Western Courier

Western’s NAACP presents gubernatorial candidates

Senator Daniel Biss and State Representative and Western alumna Litesa Wallace prepare to share insight on political issues at Thursday's meet and greet in Morgan Hall.

Senator Daniel Biss and State Representative and Western alumna Litesa Wallace prepare to share insight on political issues at Thursday's meet and greet in Morgan Hall.

Chris Holling/courier staff

Chris Holling/courier staff

Senator Daniel Biss and State Representative and Western alumna Litesa Wallace prepare to share insight on political issues at Thursday's meet and greet in Morgan Hall.

Isaiah Herard, News Editor

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political atmosphere as Western Illinois University has struggled with the budget impasse over the past two years, Western’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) hosted gubernatorial candidate State Senator Daniel Biss and Western alumna State Representative Litesa Wallace to share their political prestige with students at the university.

 Wallace is a Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives, serving the Rockford-based 67th district. Wallace is running for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in the Democratic primary alongside Biss.

 Wallace said her foundation at Western is the leading factor in helping her become the woman she is today and one of the reasons why she can help lead a political campaign to help improve the current state of Illinois.

 “I developed a lot of skills while I was here at Western,” Wallace said. “All I knew is that I was going to go out and save the world. I knew I wanted to help people, but the relationships I built at Western are very important. Also, the down times here at Western taught me a lot about myself, built my moral character and taught me about my strength and my will.”

 Biss, a member of the Illinois State Senate, serving the 9th district since January 2013, said Wallace is the perfect running mate because of her high knowledge of how the government works and her solid moral base.

 “I asked Litesa to join this ticket with me because she’s got the values and the life experience,” Biss  said. “She knows our government doesn’t work well enough and knows what it takes to make them sufficient. We’re going to fight for a state that can work for the rest of us … not just the rich.”

 Biss and Wallace highlighted the Illinois budget impasse. Both agreed the impasse was unconstitutional and led to economic chaos throughout Illinois.

 Due to the  budget impasse, Illinois was without a state budget for fiscal years 2016, 2017 and part of 2018. As a result, the budget impasse negatively affected Illinois’ economy and public confidence in Illinois’ state government has significantly decreased.

 According to Western’s NAACP President Naisha Joyner, the meet-and-greet raised awareness about political issues and increased political involvement on campus.

This particular event was to help raise awareness as well as knowledge about the importance of political awareness,” Joyner said. “We find events like this really important because a lot of African Americans don’t find it important to vote or to be involved in politics. We like to get people educated and spread awareness about issues they could actually have a voice and say in.”

 Mercedes Joyner, presiding member of the NAACP, said Biss and Wallace brought a level of knowledge and prestige that inspired students to come together and spearhead political issues.

“They serve to be very inclusive as well as empathetic with the people they serve,” Mercedes Joyner said. “They are very hands on with finding out problems and coming up with solutions. I do believe that students gained enough power and knowledge to spread their opinions and voices on topics they are passionate about.”

 Mercedes Joyner also felt the most inspiring part of the meet and greet with the two candidates was the sense of humility and passion they brought to the environment.

 “The two of them together expressing and addressing what their willing to represent was very important,” Mercedes Joyner said. “Listening to them explain their backgrounds helped create a sense of reality and their humbleness is inspiring. The very fact that they came is amazing.”

 According to Mercedes and Naisha Joyner, The NAACP on campus plays an active role in political activism as well as takes on the role of educating and empowering students while welcoming diversity. The event served as a give and take experience.

“As a connecting organization on campus I thought it would be a great idea to have our general assembly as well as our young black students on campus to be involved in political issues,” Naisha Joyner said. “We often talk about things we are dissatisfied with on campus, and here we can put those concerns into action.  Which is why this will be in place of our normal meeting times. We are an organization that stands for knowledge being wealth. What better way to educate than to stand behind something 100 percent.”

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Western’s NAACP presents gubernatorial candidates