SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, took the oath of office and was sworn in for her a full term as state representative for the 9th District on Wednesday, pledging to fight for working families and underserved communities as Illinois faces the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am incredibly honored to serve the people of the 9th District, the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois as a state representative. Springfield needs to understand the perspective of working parents and I’ll bring the knowledge from being one myself to the capitol,” Collins said. “We have to build a more equitable and just recovery that tackles the root causes of inequality, poverty and crime. We must ensure that families have access to affordable housing, fully funded schools including higher education and vocational training, healthy food and grocery stores in their neighborhoods, a full range of health care services including mental health, and services for seniors.”
During her time as a nursing assistant, Collins experienced firsthand the impact of low wages on health care workers and she became an advocate for raising wages and improving nursing home care standards. She later became an organizer for the labor organization SEIU Healthcare Illinois, where she helped fight for a higher minimum wage. This led to co-founding the Intergen Alliance, an intergenerational coalition of senior citizens and young activists, with noted organizer Bea Lumpkin. As part of Intergen, Collins facilitated “Know Your Rights” training sessions and racial justice workshops for community and labor groups. This background will inform her legislative agenda, which includes building safer neighborhoods, creating jobs with fair wages, providing affordable, quality health care, affordable housing, eliminating food deserts, and protecting senior services.
“As Illinois works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t have a recovery that returns us to the status quo that existed before the pandemic that left families vulnerable,” Collins said. “We have to build a more equitable and just recovery that ensures families have access to affordable housing, a good education for their children, a good job, health care, aging services that enrich the lives of seniors, and can live free from the fear of violence in their neighborhoods.”