A single mother, an educator, and a fighter for working families
Litesa began her career as a counselor, working with children and adults experiencing mental health issues as well as child abuse victims, families in crisis, and people with histories of substance abuse. After completing her master’s degree and doctorate at Northern Illinois University, Litesa worked as an adjunct professor at NIU and at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.
Throughout her career, Litesa has fought for families just like her own. Her accomplishments have particularly helped at-risk women and foster children.
In the House of Representatives, Litesa has earned a reputation as an adept policy-maker able to lead fellow legislators to support causes she believes in. Her legislative accomplishments include:
- Expanding eligibility for affordable childcare
- Prohibiting defendants from using the sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim as a defense against a murder charge
- Creating a legislative task force to discuss opportunities for at-risk women
- Requiring training for employees in Illinois schools regarding civil rights and cultural diversity
- Expanding the Foster Children’s Bill of Rights to improve foster care placements
- Creating definitions and penalties for hate crimes
- Supporting homeless minors in accessing the resources they need
Litesa’s experiences as a single mother, counselor, and educator drew her to become more involved in local government. She began volunteering, working directly with policy-makers on the issues most important to her. After serving as chief of staff to State Representative Charles E. Jefferson, Litesa won her first election to the Illinois House of Representatives in 2014. She was re-elected in 2016.