Buckner settles in as State Rep in 26th
August 2, 2019

Kambium Buckner became State Representative in the 26th District earlier this year.

When 26th District State Representative Christian Mitchell resigned his seat on January 11 to join Governor JB Pritzker’s administration as a deputy governor, Democratic committeemen from the ten wards that compose the district chose Kambium Buckner to take Mitchell’s seat.

The 26th District stretches from the South Loop to Bronzeville.

Buckner, a onetime University of Illinois football player, most recently was executive director of World Sport Chicago, an organization that increases youth access to sports. A Bronzeville resident, lawyer, and former aide to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Buckner was the committeemen’s unanimous choice and was sworn in soon after.

Since his appointment, Buckner, the son of a Chicago public school teacher and sheriff’s deputy, said he is proud of the role he played in creating the recent State budget, increased funding for neighborhood schools and colleges and universities while adding funding to improve roads and bridges.

Buckner also supported crime equity laws that will clean up drug offenders’ records after recreational marijuana becomes legal Jan. 1.

“After years of advocacy from communities that have been devastated by the ‘War on Drugs,’ thousands of people will be eligible to have their records expunged, reducing barriers to housing and jobs, and a dedicated portion of tax revenue will be invested in the communities most impacted by the criminalization of marijuana,” Buckner said.

Buckner said he has focused on other legislative work since becoming a State Representative, including raising the minimum wage and supporting women’s reproductive rights. He noted his work helping ensure Illinois will continue as a safe state for women seeking necessary medical care, especially concerning reproductive issues and rights.

Buckner comes to Springfield with a diverse background. One of four children from a family of educators and first responders, he has a special love of music.

“I come from a very musical family, as my father [Ray Buckner] was a lead singer in a popular soul group [Buck] in the ‘60s and ’70s and cousin to soul music legend Major Lance and R&B singer Jennifer Hudson,” he said.

Buckner plans to continue working on criminal justice reform and economic development and giving “opportunities to people and communities that have been forgotten, while making sure our business sector has the tools to continue to thrive,” he said.

He serves on several committees: Appropriations for Elementary and Secondary Education, Child Care Access and Early Childhood, Higher Education, Judiciary-Criminal, Transportation-Vehicles and Safety, and Firearms and Firearm Safety.

His tenure has not been free of controversy. On March 29, police arrested Buckner in Springfield and charged him with driving under the influence when they noticed him asleep in his car at 3 a.m. at a stoplight. Buckner said he was asleep because of “exhaustion,” and he pled not guilty on April 12. The case’s resolution remains pending as of this writing.

Concerning the DUI, Buckner referred Gazette Chicago to his attorney, Monroe McWard, who did not respond to inquiries.

Buckner earned his BA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his JD from DePaul University College of Law. He also formerly was manager of neighborhood and government relations for the Chicago Cubs.

He will be up for election in the March 2020 Democratic primary.

Buckner’s office is at 449 E. 35th St. Call (773) 924-1755 or email buckner@illinois26.com.

—Joseland Nixon