|Member of the Illinois House of Representatives|
from the 77th district
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||"Skip" Saviano|
|Born||1962 (age 56–57)|
|Alma mater||Elmhurst College (B.A.)|
University of Illinois (M.L.I.S.)
Kathleen Willis (born 1962) is the Illinois state representative for the 77th district. The 77th district includes all or parts of Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, Stone Park, and Wood Dale.
Early life and education
Kathleen Willis was born and raised in Addison, Illinois. A resident of Addison with her husband and four children, she volunteered as Vice President of the Addison Kiwanis, and an organizer for Dare to Dream, an organization that encourages and assists young Hispanic women in attending college and as a member of the Addison District 4 school board. While on the school board, Willis advocated for lower property taxes, more streamlined school administration and quality education . She also earned a bachelor’s in Human Service Administration from Elmhurst College and a master’s degree in Library and Information Services from the University of Illinois during her school board tenure.
Illinois State Representative
In late 2011, Willis announced her intention to run for state representative in the newly drawn 77th district during which she was endorsed by, among others, Senator Martin Sandoval and the Illinois Sierra Club. Willis defeated twenty year incumbent Skip Saviano by over 1,000 votes. Upon being sworn in, Representative Willis joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers who chose not to accept a pension.
In her first term, two of her bills were signed into law by the Governor of Illinois. The first was a bill designed to improve the student placement process for special education signed into law. The second was a bill that prevents minors from purchasing e-cigarettes. Other legislation sponsored by Representative Willis that was signed into law includes legislation that would enhance the penalties for individuals who defraud or attempt to defraud Medicaid, increase the penalty for domestic battery if the abuser is a repeat offender, and create the Young Adults Heroin Use Task Force to address the growing problem of heroin use in high schools in Illinois.
She has also advocated for legislation to prevent gang recruitment by making the practice illegal on school buses, bus stops and public parks, lower crime by prohibiting violent felons from purchasing body armor, and co-sponsored a bill to protect consumers from unfair surcharges.
|Republican||Angelo Saviano (incumbent)||12,357||47|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
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- Miller, Rich (November 30, 2018). "Foxx, Gordon-Booth, Kelly to co-chair Pritzker's Restorative Justice and Safe Communities Committee". Capitol Fax. Retrieved December 9, 2018.