Litesa Wallace Won’t Stop Until Government Works For Everyone

Illinois state Rep. Litesa Wallace doesn’t mince words when she addresses the reason holding women of color back from running for office: Money.
“There’s an economic challenge for women of color to enter into politics,” she told Refinery29. “We need the economic policies that will help bring us parity. But because we often run under the existing policies, there’s very few of us who are able to break those barriers and become lawmakers.”
Wallace is straightforward when she talks about how obstacles such as the gender and racial wage gap, the lack of policies supporting working caretakers, and good ol’ discrimination impact the pockets of women of color. In return, she said, they find themselves at a disadvantage if they want to seek elected office.
“It takes us a lot of time and a lot of resources to be a successful candidate,” she said. “It’s very challenging to take on running for office when your own personal finances are very limited, and they are limited because of policies that have allowed race and gender disparities to exist.”
Wallace is an outspoken progressive. She’s currently running for lieutenant governor of Illinois, sharing the ballot with gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss. If the duo wins, she would be the first Black woman elected to statewide office and the first Black lieutenant governor in the history of the state. But as passionate as Wallace comes across, the reality is that this lawmaker didn’t originally set out to be in politics.

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