First black lawmaker to run Illinois Democratic Party: 'People of color are becoming more engaged'

Chicago Tribune, 7/16/18

State Rep. Christian Mitchell, the new interim executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois, says his selection represents an evolution of the political organization.

“To me, my hope is that my elevation to this role talks about the changing face of the Democratic Party,” Mitchell, the first African-American to hold the post, said Sunday on WGN-AM 720.

Mitchell said the Democratic Party is “becoming younger. It’s becoming more tech-savvy. People of color are becoming more engaged, and so I hope that I’m a foot in the door for that — that sort of changing guard and style of leadership.”

A special panel picked Mitchell last week to serve as interim executive director of the party organization through the November election. He replaces longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan’s former chief of staff, Tim Mapes, who was ousted after being accused of harassment.

Mitchell led a protest of Democrats and allied groups in Rosemont on Friday outside an appearance of Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“What you saw at that demonstration was the beginning of making sure we are as active as possible in organizing the energy out there to push back on what Gov. Rauner’s done to our state, what Donald Trump is doing to our country,” Mitchell said.