Category: VRL Blog

VoteRunLead Alumnae Win Big in Illinois

11 VoteRunLead alumnae were on the Illinois Primary ballot on Tuesday, March .

With 7 VoteRunLead women winning, that makes a 63% win rate for VoteRunLead alumnae! Four women fought the good the fight.

Nine of the eleven alumnae are women of color, 86% of winners are women of color.

VoteRunLead congratulates all of them for running as they are!


  • The big news of the night was Lauren Underwood, who sailed through her primary with nearly 60% of the vote. At 31 years old, Lauren becomes the first woman and first African American to vie for the 14th Congressional District in the general election!
  • She is joined by Sara Dady, an immigration attorney, who won the nomination for the 16th Congressional District.

At the local and state level:

  • Congratulations to Karina Villa, running to be the next State Representative for IL-49;
  • Mary Catherine Roberson, is now ready for the general election for Vermilion County Clerk;
  • Erika Orr is looking to be the next Circuit Court Judge for Cook County, 1st Subcircuit;
  • Jessica Thomas won her primary for Peoria County Auditor, and
  • Joyce Mason, was unopposed for her primary bid to represent District 61 in the State House.

We are proud of Bushra Amiwala, who at 20 years old ran for the Cook County Commission, Tiesha Smith, for 2nd Circuit Court, Dilara Sayeed for the State House, and Sameena Mustafa, who was aiming to be the first woman of color to go to Congress from District 5. Although they are not moving on to the general election, we honor them!

What Winners are Saying About VoteRunLead

Erika Orr  for Circuit Court Judge

“VoteRunLead is everything and my sessions definitely prepared me for my race!”



Joyce Mason for State Representative

“VoteRunLead helped me  realize that my education, my community service, and my years of experience as a business leader, educator and mother make me very qualified to effectively represent the people in my district and and legislate on their behalf.”                


Gender, Women and Democracy

How to engage the next generation of political activists? My Uncle Sib recruited me to be a neighborhood foot soldier for his favored candidates as soon as I entered kindergarten. You wanted campaign flyers, buttons, bumper stickers? I was your connection.

Read more

How Does Your State Rank in the National Representation Index?

America is a nation founded on an ideal that all people are equal and have a stake in how our nation is governed. While we may not always succeed, ours is a history of pursuing this vision. It’s not enough that women and citizens of all races can vote – every American must also have equal access to lead and representation.

Who Leads Us is a project of Women Donors Network. Their goal is to provide the American people with a way to measure our progress toward a democracy where our leaders reflect the people they serve. The data you see presented on the above widget comes from a first-of-its-kind exploration of the race and gender composition of more than 42,000 American elected officials, conducted in the Summer of 2014. This data was analyzed in comparison to Census data, confirming that the face of America’s leadership bears little resemblance to our country’s population.

We’re strongest when our leadership reflects the full range of talent and lived experience that America has to offer. That’s why we’re working for change. Together with other advocates and funders, we are working to level the playing field for all who wish to represent their communities in elected office. Let’s build a democracy that reflects all of us.

Who Leads Us?