When I was sworn in on January 14th, 2019, I pledged to be a leader who would listen to different perspectives and be a partner in bettering the lives of all residents. While we have made great strides in repairing the damage of previous administrations, JB and I know there is much more work to do.
I’m proud to lead the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Initiative, which allows me to advance principles of restorative justice and address the harm done by our criminal justice system. In Illinois, we have the most equity-centric adult-use cannabis law in the nation that includes investments in communities most devastated by the war on drugs. I’m proud of the work we’ve done with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to set an historic agenda to address disparities in housing, economic opportunity, health care, and the justice system. As Chair of the Illinois Council on Women and Girls, I am fighting for gender pay equity and to expand leadership opportunities for women and girls throughout our state. And as the Chair of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, I’m working to tackle food insecurity and increase access to telehealth in our rural communities in the face of unprecedented need.
As a State Representative, I spent every day standing up for my constituents and ensuring their voices were heard. As Director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I sought to create safer communities through convening and training public safety stakeholders to work more effectively with community residents. And as a mediator and administrative law judge, I worked to create more fair and equitable workplaces.
I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. My dad is a Navy veteran and a doctor. My mom was a school teacher. I graduated from a Chicago public high school, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the DePaul University College of Law. My husband Bryan is the love of my life, and we have four amazing daughters who make us proud and inspire us every day.