Michael (Mike) Simmons (D-07)

State Senator Michael Simmons

Michael (Mike) Simmons (D-07)
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Capitol: 217.782.8492
FAX: 217.782.3242
District: 773.769.1717
Senator
Section F, Room L Stratton Office Building 401 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
5533 North Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Residence:Chicago, IL

Committee Assignments

Bio

Mike has brought his brand of activist leadership to the Senate introducing far-reaching proposals that go beyond incrementalism. He has introduced legislation that would create a $600 state-level per child tax credit for struggling parents, and legislation to expand health care to the uninsured by increasing the eligibility threshold for Medicaid. In his first four months in the Senate, he hit the ground running getting six bills passed with a strong equity focus, including the Jett Hawkins Act, which prohibits schools from discriminating against black students based on their hair, and a bill that requires the state to begin collecting data for LGBTQIA populations to make our community visible when it's time to fund programs and address systemic issues such as inequitable access to quality health care. Mike also passed legislation that supports survivors of sexual assault and harassment. He has been a vocal advocate for police accountability, vaccine equity, mental health parity, and he has fought to protect critical reproductive rights. One of his proudest votes was for the Illinois Way Forward Act which prohibits local law enforcement from collaborating with ICE, enacting some of the strongest protections for immigrants in the country. Mike is a product of struggle in the 7th District. He is the son of a single mom, Ramona, who opened her own small business in Rogers Park as a single parent with two children at the age of 31. She ran Salon Pastiche for 25 years and served a diverse clientele of people from all walks of life from all over Chicago's north side. Ramona instilled in Mike the values of compassion, tenacity in fighting for what is right, and a deep appreciation for people from all over the world. Mike's family was one of the first black families to integrate the Lincoln Square neighborhood in 1981, moving into public housing near Foster and Lincoln where Mike was raised in a multi-generational household with his mother, uncles and grandmother. Their home was one of the first scattered-site units built on the North Side in response to a Supreme Court housing desegration ruling, another historic first. Mike is also the son of an Ethiopian refugee, Mulugetta, who immigrated to Edgewater in the late 1970s fleeing the Red Terror. Mike is driven to serve the very communities that raised him and ensure their voices are heard in Springfield. Mike and his family have come through countless systemic barriers. As a youth, he was assaulted for being gay by a security guard and struggled with being bullied. After having to transfer to two schools, he became a straight A student, worked his way through high school, and eventually made it to Amherst College on a full ride scholarship. As a student he brought his bold activism and leadership to campus as student body president in organizing students to push the college to remove endowment funds from investment pools tied to a genocidal regime in Sudan. Throughout his career, both in the public sector as a legislative staffer on Capitol Hill for Senator Richard Durbin and as a social impact entrepreneur, he has consistently fought on behalf of disenfranchised communities to ensure their needs are met. In his roles as policy director at the County Board, he helped find funds to bring violence interrupter programs to Uptown. While at City Hall, he worked with organizers to pass ordinances that preserve affordable housing and protect renters in apartment buildings under foreclosure. He also led the fight against banks that were holding on to abandoned buildings and not securing them by passing the Vacant Property Ordinance over their fierce objections. He also worked with organizers to negotiate policy that protects the dignity of transgender residents during interactions with police. He helped get grocery stores built in areas with low access to fresh food. And he advocated for black, brown, indigenous, immigrant, and English language learners and their families at Brennemann Elementary School as an LSC member. After taking a one-year self-guided sabbatical in 2016 in Africa and Europe to reconnect with his family's ancestry, Mike launched his firm Blue Sky Strategies to give everyday people a stronger voice in shaping public policy and to give himself an independent platform to be an authentic agent for change. At his firm, Mike developed an anti-racist policy framework for the Cook County Consolidated Budget Plan, which seeks to rectify historical injustices like redlining. In 2020, Mike began as Deputy Director for the My Brother's Keeper Alliance at the Obama Foundation where he managed a portfolio of programs across the country intended to remove opportunity gaps for young men of color, and helped to build violence prevention and restorative justice programs and make them more queer-inclusive.

Election / Personal Info

First Elected: 02/08/2021    Next Election: 2022
Counties Representing
Cook