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Joseph L. Simmons, Jr. is uniquely qualified to write “Just Buy My Vote”: African American Voting Rights, and the Chicago Condition because he grew up on the Southside of Chicago, and was an active participant in Chicago politics by organizing and fighting against the corrupt Daley Machine for several years. In addition to actively participating in many local elections, Joseph ran as a reform candidate for the Chicago City Council in 1995 and 1999. While Joseph was active in Chicago politics, he watched the beginning years of President Barack Obama’s political career in Chicago.

In 1996, Joseph was appointed Treasurer of the Chicago Board of Education (a/k/a Chicago Public Schools), the first African American to have ever held that position. Joseph, while discovering years of financial mismanagement at the Board, was subsequently forced to sue the Board of Education for both political and racial discrimination for his removal from the Treasurer position.

Joseph was also a plaintiff, and testified in a voting rights lawsuit against the City of Chicago (Barnett v. City of Chicago, 1997) a/k/a the “Chicago Ward Remap Case.” This lawsuit was successful in causing the re-drawing of city ward boundaries to increase the number of African American majority wards on the Southside of Chicago. And while living in Chicago, Joseph was a Board Member of the Citizens Information Services of Illinois (CIS), which among other things helped provide voter education services to the public, and in schools.

Joseph’s opinions are informed not just from growing up and operating politically on the Southside of Chicago, which is the best education you can’t pay for, but also having received his B.A. in Psychology from Northern Illinois University, and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Joseph moved from Chicago to Las Vegas in 2002, and since moving to Nevada has worked as a Realtor, transacting buying and selling real estate in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Valley.