The election results are in! Democrat Carol Ammons, with 10,859 votes, beat Republican Kristin Williamson with 6,122 votes for State Representative in the 103rd district of the Illinois House of Representatives. Ammons is the first African-American woman to claim State Representative for her district, making this a historic moment for African Americans in Champaign County.
“Thank you, thank you, thank every last one of you. I am so honored to be here standing with you tonight. We did it!” These were Ammons’ joyful proclamations following the announcement that she had won a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives. “I feel great, I really do. I feel great about the results.” Ammons has had a great amount of support from students and community members.
“Our campaign really worked hard. All of the unions, all of their members, all of our organizers, and grassroots activists in this community came together and we organized a campaign that responded to the people needs, and I’m so excited about it. Students from the University and Parkland College played a major role in canvassing, door-knocking, strategy-planning and map-drawing. We’ve done just about everything you have probably learned in class, we did in this campaign and I am just completely indebted to the students. They have done an excellent job registering voters, community members have registered thousands of voters with our students from the University and Parkland College and it was really a collective effort.”
The newly elected Democrat is taking over for retired six-term State Representative Naomi Jakobsson. As State Representative, Ammons will take on the rigorous tasks of researching proposed changes to laws, passing bills into law, meeting face-to-face with the people that they represent, and finding federal grants and private investors for funding.
Illinois 103rd District’s previous State Representative, Naomi Jakobsson, sponsored legislation to require schools to report cases of child abuse to authorities and to crack down on sex offenders who may want to harm our children by giving those offenders lifetime court supervision. Jakobsson also sponsored legislation that increases the senior citizen homestead exemption and allows elderly homeowners to freeze their property tax assessment and avoid an increase in their tax bill. While working on the County Board, on which Ammons served for five years, she worked to refocus criminal justice resources on prevention instead of continuing to spend taxpayer dollars to house non-violent offenders. This was in contradiction to the platform of former State Representatives.
Ammons established wind farms in her county. She also worked to preserve the Mahomet aquifer. She has improved the quality of rental housing and helped homeowners afford sewer repairs.
Ammons is no stranger to charity work. She has worked in the social service sector as staff member for Catholic charities, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Regional Office of Education (READY Program). She is one of the co-founders of the CU Citizens for Peace and Justice, served on the Board of Directors for A Woman’s Fund, has run soup kitchens and organized drives to collect school supplies for children that come from low income households.
The newly elected State Representative is married with three children and one grandchild. Her youngest son attends public school. Her husband is the President of his Service International Employees Union (SIEU) chapter.
Ammons plans to do a number of exemplary things such as provide civil and human rights, protect our environment, provide rights for workers, and provide prosperity for working families. “We’re going to do some great work,” Ammons says. “It’s gonna be challenging and we won’t get everything that we want when we want it, but that’s how we’ve been working in this community, but we keep striving forward. And when challenges come, I ask that you don’t abandon the mission and when I send out the SOS, I ask that you respond, because it’s going to be really difficult work for the next couple of years and we need you to make it happen.” Ammons is very appreciative for all of the admirable help from members of the community. “So everything you’ve done tonight, I say we celebrate with victorious grace. And we thank our opponent for making us strong and for making us work. Because we didn’t want it because it was Democratic district like some were right, but we won it because we worked hard. We knocked on thousands of doors, we made thousands of phone calls, we wrote thousands of thank you cards. We sent out every mission that we could to make sure that people knew what our mission was and they responded. And to the voters of Champaign-Urbana I am grateful to be your State Representative and our door will be open to you, we’ve made a suggestion box already. Because we want to hear from you and we want to do the work of this community. So if we do anything within the next couple of months, lets do at least one thing, lets make sure that they don’t dump PCB’s and manufacture gas products in our water. Lets have clean water and lets do it together. Thank you all so much.”
Ammons is pro-choice and believes that decisions about pregnancy, birth control, fertilization and in-vitro fertilization should be left to each individual woman to make with her physician and without government interference. Ammons plans to vote in favor of the Reproductive Health and Access Act, and she intends to vote to repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion Act.
She will be working for equal rights in education, public accommodations, employment, housing and credit for all people disregarding their sexual orientation or gender identity. Ammons will actively work for equal marriage rights for all Illinois residents.
She will work with disability rights advocates to ensure equality for people with disabilities, as well as advocating for greater investment in mental health services. She will work on legislation that will put more resources into a comprehensive approach to help ex-offenders gain control of their lives and contribute positively to our communities. She will work with other legislators to secure the private-public partnerships needed to build high speed rail which will connect our community to Chicago. Ammons is also committed to supporting our local public transportation and making our community more pedestrian and biker friendly. She will oppose legislation that requires all voters to show photo identification or other, similar measures that impose unnecessary barriers to voting. She supports a pathway to citizenship and working at the local and statewide level to keep our immigrant families together.
With almost 11,000 winning votes, the support of the students and community members, and Ammons’ promising platform, she has is a promising service oriented leader of the people. She plans to create a better community with ordinary people in mind. Carol Ammons and the 103rd District have a lucrative future forthcoming.