Ushering in a Young Perspective
Within a year Edgar Gonzalez Jr. went from Harvard graduate to congressional staffer to State Representative. Not only did Edgar graduate from the most top-ranked and prestigious university in the world, but he was determined to go back to his community and work directly for his neighbors by joining Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s in-district staff.
Edgar comes from a Mexican immigrant family. His father is an operating engineer in IUOE Local 399 and his mother is a former member of SEIU Local 73.
At 23, he is currently the youngest legislator in the Illinois General Assembly, the youngest Democrat in modern history and the youngest Latino ever in the IGA, all while juggling memberships in associate boards and political organizations.
Edgar joined the General Assembly in January of 2020, but along with the world was forced to transition to working remotely once the pandemic hit. After recovering from COVID himself, he focused his attention on his district and many others with a large portion of black and brown communities that still had high positivity rates of COVID and low counts for the Census. He collaborated with other elected officials and community organizations to combat food insecurity, provide community members with PPE, and assure people their information was confidential when filling out the Census.
He got creative by holding food and PPE giveaways and hosting free wash events at local laundromats to incentivize people to fill out the Census. After the Census deadline passed, he continued to do outreach by informing small businesses about state and county grants available for those hardest hit by the pandemic and is continuously working on legislation to help working families. Edgar aims to continue working for his community.
Words of wisdom: “If you are new to something, it’s okay to think differently and have a lot of questions, but it’s never okay to avoid seeking answers to those questions.”