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Senator Kimberly A. Lightford Bio

State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford was first elected to serve in the Illinois Senate in 1998. Over the last ten years, she has become one of the Senate’s strongest advocates for education funding reform and women’s issues. She was appointed to the position of Senate Assistant Majority Leader in 2009.

Senator Lightford’s legislative career is highlighted by her passionate support for promoting quality educational and development programs for Illinois’ youth. As Chair of the Senate Education Committee from 2005 to 2008, she was able to pass legislation providing specialized curricula for bullying prevention and a universal preschool program for at risk three-and four-year-old children.

As Assistant Majority Leader, Senator Lightford has only enhanced her role as an advocate for education reform. Because of her leadership, the Senate has passed legislation reforming the charter school system to allow for more charter schools both in Chicago and downstate. In addition, Senator Lightford has worked tirelessly to pass legislation aimed at re-enrolling high school dropouts. The Illinois Hope and Opportunity Pathways through Education (IHOPE) program will offer classes to students who have dropped out of high school, allowing them a second chance at earning a diploma.

As the youngest African-American woman ever elected to the Illinois Senate, Senator Lightford has taken a lead role in promoting women’s issues. In 2003, she played a major role in the passage of the Equal Pay Act, which states that no employer may discriminate between employees on the basis of sex when it comes to salaries. This year, Senator Lightford sponsored legislation strengthening the Equal Pay Act by providing women who have been discriminated against more time to file an action against an employer.
 
Lightford has placed herself at the forefront of women’s health issues by sponsoring the Community Health Center Construction Act of 2009, allowing grants to be given to community health centers that provide prenatal and perinatal services, screenings for breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer, and emergency medical services

In addition, Senator Lightford has been a tireless advocate for working families and is responsible for passing legislation in 2006 that gradually increases the minimum wage each year until 2010. The legislation has helped thousands of low-income citizens throughout Illinois to be able to provide for their families.

Currently in her third term representing the 4th Legislative District, Senator Lightford serves as an active member of the Labor, Education, Executive, Financial Institutions and Redistricting committees. She currently resides with her family in Maywood.

Sen. Lightford

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4th District
Assistant Majority Leader

Years served:
1998 - Present (Senate) 

Committee assignments: Assignments; Executive; Education (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments; Energy and Public Utilities; Labor.

Biography: Full-time senator; B.A. in communications, Western Illinois University; M.A. in public administration, University of Illinois Springfield; village of Maywood trustee; employee for Secretary of State, Department of Corrections and Central Management Services; longtime champion in the Senate for education, working families and women's issues; lives in Maywood with her son, Isaiah.

Associated Representative(s): Emanuel Chris Welch, La Shawn K. Ford