A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

First elected to the Peoria County Auditor position in 2018, Jessica L. Thomas became the first African American and youngest woman elected to a county-wide seat in Peoria County’s 193-year history. In this role, she is responsible for the ongoing internal audit of operations and financial records of the officers, agents and division of the County. She has helped resolve numerous contractual issues, set up a vendor tracking system, improved the digitization of documents, established new reporting procedures to track expenditures, and engaged with the community to create a more open dialogue with residents.

A Silver Life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Thomas has been active with the Peoria NAACP branch, serving on the Executive Committee and chairing the Young Adults Committee, which was re-established in 2018. Under her leadership, the committee has increased membership; rechartered the Bradley University chapter; and hosted a range of events including voter registration drives, a Christmas coat drive for the Boys and Girls Clubs, and a COVID-19 educational forum for young adults. A 2019 graduate of the NAACP’s inaugural NextGen Young Professional Leadership Program, she is now the program’s Illinois state lead, engaging alumni and the most recent cohort in the initiatives of the NAACP.

Thomas currently serves as first vice president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Peoria Alumnae chapter. In her previous role as social action chair, she developed the award-winning You Count Program, which was designed to increase voter registration, education and mobilization in the community. She is a member of the South-West Kiwanis Club of Peoria and the 2019 Progressive Ally Award winner for the Peoria People’s Project, which advocates for key issues affecting Peoria and working families across Illinois. She also serves on the WCBU Public Radio Community Advisory Board and is active with Girl Scouts of Central Illinois.PM