Last week, Rich Miller with CapitolFax pointed out one of Illinois’ lesser-recognized data points: the strong role that black women have in our state’s political leadership. Miller writes, “Black women are truly becoming a significant force in this state… I don’t think too many (if any) other states can say the same thing.”
The leadership of black women truly is remarkable. Chicago has now elected a black woman to serve a mayor. The city’s new treasurer, Cook County’s board president, clerk of the circuit court clerk are all black women. In Springfield, black women sit at the most influential tables of state government: Our lieutenant governor, the Senate Majority Leader, a House Deputy Majority Leader and a State Senator who serves as the president of the nationwide association of legislative officials – the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Here’s the list:
Juliana Stratton – Stratton is the first African American to serve as Illinois’ Lieutenant Governor.
Kimberly A. Lightford – In January 2019, Lightford was selected to serve as the Senate Majority Leader, the first African American woman to hold this role.
Jehan Gordon-Booth – Hailing from Peoria, State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth serves the Illinois House as a Deputy Majority Leader.
Toi Hutchinson – While Hutchinson is a leader as the Chair of the Senate’s Revenue committee, she is also the President of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a national informational exchange organization for state lawmakers.
Lori Lightfoot – Chicago’s new Mayor-elect. Lightfoot is the first black female to lead the city.
Melissa Conyears-Ervin – Chicago’s newly-elected city Treasurer will leave her job as State Representative to lead one of the largest municipal Treasurer’s office in the nation.
Toni Preckwinkle – Cook County’s Board President remains an influential force in city, county and state politics. Preckwinkle is also Chair of the Cook County Democratic Party.
Karen Yarbrough – the newly elected Cook County Clerk is leading the charge as the County Clerk & County Recorder offices are combined.
Doris Turner – Springfield Ward 3 Alderwoman was just reelected to her third term on the Springfield City Council while also serving as the one of the first African American women to be elected Vice President of the IDCCA.
Pam Davidson – Knox County Board Chairwoman was reelected to a new term this past November while also leading the Blue Wave within her county. Like County Chair Turner, Chair Davidson is also one of the first African American women to be elected Vice President of the IDCCA.
Illinois Democrats are proud of the efforts of these women. They’re truly agents of change.