Evelyn Sanguinetti will be Illinois' first Hispanic lieutenant governor

Evelyn Sanguinetti will be Illinois' first Hispanic lieutenant governor
Evelyn Sanguinetti

History was made in Tuesday’s election.

By electing Republican Bruce Rauner governor, Illinois voters also elevated his running mate, Evelyn Sanguinetti, making her the first Hispanic and first Latina to hold statewide office as lieutenant governor.

Sanguinetti, a member of the Wheaton City Council, is a lawyer and an adjunct professor at John Marshall Law School.

She had previously worked as an assistant Illinois attorney general during the tenure of former Republican Attorney General James E. Ryan.

She grew up in Miami, her parents are from Ecuador and Cuba, and her first language is Spanish.

Sanguinetti became known as the “sidewalk lady” because in 2007 she slipped on black ice on her way to a Metra train station in Wheaton and was seriously injured. That led her to sue the city and run for Wheaton City Council in 2011.

Her election as Illinois’ lieutenant governor is significant because less than 1 percent of elected officials in the U.S. are Hispanic women, according to a recent report by Latinas represent.

However, most Latino voters in Illinois cast their vote for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who still has not conceded defeat.  Rauner holds a lead of more than 150,000 votes. Latinos make up 10 percent of Illinois’ electorate and 77 percent voted for Quinn, according to Latino Decisions.

Around the country, Democrat Nellie Gorbea was elected Tuesday as Secretary of State in Rhode Island, making her the first Hispanic and Latina to hold statewide office in New England.

Also in New Mexico, Republican Susana Martinez was re-elected as governor. She is the only Hispanic female governor in the United States.

And Latino Brian Sandoval was re-elected governor in Nevada.

Also five additional women of color will join the U.S. Congress, including Democrat Norma Torres of California.

They will all hopefully bring diverse perspectives to elected office.

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