She’s a proud mother and Democrat, a former Chief Judge of Madison County and running for Congress in Illinois’ 13th congressional district to unseat Tea Party-backed freshmen Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville).


The swing district stretches from the Metro East across central Illinois to the Champaign area and is considered in play by GOP and Democrats alike.

Pro-choice but pro-second amendment, Ann Callis believes in public service and has been hailed as a reformer, and a “tough, anti-crime judge,” by law enforcement.


From her time on the bench, Judge Callis has a proven record on equal rghts. She supports marriage equality, banning discrimination in employment and housing laws, honoring spousal and marital benefits for our military members and advocating for anti-bullying policies for our schools.


#Boom recently caught up with Judge Callis to talk about the race, her views on LGBT issues and what’s on the mind of the voters in Illinois’ 13th district.


votebranding2Congratulations on your primary win – what did that process teach you that you are now applying to your campaign this November?


We won the primary, and will ultimately win the general election, because voters are connecting with my message of working for the real families in Illinois. People are sick of what’s happening in Washington, D.C. – Democrats and Republicans – and they're looking for leaders who will actually get things done. You hear the phrase “problem-solver” get thrown around by politicians, but I have actually solved problems and intend to bring that philosophy to Washington to fight to Illinois families who need our help.


You’ve said that Washington is dysfunctional – and I don’t think you’ll find too many folks who will argue with you. What specifically will you bring to Washington to end the gridlock and get things done?


When you’re a judge, you can’t just ignore facts or refuse to show up for work when you disagree with the people in your courtroom. You have to separate right from wrong, take each step seriously and make tough decisions that help bring justice for people. Congress needs to have that mentality because our middle class is hurting in this country. I’ll bring those skills to Washington to focus on policies that actually help people.


You state on your website that we need reforms that fix and improve the Affordable Care Act. What specifically would you change about Obamacare?


I was as disappointed as anyone with how the law, especially the website, was rolled out and equally disappointed that people lost coverage due to ACA. We have to get those things fixed and continue to improve the law as time goes on. Now that over 8 million people have signed up, we need to track data and do everything we can to prevent costs for middle-class families from rising. That is the biggest concern I hear on the ground and something I will work diligently to fix if elected to Congress.


As you campaign – what issue is the biggest concern for voters in your district?


Jobs are the most important thing people care about. That is why I will focus on helping create jobs in Congress. We can start by building strongerCallis relationships with our universities and expand on the wonderful research that is being done there. We should be linking the universities, local businesses, and our local labor force to expand on apprenticeship programs so that our young people graduate these programs with highly technological skills and are ready to work in the jobs of the 21st Century. I also will support current efforts to rebuild blighted neighborhoods, by creating construction jobs and giving people the opportunity to become first time homeowners.


When did you first become aware of LGBT issues?


As a Judge, I’ve always been aware of the equality movement. I worked hard to treat everyone with equal respect and to ensure that every single person who walked through the courthouse doors felt like they were going to get a fair shake. When civil unions became law in Illinois, there was a lot of anticipation in the courthouse on what would happen. What I came to see first-hand is that same-sex couples are like everyone else. They want to be with the person they love and live an enriching life.


Same Sex marriage takes becomes a reality in Illinois on June 1 – what is your position on Marriage Equality?


I fully support marriage equality. Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love.


Only a single state remains that has yet to face a challenge to its same-sex marriage ban. As a former judge, how do you see this ultimately playing out? Obviously the Supreme Court will be revisiting this.


I think the trend you’ve seen across the nation is towards marriage equality, and I expect that to continue. We’ll see when and how the Supreme Court gets involved, but until then it is a good thing that states are leading the way on marriage equality.


Employment protections are also an issue very important to the LGBT community. You support this – why is this such a tough fight in the House and what is your view on implementing Federal workplace protections via Executive Order? 


I absolutely support employment protections and any other policies that promote equality. I think this is another example of how Congress is playing politics first, and not getting things done. I’d push this legislation forward because it would make a real difference in people’s lives across this country.


If you had to pick one issue that was the defining reason that you entered this race, what would it be and why?


I am inspired by both my children dedicating their lives to public service. My daughter just graduated from St. Louis University and is going to be a middle-school teacher. My son joined the military after college and is currently deployed overseas. As I contemplating making this giant leap, I had the honor of watching him be sworn in as a Second Lieutenant. I realized that he isn’t afraid to serve his country, therefore I shouldn’t be afraid to fight for what I believe.




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