Chicago – On Friday, Sen Daniel Biss announced Rep Litesa Wallace would serve as his running mate. Her selection comes after Biss had to fire his first choice as a running mate, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa of Chicago, when it turned out he differed with Biss over banning investments in Israel.
And this has to be a first in Illinois politics, both Biss and Wallace hold Ph.D’s. Biss has a Ph.D in math, while Wallace received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Northern Illinois University
On Friday, Sept 8, in a video shared with his supporters, Daniel and Rep Wallace discussed how their partnership could move Illinois’ middle class and working people forward.
“I’m here now because, 13 years ago, I found myself a single mom with a young son,” said Litesa Wallace. “At the time, I was pursuing a graduate degree so that I could build a better life for us. It was not easy—but if it weren’t for state programs like child care assistance, I wouldn’t have had that chance.
“In the legislature, Daniel and I have fought for childcare assistance, a $15 minimum wage, to expand healthcare, and to make millionaires pay their fair share. And that’s what we’ll fight for in our administration. Like Daniel, like me, there are millions of other regular people in our state who want something better for our children. They are people who try hard, who sometimes fall short, who struggle but keep on fighting—and these are people that deserve to have their government fighting for them. The millionaires and insiders have had their time in Springfield. This campaign is for the rest of us.”
“Litesa Wallace is someone I can trust to fight for the middle class and working people,” said Daniel Biss. “As a single mom and sole breadwinner for her family, she can understand the struggles of the millions of Illinoisans who are trying to get by.
“As a woman of color, she understands that justice and opportunity aren’t equally distributed or readily available to everyone. As a social and economic justice champion in the legislature, she’s a proven fighter for the issues and people that have too often been forgotten by the powers in Springfield.
“This election will determine whether we build the progressive Illinois that we know our state can be. In this election we have a chance to get it right. In choosing my team, that’s what I had in mind. Today I’m announcing my running mate, who wasn’t the original choice but is the right choice.”
Wallace, the campaign says, “spent her career fighting for working families like her own. As an educator and psychologist, as a single mother, and as the State Representative for Illinois’ 67th District, Litesa understands the impact that decisions in Springfield have on people across the state.”
Wallace began her career as a counselor, working with children and adults experiencing mental health issues as well as child abuse victims, families in crisis, and people with histories of substance abuse.
After completing a master’s degree and doctorate at Northern Illinois University while raising a son on her own, she worked as an adjunct professor at Northern Illinois University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
According to the campaign statement, Wallace’s experiences as a counselor and educator drew her to become more involved in local government. She began volunteering, and working directly with policy-makers on the issues most important to her.
She won her first election for the Illinois House of Representatives in 2014, after serving as chief-of-staff to State Representative Charles E. Jefferson. She was re-elected in 2016.
In the House, Wallace is a progressive advocate for economic justice, she worked to expand access to services such as affordable childcare, healthcare, and SNAP benefits while also working to raise minimum wages and create economic development tools in cities across the state.
Born on the Southside of Chicago and raised in the south suburbs and the daughter of a law enforcement agent and postal worker, Litesa grew up in a union household and was the first member of her family to complete a college degree. Litesa is raising her son in Rockford.