State Representative Maurice West is serving his second term representing the 67th House District in Rockford, IL.
A Rockford native, Rep. West serves on four committees, which are the Appropriations for Higher Education, Higher Education, Mental Health, and Judiciary - Criminal.
During his first term in office, Rep. West spearhead or contributed to efforts that helped move Illinois forward. He is particularly proud of his work to enhance worker skills and close the skills gap in the Rockford community by bringing over $2 million for training and youth employment. He also committed himself to being a strong advocate for mental health and restorative justice. Rep. West’s work for his community boils down to one foundational truth: creating opportunities everywhere for everyone in the 67th District.
Rep. West is a proud graduate of Jefferson High School, class of 2003. After high school he went on to receive his Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Sociology from Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, and Master's degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. After completing his education he came back to Rockford and began working at Rock ValleyCollege (RVC) as a Career Counselor for the Dislocated Workers Program. For three and a half years he assisted people within the community who were laid-off from their jobs to find new work and/or be retrained to become more marketable in the workforce. While at RVC, he received the Booker Washington Community Center’s 25 Black Leaders to Watch Young Leader on the Rise Award in 2012.
Rep. West is heavily involved in his community. He is an ordained minister and an active member of his church. He encourages those that are homeless on a monthly basis at a local homeless shelter. He's the founder of the Share the Warmth - Rockford, which provides warm articles of clothing for the homeless each year. He served as a community member for the Education Committee for the Rockford Public School Board and the Rockford Park District Foundation. He also served on the boards for the Community Action Agency, Rockford Area Arts Council and Rockford Association for Minority Management. In 2014, the Register Star recognized Rep. West as one of the 14 to Watch in 2014 for his community activism. He also ran for political office in 2013 (city council) and 2015 (community college trustee).
Maurice recently worked at Rockford University as the Director of Career Development since 2013. He is also an award-winning music composer and founder of TheWESTMelodies.
A month before being sworn-in for his first term, Maurice married his beautiful bride, Leslie. They are proud parents of Brein McKenzie, who was born on September 23, 2020!
MY VISION STATEMENT.
In 2012, shortly before entering the political arena as a City Council candidate, I had the opportunity to walk home from my job at the Dislocated Workers Program (303 N. Main Street). I lived in the historic Haight Village neighborhood, so I was able to cross the river and enjoy the historic buildings in our downtown. I had several occasions, as I walked to and from work, to just imagine the potential for our downtown - for our city. Former Mayor Larry Morrissey had this statement that he branded throughout his time in office. Excellence Everywhere, Excellence for Everyone. As I walked our city streets, I yearned for that to be so, especially on the west side and south side of Rockford. I saw that we needed JOBS, I saw that we even needed GROCERY STORES on the other side of the river. I saw that crime was high, and that our schools were in need of resources and quality teachers on the other side of the river. I learned that when you cross the river to go WEST you are on the side that is called downtown Rockford. Our city is classified into two parts: I-90 Rockford & Downtown Rockford. And, unfortunately, you can see the difference between the two.
Now, I am honored to serve as State Representative for, the other side of the river, the 67th DISTRICT. As your representative, my vision is to work to get rid of the two parts of Rockford, my goal is to remove the italicizes for the other side of the river, and make it a bold and vibrant district. The 67th district is home of the Chicago-Rockford International Airport and other vibrant businesses and residents on the southeast side of Rockford. I want to see a stronger and busier airport for commercial and passenger airlines. I desire to see our schools, from Head Start to Rockford University, to come together strategically to decrease our SKILLS GAP, the gap between what kind of skills employers need to hire, and what skills are available among applicants. I believe that tackling that gap will be the progressive movement towards bringing new jobs to our district, lowering the crime, and reducing our property taxes.
I want to see a Rockford with no dividers.
I know that we can get there. I know that it can be done. It will take effort, strategy, and collaboration. Collaboration not just among your elected officials, but collaboration among the community as a whole. As your State Representative, it's not about me, and what I can do. It is about us, and what WE can do for our district, for our city, and for our State.
Hope all is well with you and your family.