La Shawn K. Ford

Elected in 2007 to the Illinois House of Representatives representing the 8th District, Rep. Ford is an outspoken advocate for his constituents. Rep. Ford is focused on social justice and disparities in employment, education, and the healthcare system. He has also worked to increase opportunities for ex-offenders, foster small business development, improve access to affordable housing, expand protections for our veterans, safeguard our environment and address our state’s fiscal health. 

La Shawn is a firm believer in the power of responsible parenting and established the Council on Responsible Fatherhood, which aims to support fathers and help them to become more responsible and present. La Shawn consistently advocates for increased access to financial resources and institutions for marginalized communities and promotes the value of education among students in his district.

La Shawn’s own upbringing defines his philosophy as a public servant. Born to an unwed teenage mother in the Cabrini-Green housing projects, La Shawn never knew his father and was adopted by his grandmother. He learned the value of hard work at a young age, earning money for his family by shoveling snow, mowing lawns, collecting bottles and cans for recycling, and stocking produce in the local grocery store. His drive to help people at an early age earned him the moniker of “The Alderman” in Chicago’s West Side Austin neighborhood.

La Shawn was the first member of his family to attend a four-year college after attending Weber High School. He graduated from Loyola University, where he played basketball and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education and a minor in political science.

Before becoming a legislator, Rep. Ford taught social studies and coached basketball in the Chicago Public Schools at Bridge Elementary on the Northwest Side and worked as a precinct captain in the Austin neighborhood where he grew up. A licensed real estate broker, Rep. Ford founded Ford Desired Real Estate in 2001. He is also an Illinois licensed insurance agent and continues to be licensed as a teacher.

La Shawn is an outspoken advocate for his community through his WVON-AM radio show, cable TV show on CAN-TV, and frequent columns in the Austin Voice and North Lawndale/Garfield Park Voice newspapers. He hosts frequent town hall meetings, small group discussions, and other opportunities to connect directly with his community.

  Since 2007, La Shawn has been re-elected six times to continue his advocacy for the 8th District, a diverse set of communities including the West Side of Chicago and the suburbs of Oak Park, Berwyn, North Riverside, Forest Park, Proviso Township, Brookfield, La Grange Park, La Grange and Western Springs.

La Shawn continues to serve the 8th District with integrity and a commitment to improving the lives of all members of his community. La Shawn lives in the Austin community and is the proud father of daughter, Tia.