(From article)

Rick Garcia, director of public policy at Equality Illinois, gave me a bit of juicy news that he hasn't spoken about on the record yet. They've been trying to get a civil unions bill passed here statewide, and Equality Illinois, along with other state politicos, asked the Obama camp to lobby on behalf of the bill. The campaign offered up Valerie Jarrett, a respected Chicago figure and senior adviser to the campaign, to make six calls to state representatives who were on the fence about backing the legislation. Two of those legislators have since indicated their support, and, according to Garcia, "we may call a civil unions in the house in two weeks." If not, Garcia was confident they would take a vote on the bill in January.

I asked Garcia if he was pleased with the campaign's response and thought Jarrett was a good pick for the job. "Frankly, she was the best," he said. "I loved that they had her do it because of the weight she carries in the campaign."

Garcia, who knows Obama's organization as well as about anyone in the country, says he thinks a potential Obama administration would move first on an ENDA bill (Barack backs full inclusion).

He is also keeping his fingers crossed and anticipating that a number of Illinois politicians might be pulled into the administration, leaving several open seats for pro-gay and out politicians to move into. Obama's potential chief of staff, BTW, Congressional taskmaster Rahm Emanuel, who backs an inclusive ENDA, hate crimes legislation, and "don't ask, don't tell" repeal. "On gay and lesbian issues, his record is sterling," says Garcia.

(Kerry Eleveld)