Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr.

SEN. ELGIE R. SIMS, JR. serves as State Senator for the 17th Illinois Senate District, which includes portions of the South Side of Chicago, Chicago’s South Suburbs, and Will and Kankakee counties. Prior to joining the Illinois Senate, he served nearly four terms as State Representative of Illinois’ 34th House District.

As State Senator, Elgie continues to put families and communities first. During his time in the Illinois General Assembly, Elgie has championed legislation focused on improving the quality of our schools, strengthening the middle class by creating good paying jobs and economic opportunities, bringing fiscal discipline to Springfield and passing commonsense public safety initiatives with the aim of making our streets safer.

Elgie believes deterrence from the criminal justice system requires investments in alternatives to incarceration, including education, stable health care, job readiness, an abundance of economic opportunities and good paying jobs.

Elgie currently serves as the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, and has shown his commitment to educating young people throughout Illinois by supporting education funding reform, a law designed to level the playing field for P-12 schools statewide. Also, as a budget negotiator he has negotiated spending plans that provide greater investments in schools from preschool through college.

One of Elgie’s main focuses is creating economic opportunities and good-paying jobs. He passed a law requiring the State of Illinois to create a plan to address the crisis of high unemployment among young people. He also worked to pass a law to help revitalize the local economy by allowing low-interest loans to small and minority- and women-owned businesses working on transportation projects for the State of Illinois. In addition, Elgie passed the Illinois Home Grown Business Opportunity Act, which aims to help support and grow Illinois businesses by identifying existing and underused state resources in an effort to help business owners better compete with companies in neighboring states.

A member of the Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee, Elgie is one of Illinois’ leading voices in the effort to reform our state’s criminal justice system. Also during his tenure as State Senator, Elgie spearheaded efforts to pass a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill that will change the current use of force policy, how courts impose bail and sentence convicts, and advance rights to all Illinois citizens, including detainees and prisoners, to better improve interactions with law enforcement professionals.

Elgie believes prison should be reserved for those who are threats to public safety, not those who commit crimes of poverty or are the result of mental illness or substance abuse problems. Widely regarded as a knowledgeable lawmaker with an ability to forge compromise, Elgie led efforts to move Illinois away from the use of cash bail, through passage of the Bail Reform Act of 2017. The law focuses on an individual’s threat to public safety or likelihood of being a flight risk not, their ability to pay a cash bail.

A firm believer in second chances, Elgie believes that once a person has paid their debt to society they should enjoy the rights and opportunities of citizenship. For that reason, he helped pass a law giving more Illinois residents with criminal histories the opportunity to turn their lives around and obtain gainful employment by allowing certain non-violent crimes to be sealed if the offender has not been in any additional trouble and passes a mandatory drug test.

Elgie also led efforts for Illinois to become the first state in the nation to pass legislation to improve community and law enforcement relations. The Police and Community Relations Improvement Act has been used as model legislation for fostering stronger ties between police and the neighborhoods they protect and serve. The Act establishes and includes statewide protocols for the implementation of body cameras and training requirements for law enforcement officers.

Elgie is also one of the leading voices seeking to implement commonsense gun laws by keeping guns out of the hands of those who are a threat to themselves or others. He helped pass a law requiring universal background checks and the reporting of lost or stolen guns within 72 hours. He also helped pass a law that creates a 72-hour waiting period before any gun can be received after a purchase. This gives law enforcement more time to complete background checks and provide a “cooling off” period for people who may hurt themselves or someone else.

An attorney by trade, Elgie continues to make a positive impact on every community he is a part of, as he was always taught: “To whom much is given, much is required.” He remains active in many civic organizations whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the communities they serve. As a community leader, he has worked to provide scholarships and books to children in need and worked to make our communities safer.

Born in Chicago, Elgie holds a B.A. in political science from Illinois State University, an M.P.A. from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He and his wife reside in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood with their two daughters.


  • State Senator, 17th District
  • Of Counsel, Foley & Lardner LLP
  • Former State Representative, 34th District
  • Former Budget Director Illinois Senate Democrats under leadership of former Senate President Emil Jones, Jr.
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Cook County Bar Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • Member, National Bar Association


  • Member, Board of Directors, Chatham Park Place Homeowner's Association
  • Member, Chairman's Advisory Council, Big Shoulders Fund
  • Member, Chatham-Avalon Park Community Council
  • Member, Greater Chatham Alliance
  • Member, West Chesterfield Community Association
  • Member, Park Manors Neighbors Community Council
  • Member, South Holland Business Association
  • Member, Illinois State University, Black Colleagues Association
  • Member, University of Illinois at Springfield Alumni Association
  • Member, Loyola University Chicago Alumni Association
  • Past Member, National Board of Directors, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Chairman, Council of State Governments – Midwestern Legislative Conference



  • Edgar Fellow, University of Illinois
  • Career Day Speaker, Schmid Elementary School


  • “Living Legends Passing the Torch” Award, Black United Fund of Illinois
  • Legislative Champion, The Center for Developmental Advocacy and Disabilities Supports
  • Fellow, Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development, Council of State Governments – Midwest
  • Commencement Speaker, Clissold Elementary School
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Rosemoor Little League
  • Partners in Quality Award, Leading Age Illinois


  • Steve and Sandi Adams Legacy Hall of Fame, Illinois State University
  • Kentucky Colonel, Commissioned by Hon. Governor Steven L. Beshear of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Voice of Senior Care Award, Illinois Health Care Award
  • Regional Legislator of the Year, National Black Caucus of State Legislators
  • Trailblazer Award, Chatham Avalon Park Community Council
  • Fellow, Henry Toll Fellowship, Council of State Governments
  • Commencement Speaker, Kershaw Magnet School


  • Legislative Award, Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois
  • Legislative Excellence Award, Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois
  • Courageous Leadership Award, Save our Schools Coalition
  • Commencement Speaker, Thomas J. Higgins Elementary School
  • Monarch Man of the Year, Public Service, Monarch Foundation, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Xi Nu Omega Chapter


  • 2nd Vice-Chair, Midwestern Legislative Conference, Council of State Governments
  • John W. Maitland, Jr. Leadership Award, Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization
  • Legislative Service Award, Illinois Probation and Court Services Association
  • Legislative Service Award, ACLU of Illinois
  • CAARE Visionary Award, Safer Foundation
  • Principal for a Day, Je-Neir Elementary School and Manteno Elementary School
  • Honorary Chair, Evers Academy for African American Males (ATEAAM)
  • Excellence in Public Service Award, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Excellence in Service Award, Cassius L. Rudolph Scholarship Luncheon
  • Keynote Speaker, 29th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet


  • 1st Vice-Chairman, Midwestern Legislative Conference, Council of State Governments; elected Chairman for 2019
  • Emerging Leaders Program, State Legislative Leaders Foundation
  • Most Distinguished Men of Illinois, Continuing Academic Training Program
  • Legislative Service Award, ACLU of Illinois
  • Appointed, Vice-Chairman, National Conference of State Legislatures Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee
  • Friend of Agriculture Award, Illinois Farm Bureau
  • Recognition for “Excellence in Politics,” Bronzeville Academy
  • Career Day Speaker, Arthur L. Dixon Elementary School
  • Volunteer escort, Father-Daughter Dance, Miles Davis Magnet School
  • Commencement speaker, Arthur L. Dixon, Elementary School
  • Commencement speaker, Jane A. Neil Elementary School
  • Keynote Speaker, Concerned Christian Men, Annual Scholarship banquet.


  • Loyola University Chicago, School of Law, Juris Doctor
  • University of Illinois - Springfield, Master of Public Administration
  • Illinois State University, Bachelor of Science