Leslie Collazo

Leslie Collazo

On May 2, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an election law change in the middle of a campaign year. It ends “slating,” a process through which candidates could be put on the general election ballot by local parties after the primary election. There are 78 active Statehouse races affected, many with potential candidates who had put weeks of work into getting on the ballot. Leslie Collazo is one of them. She intends to run against LaShawn Ford, who has been in office since 2007.

“We had started the petitioning process, canvassing the neighborhood, collecting signatures. I had already started building out websites, investing in some technology that we could use to just get the word out. We were about halfway in as far as the number of petitions that we needed.”

“Then with this bill, the rug got pulled out from under me. I was shocked. But then again, I feel like I shouldn’t be shocked, considering how things are going in our government currently.”

“They’ve gone to great, great extents to block people from having access to candidates who can be a voice for them.”

“I’m a woman, of Puerto Rican descent, born and raised here in the United States. I’m a professional. I’m a businesswoman. I’m a Realtor. I help my community. I’m raising a family together with my husband of almost 20 years, a Marine Corps veteran. Running for office should be available to women like me who want to make a difference. Why am I in a position where someone is trying to break that down?”

“Knowing that it can actually happen is kind of scary to me. Because it starts with this, but what will be next?”

“This is bigger than just, ‘Oh, I put all this time, energy, funds, toward this.’ The fact they can try to pull this in the middle of the process is more devastating. The greater cost is to allow this to happen. To not give people an option to put someone in office who will be a voice for them. I think people deserve better than that.”

“And I think the other side is nervous because the people have spoken and they’re ready for change. To see them grappling with these types of things at the last minute to avoid losing their position is really unfair.”

“Three things I wanted to run on in this campaign were: integrity, because I feel like we lack that; transparency, we lack that as well; and efficacy. Because what I’m hearing on the street is we only see politicians when they want to be elected. Once they’re elected, we never hear from them again. And then they create these laws that negatively affect my life.”

Leslie Collazo
Potential candidate, Illinois House District 8
Chicago, Illinois

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