Charise Williams

For Congress (IL-01)

Portrait ofFor Congress (IL-01)

Position Sought

U.S. Congress (IL-01)

Current Position

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (Previous)

Date of Primary Election

June 28, 2022

Date of General Election

November 8, 2022


As a graduate of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, Charise possesses a mastery of progressive issues that directly correlates to the transformation and sustainability of urban communities and their residents who live, work, and invest in their neighborhoods.

Charise’s last professional position was at the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) as the Deputy Director and Chief of Staff. In this role, she served as the Acting Executive Director’s senior advisor. She managed agency operations and the department while planning and directing all administrative, financial, and operational activities. She was also responsible for a $500M budget, oversaw 90 employees, and implemented policy decisions and research on criminal justice reform.

Most recently, Charise advised on Covid-19 relief funding; worked with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) to disburse statewide violence prevention funding; and implemented and administered the Restore, Renew, and Reinvest Program (R3), which invests 25% of recreational cannabis sales’ into communities with the highest unemployment, poverty, gun violence, and incarceration rates.

Prior to her last role, Charise worked as the Director of External Affairs for the Chicago Federation of Labor. Here, she was responsible for stewarding the CFL brand, lobbying local and state policies, conceptualizing, developing, and facilitating projects related to the brand’s commitment. Charise was the first woman and person of color as a founding board member of HIRE360.

Charise also worked as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civic Engagement at the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, where she developed a network of external partnerships, political allies, internal partners, and community leaders. Overall, she has extensive experience in collaborating with urban communities and is heavily inspired to be the voice for those who do not have a seat at the table.

In December 2020, Crain’s Chicago Business recognized Charise as one of their 2021 Notable Black Leaders and Executives. Charise also serves on the boards for Emerald South and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business’ IMPACT Alumni Association, which strives to move the needle toward racial parity in leadership positions by developing and supporting emerging African-American leaders. Charise is extremely active in criminal justice reform and works relentlessly with multiple community organizations throughout Chicago and Cook County. 

With her years of experience, leadership skills, and network of leaders in the community, media, faith-based organizations, and politics, Charise has made significant strides towards the 1st district’s prosperity. Her focus is on increasing economic development through employment, education, strengthening families/households, and community building. She is committed to ensuring that the 1st district will have all the resources and policies needed to build and sustain its community for now and future generations.