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Black Caucus: State has made great strides, but there’s work still to be done

blackcaucus 012920SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s State of the State address on Wednesday.

Leaders of the Black Caucus discussed key issues brought up by the governor’s address that specifically affect black communities throughout the state, including early childhood education, health care and criminal justice reform.

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Chair of the ILBC:

“The governor’s address highlighted some areas where we were finally able to see progress for our communities under his leadership, including a new capital plan to fix the state’s crumbling infrastructure and create jobs that are desperately needed in our communities, and additional funding for K-12 and early childhood education.

“One of our top priorities is educating our communities. We pride ourselves in fighting to ensure there is equitable funding in education, and that there is adequate after school support, especially for our at-risk youth.

“With all that we have accomplished, there is still a lot of work to do to provide stability for the people of African-American communities. I was pleased to hear the governor talk about diversity, acknowledging inequities in the communities we represent. We look forward to working with his administration to ensure people of all backgrounds have a fair shot at success in Illinois.”

State Representative Camille Lilly, House Chair of the ILBC:

“Today, the governor affirmed our commitment to build on the progress we have made over the past year. Building a stronger Illinois that is inclusive and fair means prioritizing reforms that require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, and supporting working and middle-class families. 

“The people of Illinois should never be forced to compromise their well-being due to high costs from the health care system and big pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, we need impactful property tax relief to provide stability and confidence for the people of Illinois that they can afford to live here long term.

“As we begin a new legislative session, I will continue to advocate for vulnerable populations and strengthen ILBC communities as a whole. More work remains to get Illinois under-resourced communities back on track after decades of crisis, but I am encouraged by the Governor’s commitment and this new direction.”

State Senator Christopher Belt, Senate Chair of the ILBC:

“I am glad to see Gov. JB Pritzker’s top priorities will revise our state’s ethics procedures, early childhood education and provide property tax relief for residents throughout the state. Providing property tax relief will help people with their basic expenses and hopefully retain our residents.

“In addition, I support his vision for economic development for Illinois. He is continuing to push a statewide construction and infrastructure plan, which will help the economic growth in my district by creating jobs and increasing the quality of life of the community.”

Sen. Lightford

Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

Senate Majority Leader
4th District


Years served: 1998 - Present (Senate) 

Committee assignments: Assignments (Chairperson); Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive; Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec; Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On; Subcommittee on Gov. Operations (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Charter Schools (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: B.A. in Communications, Western Illinois University; M.A. in Public Administration, University of Illinois Springfield; former Village of Maywood trustee; former employee at Secretary of State, Department of Corrections and Central Management Services; longtime champion in the Senate for education, working families and women's issues; lives in Maywood with her family.

Associated Representatives:
La Shawn K. Ford
Emanuel Chris Welch