“The best thing I can do for my kids is lead by example. I want them to see their mom fighting and never backing down. I want to give them an example of a mother who fights, and struggles, and seeks a better life for herself, her family, and her community.”
State Senator Toi Hutchinson has spent the last fifteen years in public service, and has represented Cook, Will, and Kankakee counties since joining the state senate in 2009. She’s running for Congress because she’s tired of the partisan bickering in Washington and she believes we need to refocus on improving the economy, creating jobs, and investing in transportation and education. That’s the kind of leadership the Southland needs.
Toi was raised by her single mother and her grandparents. Her grandfather built his career as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman and always made sure he could provide for his family. He eventually became one of the company’s first African American branch managers. Toi’s passion for public speaking came from both her father and her grandfather, two men who raised Toi to believe that speaking up and speaking out is a responsibility for those with the opportunity.
When she was a child, Toi’s mother worked two jobs to make ends meet. She worked one job at a department store so that she could use the employee discount to purchase school supplies for her two daughters. Toi knows how tough it is for kids who don’t have the tools they need to do well in school, so when she became a state senator she worked with area businesses to give out 1,500 backpacks full of school supplies for needy children in the south suburbs.
In school, Toi was inspired by three English teachers—Mrs. Jolene Evans and Mr. David Levin at Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields and Mrs. Florence Giddings at Infant Jesus of Prague Elementary School in Flossmoor. After graduating from college at the University of Illinois at Urbana with a degree in English, she spent time as an English teacher at Rich Central High School. As a teacher Toi was impressed by the desire some kids have to learn and succeed, but she also recognized that other kids sometimes struggle to keep up. One student fell asleep every day in class because he worked night shifts to support his mom and younger siblings. Toi believes we have to do better for all students, because success in school means success in life and that will help create stronger, safer, smarter communities in the Second District.
In 2009 she was appointed to the state senate representing the 40th district. In Springfield, she passed legislation to build the Illiana Expressway, the first east-west highway to be constructed in Illinois since I-80. Toi has worked tirelessly to help negotiate the stalemate for the proposed 3rd airport. She has championed the extension of the Metra southeast service line that will connect Kankakee to Chicago, creating hundreds of jobs and cutting commute times for residents across the Southland. Toi knows that investing in our transportation infrastructure will create economic development corridors and jobs for the next 40 years.
Toi also worked with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to make Illinois the first state in the country to mandate the testing of rape kits within 10 days of submission so that survivors of sexual assault can build their case in court. She strengthened Illinois’ stalking laws by increasing penalties for Internet stalkers, and passed legislation that makes it easier for law enforcement to catch child predators over the internet.
Toi has been a tireless advocate for residents of the Southland and middle class families across Illinois, and she’s going to take that fight with her to Congress. In Congress, she’ll fight to protect programs seniors depend on like Medicare and Social Security, and she’ll continue the work she’s done in the state senate to support our schools and community colleges and invest in infrastructure projects that create jobs.
Toi lives in Olympia Fields with her husband Paul and three children.