On March 4th, SAAPRI co-hosted the Illinois Senate District 8 and House District 17 Candidate Forum on Asian American Women and Communities at Oakton Community Center in Skokie, IL. Senate District 8 and House District 17 have some of the highest API populations, with District 8 being the highest at 25% Asian American residents. The event began with a voter education session and discussion on gun violence, gender-based violence and discrimination, reproductive and immigrant rights, and other issues of importance to the Asian American community. The candidates from each race then shared their plans to address these issues and support the Asian American community.
The results are in, and Ram Villivalam won the Democratic primary election contest for Senate District 8 (51.3%). No Republican candidates are contesting Villivalam in this district, and he will be the first South Asian American to serve in the Illinois General Assembly. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D) and Peter Lee (R) will face each other in the general election for House District 17 — the winner in November will be the second Asian American in the Illinois House.
We were honored to partner with National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Apna Ghar, Indo-American Center, KAN-WIN, and HEART Women & Girls for this candidate forum and look forward to exploring new ways to build Asian American presence and power together.