By John Celock
A Democratic candidate for Illinois governor has picked a new running mate dropping his first one earlier this week.
State Sen. Daniel Biss tapped state Rep. Litesa Wallace as his new lieutenant governor running mate Friday, days after dropping Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa from his ticket. Biss dropped Ramirez-Rosa from the ticket after it surfaced that Ramirez-Rosa supported a push for states to not invest in Israel.
In a video introducing Wallace, Biss noted that she was not his first choice for lieutenant governor but she has been the type of person he has worked for since kicking off his gubernatorial campaign.
“She’s the kind of person who inspired to run for governor in the first place,” Biss said. “Not the rich and the powerful.”
Biss noted that Wallace, a second term state legislator from Rockford, has been a “champion for social and economic justice” and someone who will help him build a “progressive Illinois.” He noted that she is a single mother and has a history of supporting working families.
“As a woman of color she understands that justice and opportunity are not equally distributed and in fact are not available to many,” Biss said.
Wallace noted that various programs, including childcare assistance helped her as a single mother to get a graduate degree. Prior to being elected to the state House of Representatives in 2014, Wallace was chief of staff to her predecessor.
Biss is currently in a seven way Democratic primary for the right to face Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti (R) in next year’s race. On the Democratic side, businessman J.B. Pritzker has tapped state Rep. Juliana Stratton for lieutenant governor, while Chicago Alderman Amera Pawar has tapped Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman for lieutenant governor. Businessman Chris Kennedy, engineer Alex Paterakis, state Rep. Scott Drury and Madison County Schools Superintendent Bob Daiber have not announced their picks for lieutenant governor.
If elected, Wallace, Stratton or Coleman would be the first black lieutenant governor in Illinois history. Wallace and Stratton would be the fourth woman to serve as Illinois’ lieutenant governor.
In American history, only three black women, Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton (R), former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) and former Ohio Lt. Gov. Jeanette Bradley (R) have been elected as lieutenant governors. New Jersey Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Sheila Oliver could become the fourth black woman lieutenant governor if elected in November.
Wallace noted that she has worked with Biss in the Legislature on various progressive causes.
“Daniel and I have fought, we have fought for child care assistance, a $15 minimum wage, expanding health care and we fought to have millionaires pay their fair share,” she said.