Lightford: Give Illinois workers the raise they have been waiting for

Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford

SPRINGFIELD — Minimum-wage earners statewide could soon see a pay increase as a result of legislation that raises the minimum wage to $15 by January 2022. Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford spearheaded efforts that would give hardworking families a much-needed raise.

“People working full time should earn a living wage,” said Lightford, a Maywood Democrat “We want our workers to be able to support their families, have financial independence and be able to contribute to the state’s economy.”


Senate Bill 81 would increase the minimum wage to:

• $9 per hour from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018
• $10 per hour from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019
• $11.25 from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020
• $13 per hour from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021
• $15 per hour on and after January 1, 2022

The measure also increases the minimum wage for individuals under the age of 18 but at a slower pace, going from $8.00 on January 1, 2018 to $12.00 on January 1, 2022.

Illinois’ current minimum wage is $8.25 per hour. A single parent working a full-time minimum-wage job qualifies for food stamps, Medicaid and often housing assistance. In addition, many minimum-wage workers are forced to work several part-time jobs to make ends meet.

State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) voted in support of the minimum wage increase.

“Competitive wages attract the right people for some of the state’s most challenging jobs,” said Hunter.  “We live in an environment where unemployment and underemployment are already dire problems. The point of a job is for a person to earn enough money to survive in a decent manner.”

“A $15 minimum wage is a common sense solution that will allow us to invest in our communities and invest in people, Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) said. "I was proud to cosponsor this measure that, if enacted into law, would improve so many lives. This moment represents a huge step forward for the Fight for Fifteen movement, and I thank Sen. Lightford and Rep. Guzzardi for leading this historic effort, as well as the many workers who have fought heroically to make this happen."

Sen. Lightford

Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

Senate Majority Leader
4th District

Years served: 1998 - Present (Senate) 

Committee assignments: Assignments (Chairperson); Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive; Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec; Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On; Subcommittee on Gov. Operations (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Charter Schools (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: B.A. in Communications, Western Illinois University; M.A. in Public Administration, University of Illinois Springfield; former Village of Maywood trustee; former employee at 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 family.

Associated Representatives:
La Shawn K. Ford
Emanuel Chris Welch