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Alumni E-News

Lance Tyson ’93 gained confidence at Lake Forest then, to run for office today

If you’re from the Chicago area, you might have heard Lance Tyson’s name in the news recently. The ’93 graduate is running for office.

Tyson, who majored in politics at the College, hopes to uproot incumbent Derrick Smith as the 10th District State Representative. Why? Because Smith reportedly was indicted on charges of bribery and refused to step down, and Tyson wanted to give voters more than one name to choose from during the general election on Nov. 6.

Tyson’s interest in politics was evident during his studies at Lake Forest College. He was a member of the student organization Model Illinois Government, which traveled to Springfield to reenact the general assembly. He also wrote his thesis about principles of equality under the advisement of then-Professors Chuck Miller and Ghada Talhami, and Professor Lou Lombardi.

“It’s ironic now that I get a chance to apply some of those theories in action – mobilizing people, setting policy,” Tyson said.

Lombardi enjoyed working with Tyson, calling him “bright, dedicated, and engaging.”

“I expected — and hoped — his career direction would take him toward public interest/service,” Lombardi said. “In all his work, I was impressed with Lance’s commitment to understanding competing views as he formulated his own perspective.  Such skills are important for a democratic leader — even if they are in short supply these days.”

Tyson, who also was quarterback of the football team his sophomore year, says Lake Forest College is where he got his start in politics.

“Through Lake Forest, I got the chance to get involved in things and establish confidence,” he said.

The College is also one reason why he ended up in the Chicago area, where he is a partner at the Tyson Law Group, after growing up in Des Moines.

Tyson recently opened his campaign office and says the most exciting part of the election has been “talking to the constituents and hearing their stories and hearing their needs for government, their need for zealous representation.”

What makes his election experience unusual is that he had to form a new party, the 10th District Unity Party, in order to run against Smith, who already occupies the Democrat Party’s slot on the ballot.

On his website, Tyson writes, “In these times, our families across the District …share many of the same concerns. We want job opportunities, good schools, safe neighborhoods — and responsible representation.”

Because he is running as a third-party candidate for a newly established party, in order to run for the seat, Tyson had only 30 days to collect at least 1,500 signatures in an area of Illinois with a large transient population. He collected 7,200 – a feat, he says, that “sent a shockwave through the state.”

The governor took notice as well as voters who wanted to make sure they have a choice in the election.

“Now, it’s just delivering the message,” he said.

Tyson earned his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. His public service includes acting as legislative counsel to the mayor of the City of Chicago for five years and as chief of staff to the president of the Cook County Board for two years. Click here to learn more about Tyson’s campaign.