’t liberal or conservative.”

In 2017, IDCCA President Doug House established an internal Sexual Harassment Task Force to identify issues large and small that impacted Democratic party organizations. First, at the recommendation of the group, House changed the name and the branding of the association to the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association. Following that, the Task Force created both a recommended sexual harassment policy and pledge for Democratic candidates. Senate Bill 2854 remains another part of an effort to create structures of equality.

“More women serve in party leadership positions than ever before,” said House. “It’s time to recognize that simple flaws in language can diminish their roles and, even subconsciously, limit the respect they’ve earned.  For the IDCCA, we’re fortunate to have an advocate like Melinda Bush who doesn’t approach issues of  equality lightly.”

SB2854 now moves to the Illinois House for consideration.


About the IDCCA…

The Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association (IDCCA) is a statewide, grassroots Democratic Party organization comprised of the elected Democratic County Chairs in all 102 counties in Illinois. The mission of the IDCCA is to help elect Democrats in every county and region of Illinois while continuing to grow the Democratic Party throughout the state. Rock Island County Chair Doug House is the President of the IDCCA.

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