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Every Month the Chicago Leader “Spotlights” Community Leaders.
Lakesia Collins is not a name many people from Chicago know, but it is a name they should. She is Illinois State Representative serving the 9th District. Collins plans to continue working to make the community one of equality, economic affordability, and one filled with resources and opportunities for its residents.
During an interview with Rep. Collins, she shed light on her plans and goals for the community. She also shared some insight into her personal story and what led to her seat in office.
When asked about the changes she had already accomplished and some in the works since her election, the Democrat went straight into the meat and potatoes by highlighting that her campaign revolved around putting resources into schools, mental health clinics, ending gun violence, and investing into affordable housing.
Chicago’s West Side lacks access to affordable, healthy, good-quality food. She intends to help end this problem.
Rep. Collins has put money into violence intervention and helps educate residents on how state government works and integrates into the community. Passing housing bills made it possible for non-affluent people to purchase properties, and COVID relief has been a shining light over homeowners of the community.
She feels vital funding for the community is lacking, so Collins’ goal is to fund businesses that support the posterity of the neighborhood while highlighting those businesses for their hard work that gets overlooked.
The interview moves on to the trials and roadblocks of being a Black woman in the office. It is second nature to the representative as she is a mother of three who has worked in nursing homes with dementia patients. She is dedicated to helping people; it is her passion.
Although she lives in Springfield with her children, she makes it to work in Chicago and still makes big moves in the 9th district community. How? Because she is an organizer who is a master at her craft.
In 2020, Collins ran for an open seat for state representative in Illinois. She did not yet have the backing but built it with consistency, forming bonds and rapport with other state workers. As a result, the Democratic State Representative of Illinois won 46% of the votes, dominating six other candidates.
Being open-minded and respectful while working with others who have different views shows Collins‘ professionalism and ability to adapt to any environment she is in, whether conservative or liberal, as long as the idea is universal positive progression.
To top off the interview, Collins made some things clear, she is pro-union, an advocate for reproductive rights, and freeing the wrongly incarcerated. Nursing home reform is big right now. Funding accountability is an issue as many Black and brown people died during COVID due to negligence toward seniors, such as the lack of resources and proper staffing in nursing homes.
New and upcoming bills include reducing co-pay to insulin from $100 to $30 and reform work for DCFS to give the kids better transition into society properly in the fight against homelessness. Collins is a big supporter of the 1,000 homes in Lawndale. In addition, she is a proponent of homeownership for people of color. Last but not least, she has provided Malcolm X College with a little over a million dollars for the Illinois Black Caucus Workforce Development program to assist non-traditional students in furthering their education.
Written by Mikal Eggleston
Interview: Saturday, December 11, 2021 – Illinois State Representative Lakesia Collins
Images Courtesy of Lakesia Collins
District Office: 2165 S. Millard Avenue Chicago, IL 60623 (312) 298-9181
Email: [email protected]