Illinois’ only Indian-American Senator gets another important assignment

Illinois State Senator Ram Villivalam, was sworn into office Jan. 5. Seen in picture are his mother holding the Bhagavad Gita, as his wife Elizabeth, and child look on. (Photo: Ram Villivalam)

Illinois State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), who represents the 8th District, has been appointed Chair of the Special Committee on Supplier Diversity in the Illinois Senate.

Villivalam is the first Indian-American elected to the Illinois General Assembly, and first Asian-American elected to the Illinois State Senate.

In his new appointment, Villivalam will work with members of the committee, Gov. Jay Pritzker’s administration, and stakeholders to evaluate and propose solutions to improve the diversity of the transportation and infrastructure work that is done in the state of Illinois, a Jan. 3, 2020 press release from the Indian-American State Senator’s office said.

The Special Committee on Supplier Diversity is primarily responsible for overseeing public and private sector organizations and ensuring that they offer diverse opportunities to small businesses and job growth for minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses.

“I look forward to expanding opportunities for women, minority, and veteran owned businesses around the state,” Villivalam said in a statement. “Supplier diversity is an issue I’ve been working on in the legislature and in my district. My work will prioritize equity while strengthening our economy, two critically important jobs of our state government,” he added.

In December 2019,Villivalam was appointed to serve on the Senate Special Committee on Pension Investments by Senate President John J. Cullerton. It was to fill the vacancy created by the departure of former State Senator Toi Hutchinson.

Villivalam was born and raised on the northwest side of Chicago. His parents came here in the 1970s.

Though his father and mother were a civil engineer and a teacher in India respectively, they had to work minimum wage jobs, go back to school, and work their way to more than 25 years each of public service, Villivalam’s biography notes on his website.

Prior to getting sworn in as the elected Senator on Jan. 5, 2019, Villivalam was an advocate of home care for seniors and people with disabilities, child care for working families, and Medicaid for those in need.

Prior to that, Senator Villivalam worked at the federal level of government for U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider as his Outreach Director. In this role, he was responsible for outreach on a variety of policy issues and had duties that ranged from signing people up for the Affordable Care Act to organizing Job Fairs.

He has been active in the Indian-American community as President of the Indo-American Democratic Organization (IADO).

He also serves on the Board of Gun Violence Prevention PAC.

Senator Villivalam lives with his wife, Elizabeth, and his son, Rohan, in the North Mayfair neighborhood in the City of Chicago.





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