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Women in Government

Evelyn Sanguinetti 2017 HONOREE

Lieutenant Governor, Illinois

Evelyn Sanguinetti didn’t get mad, she got even. After a fall on city property a decade ago caused a severe injury, she decided to do something about it. Sanguinetti ran for city council, pledging to maintain sidewalks and provide public safety. “When you’re personally affected,” she says, “that’s when you get into office.”

Now, as the nation’s first Latina lieutenant governor, Sanguinetti has a much broader portfolio. She's traveled to every county in Illinois to work on rural issues and serves as Gov. Bruce Rauner's appointee to the Board revamping school funding formulas. She’s all about making sure government works, because “I want every kid to have the same opportunity I was able to have.” 

Sanguinetti was born to teenage immigrant parents who instilled in her the value of education, which for her included training as a classical pianist. Around the time of her accident, Sanguinetti was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Rather than let that stop her, she decided her best course was to continue pushing forward. She almost can’t believe where she’s ended up. “If you had told me where I’d be 10 years ago, I would have really cracked up,” she says. “I never wanted a career in politics.”

Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.