About the Candidate
Name: Litesa Wallace
DOB: June 18, 1978
Occupation: Former state Representative in Illinois’ 67th District.
Political Experience: Three terms in the Illinois House of Representatives and was the first Black Woman to represent the 67th District in the Illinois General Assembly. In 2018, I came in second for Lt. Governor with state Sen. Daniel Biss.
Hi. My name is Litesa Wallace, and I’m running for Congress in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District.
I was born and raised right here in Illinois and attended public schools. My parents were both union workers–a postal worker and a law enforcement agent. Their jobs helped me to understand how unions help to build a strong middle class.
While I was earning my doctoral degree in educational psychology, I became blessed to be the mother of a young man named Isaiah and his entry into my world gave me a different understanding of what it means to have a government that works for all of us. I went on to spend three terms in the Illinois House of Representatives fighting for childcare, women's reproductive rights, criminal justice reform, and good quality affordable healthcare. I also stood up and fought back when Bruce Rauner tried to turn our state into a right-to-work state.
If I'm honored to represent the people in the 17th District, I will continue to fight for the things that I've heard them say they want. They want accessible, affordable healthcare, great educational opportunities for their children and students. They want safe communities and good-paying jobs. These are all issues that help communities and families thrive.
I will continue to work to make sure that we move past the conversation of minimum wage and start to talk about a living wage. And I will work to create policies for working families and communities so they not only survive, but they thrive.
I'm Litesa Wallace, and I'm running a grassroots people-powered campaign to represent the newly drawn 17th District. And I will not stop until government works for all of us.
Why are you running?
I first ran for office because as a single mom, counselor, and educator, I saw what was happening to families in my community and was motivated to bring the change and support we all need. In my three terms as a state legislator, I championed criminal justice reform, introduced measures to reduce violence, expanded affordable child care and mental health care access, developed opportunities for women and girls, and extended the Rivers Edge Historic Tax Credit to help redevelop Peoria and Rockford.
I am running because our nation must hear the voices of "every day", working class people in the halls of Congress. I want to continue to work to amplify the voices of those typically silenced by corporate interests or because they have been marginalized by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and/or ability. I have a record of building coalitions and getting things done in Illinois's capital and I hope to do so in our nation's capital.
What does this office do well, and what needs fixing?
I think that the past elected in the position has served the district well. One policy topic that I would say I am most proud of from the tenure is her work around families and working people in agriculture. There were great advancements in making sure that agriculture was an economic priority, by providing access to export our goods from Illinois to an international platform. I hope to expand on that work by creating policies and access that continue to allow working families to thrive by continuing to expand healthcare, and advancing solutions to climate change.
What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?
As a firm believer in a government that works for all of us, I will crusade the national fight for affordable childcare, expanded health care, accessible college and job training programs, and an economic recovery that creates real prosperity.
What specific steps would you take to ensure your office is accessible and responsive to your constituents?
As a former elected official and as a former staffer for a public office, I understand the need for accessibility and responsiveness to constituents. If elected to serve as representative for Illinois’ 17th Congressional district, I will ensure that I have strong staff, equipped with empathy when using active listening skills to hear what constituents need and their suggestions. Then have them take action by finding solutions and next steps.
I will host listening sessions throughout the district and then take what I’ve learned from the constituents to create policy and solutions to their issues. I will create programs and host events to ensure more constituents learn how to elevate their voices to ensure elected officials know what’s important to them and the community. Constituents will also have access to our office and the resources by communicating via email, phone, and on social media platforms as well as being able to stop by our offices to speak and schedule meetings both in person and virtual.