Elections & Progressive Leadership
"There are three critical ingredients to democratic renewal and progressive change in America: good public policy, grassroots organizing and electoral politics.”
-- The Late Senator Paul Wellstone
Citizen Action/Illinois & The Progressive Action Project
- Advocating for progressive values and a progressive agenda in Springfield and Washington, DC
- Organizing and building coalitions that are committed to social justice and economic fairness
- Reaching out into communities and educating the public about issues and candidates
- Registering people to vote and encouraging them to participate in the political process
Citizen Action/Illinois is not only the largest consumer watchdog group in Illinois, but also one of the most effective vehicles for progressive political involvement in our state.
Citizen Action/Illinois: leading the way in the fight for our civil rights, progressive values and our future.
Congratulations to all our victorious 2012 candidates!
Victory for working families! Illinois voters reject the proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution!
Citizen Action/Illinois OPPOSED this amendment to require a three-fifths majority of any public body to improve public-employee pensions.
Congratulations to the following victorious candidates:
Each election cycle, Citizen Action’s political action committee, the Progressive Action Project, convenes to make endorsements for public office. Candidates who wish to be endorsed by the organization are required to complete a questionnaire which outlines the broad policy positions taken by Citizen Action/Illinois. In the case of incumbents, Citizen Action will also consider their score on our Legislative Scorecard (click here for Citizen Action/Illinois 2012 Illinois Legislature Scorecard). In order to receive an endorsement, a candidate must have 60% of the votes cast by the committee.
Mattie Hunter - 3
Daniel Biss - 9
Emil Jones, III - 14
Napoleon Harris - 15
Michael Noland - 22
Thomas E. Cullerton - 23
Daniel W. Kotowski - 28
Julie A. Morrison - 29
Terry Link - 30
Steven Stadelman - 34
Don Harmon - 39
Toi W. Hutchinson - 40
Linda Holmes - 42
Pat McGuire - 43
Dave Koehler - 46
Andy Manar - 48
Michael Frerichs - 52
Arthur Turner - 9
Kelly M. Cassidy - 14
Lou Lang - 16
Robyn Gabel - 18
Christian Mitchell - 26
Monique Davis - 27
Elgie R. Sims, Jr. - 34
Al Riley - 38
Sam Yingling - 62
Mike Smiddy - 71
Frank J. Mautino - 76
Naomi Jakobsson - 103
Dorothy Brown - Clerk of the Circuit Court, Cook County
Karen A. Yarbrough - Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Michael Cabonargi - Cook County Board of Review
Larry Rogers, Jr. - Cook County Board of Review
Patrick Thompson - Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Mary Jane Theis - 1st Supreme (Fitzgerald Vacancy)
Mathias William Delort - 1st Appellate (Cahill Vacancy)
Nathaniel R. Howse, Jr. - 1st Appellate (Coleman Vacancy)
P. Scott Neville, Jr. - 1st Appellate (Gallagher Vacancy)
Jesse G. Reyes - 1st Appellate (O'Brien Vacancy)
Judy Cates - 5th Appellate (Donovan Vacancy)
Lionel Jean-Baptiste - Cook County 9th Subcircuit (Bender Vacancy)
Larry Axelrood -Cook County 9th Subcircuit (Epstein Vacancy)
Andrea M. Schleifer - Cook County 12th Subcircuit (Rochford Vacancy)
Lorna Ellen Propes - Cook County Circuit (Pucinski Vacancy)
Erica L. Reddick - Cook County Circuit (Kinnard Vacancy)
Diann Karen Marsalek - Cook County Cirucuit (O'Mara Frossard Vacancy)
Citizen Action/Illinois supports the following principles as a framework for how to obtain government and election reforms in Illinois:
- The election process is the cornerstone of our democracy and the quest for campaign funds should not undermine its integrity and vibrancy. Elections should be both fair and competitive.
- Public officials should devote the majority of their time and creativity to governing and policymaking, not campaigning and fundraising.
- The public has a right to know who funds elections in a timely manner through accessible informational sources.
- Government has a role to play in facilitating fair, issue-oriented campaigns and an informed citizenry.
- All voices in our democratic process should be heard and invited to participate.
- Big money contributors should not be rewarded with disproportionate political influence or special access.
Citizen Action/Illinois supports adopting a "clean elections model" of campaign financing in Illinois. Clean elections allow candidates to seek office without having to raise large sums of money. Instead, qualified candidates would qualify for limited public funds which are secured through the gathering of smaller donations. By adopting a clean elections model in Illinois, candidates may better harness the power of small political donors, making a contribution from a factory worker or a waitress just as valuable as one from a lobbyist or corporate CEO.
One model for creating a clean elections program is "The Lincoln Act", which establishes a voluntary public financing system for candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, Treasurer, State Senator, and State Representative. This allows candidates the option to forego special interest funding of their campaigns without having to unilaterally disarm. It would establish guidelines for raising qualifying contributions in increments from $5 up to $500 per individual. It would also specify the minimum number of contributors a candidate would be required to garner, in order to demonstrate viability as a candidate and be eligible to receive public funds. Read the fact sheet and FAQ's.
2012 Public Interest Scorecard
Every year, Citizen Action/Illinois examines the voting records of our elected officials. The Public Interest Scorecard enables concerned citizens to hold their elected officials accountable for their votes during the year. We hope that this information will both educate and motivate Illinoisans to engage in the democratic process. Click here to view the 2012 Scorecard.
CA/IL Progressive Action Project Endorsed Candidate Biographies
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 85.9%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 1
“During my time in the General Assembly…I have passed legislation that has helped reduce gun violence, made it easier for veterans to receive the benefits they deserve, and provided support for regional public transportation.”
State Senator Antonio "Tony" Muñoz has served the 1st Senate District since January 1999. After serving in the Senate for 10 years, Muñoz was appointed to the position of Assistant Majority Leader by Senate President John Cullerton.
As a retired Chicago police officer, Senator Munoz saw first-hand that crime and gang activity was tearing apart his community. His legislative priorities have always been crime prevention and ensuring that weapons stay off the streets and out of neighbourhoods.
In addition, Senator Munoz has maintained his fight for veterans throughout the State of Illinois. He has championed counselling programs through the Department of Veterans Affairs that help soldiers recover from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Senator Munoz has also worked over the last ten years to help Illinois State agencies develop a Hispanic Employment Plan providing strategies and implementing programs to increase the number of Hispanics and bilingual persons employed by the State of Illinois.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 91.8%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 3
“This decision is a mandate for our country…if you are one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will give you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from.”
State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago – 3rd District) has served in the Illinois Senate since 2003. She is Chairperson of the Senate Human Services Committee, Vice-Chair of the Public Health Committee, and serves on the Redistricting and Environment Committees. She is also appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures Health Committee and is Co-Chair of the Council of State Government Health Policy Task Force.
A native Chicagoan, she attended Monmouth College, Illinois where she earned her undergraduate degree in Government. She also earned her graduate degree in Sociology from Jackson State University. She is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Prevention Specialist in the State of Illinois and Indiana.
Senator Hunter has been recognized for her many accomplishments by several organizations across the country. In 2006, she was appointed a Lifetime Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and named Legislator of the Year by numerous organizations in the field of health care, youth, child welfare, and education to name a few.
Ms. Hunter has served in numerous capacities as Vice President of the Human Resources Development Institute, Inc. (HRDI) where she developed and managed programs for battered women and children, behavioral health, youth, and ex-offenders. She was Managing Director for the Center for Health and Human Services in Johannesburg, South Africa and coordinated U.S. State Department Demand Reduction Workshops addressing substance abuse situations in South Africa.
Legislatively, while establishing various boards and commissions, she has passed over 100 bills in the areas of breast cancer, childhood vaccines, environmental issues, and education.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 5
“We are women of all walks of life that have made up our minds that we will not sit back silently while our communities go down the drain. We are committed to having our communities safe, clean, and economically growing.”
Over the past three decades, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins has worked to improve the lives of Chicago families.
As an advocate for strong families and thriving neighborhoods, Patricia strives to make communities livable by working: to improve the quality of education; create an environment that promotes public safety; attract opportunities that generate employment; and assemble resources to support small businesses. In order to unify a diverse urban community, Patricia tackles issues directly by engaging residents in building strong accountable coalitions to solve problems and to improve the quality of life for all.
Patricia began her professional life as a steelworker, where she became a union steward, on the South Side. She subsequently earned her bachelor’s degree, her master’s degree and her PhD while raising her two children and co-founding the 300-member Ambassadors of Christ Church in Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.
Continuing her efforts as a community leader, she founded the Target Area Development Corp., an organization that leads community-driven initiatives to strengthen communities and solve problems though research, organization, mobilization and education. Under her leadership, the corporation’s budget swelled from $10,000 to $3 million and initiated a wave of employment opportunities.
She organized the Developing Justice Coalition and shepherded the passage of landmark criminal justice legislation through the Illinois legislature by allying states attorneys and the ex-offenders they prosecuted. Fearlessly countering the drug trade, she empowered residents by teaching them how to establish boundaries and peaceably banish dealers from their neighborhoods. In order to advance education on this issue, she recruited a diverse team of professionals and promoted efforts to reduce drug influence and violence in schools.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score – 69.7%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 9
“Experience has taught us that the best way to keep abortion safe but rare is to combine pro-choice laws with broad reproductive health education programs. Unfortunately, both of these policies are currently under attack by right-wing organizations, threatening women's autonomy and physical well-being alike. I am acutely sensitive to this issue and I pledge to lead the fight in Springfield to protect women's reproductive freedom.”
Daniel Biss is running for the open 9th State Senate district seat. The 9th district includes Golf, Kenilworth, Northfield, Wilmette, and Winnetka, and parts of Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Morton Grove, Northbrook and Skokie. Daniel is a former math professor at the University of Chicago and is serving his first term in the House of Representatives.
Since he was elected to office in 2010, Daniel has passed legislation on a variety of issues, including environmental policy, high tech economic growth, political reform, equal rights for individuals with autism and consumer protection.
In just his first term, Daniel has already earned broad acclaim for his leadership and accomplishments. The Illinois Recycling Association recognized Daniel as a Recycling Hero; he won the Legislator of the Year award from the Illinois Association of Park Districts and was given the John W. Maitland Award by the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 85.8%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 14
“…My colleagues and I are once again pushing Senate Bill 1565, a measure that ties the minimum wage to inflation. I am co-sponsoring this bill because minimum wage has not risen fast enough to meet the needs of many of our state’s citizens.”
State Senator Emil Jones III is the son of former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. Emil Jones III has worked to create a name for himself in the Illinois Senate and is often recognized for his effective leadership and steadfast commitment to the people of the 14th Legislative district.
A strong proponent of education reform, Jones III supported a plan in the Senate this year that would have increased education funding, supplied property tax relief to families, and allowed the state to pay down its pension debt. Jones III has also worked to increase grants to early childhood programs.
An outspoken voice for increased public safety standards, Jones III has worked to make Illinois neighborhood streets safer by passing legislation aimed at reducing gang recruitment. Jones III also championed legislation to clearly define the act of stalking and cyber stalking, bringing the criminal stalking statutes into the 21st century by acknowledging that stalkers have the ability to use technology to further harass their victims. The measure also expands punishment for those who violate the law.
Senator Jones grew up on the far south side of Chicago. Prior to his career in the Illinois Senate, Jones served as a Member of the Advisory Board of the Division Street Business Development Association. He is also a former Administrator at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 15
“To see a community that once was vibrant and was truly a pillar of the south suburban area on the decline is disheartening…That’s why I want to be a part of bringing this area back”.
Mr. Harris was born in Dixmoor and attended Thornton Township High School. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Northwestern University. In the 2002 NFL Draft, Harris was a first round pick and he later started in Superbowl XXXVII. Harris owns and operates two Beggars Pizza locations, providing jobs and opportunity to working families in our neighborhoods.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 90.7%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 22
“Right now, my top priorities are bringing more jobs to the Fox River Valley, finding a responsible solution to Illinois’ budget crisis, and putting an end to business as usual in Springfield….I also have pushed tough campaign finance reform laws… and fought to protect education and other basic social services.”
Senator Michael Noland is a life-long resident of Illinois and a 30-year resident of Elgin, after graduating high school, he joined the Navy, serving with the 4th Marine Division at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois-Chicago, his law degree from John Marshall Law School, and his MBA from the University of Illinois-Chicago. He then served two years as an attorney in the Kane County Public Defender’s Office before opening his own legal practice, engaging in a great deal of pro bono advocacy work.
In 2006, he decided to give back to the community that had supported him and given him so many opportunities by running for the Illinois State Senate. As a newly-elected member of the Illinois General Assembly, Noland turned his attention to economic development, government reform, environmental issues (particularly the green technology industry), and stamping out hunger. As Chair of the Senate Criminal Law Committee, he has used his experience in the courtroom to improve public safety.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 23
“I am running for the State Senate because it is time for Springfield to get things done. The State of Illinois is not living up to the potential we know it has. We need to make sure that Springfield is working to protect hard-working families, seniors, and creating a climate that ensures that future generations have the ability to achieve the American dream.”
Tom is a husband, father, veteran, union member, community leader, volunteer coach, and hard- working public servant.
Since moving to DuPage County, Tom has been active in the community. He completed the Citizens Police Academy which prompted him to form and captain a neighborhood watch in their area. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, his local chapter of the American Legion, and coaches little league- a side note his team won the Farm League World Series in 2011.
Tom has a long history of serving his community. In 1990, he enlisted in the United States Army- Infantry Division and was honorably discharged in 1993. In 2005 Tom was compelled to run for Villa Park Trustee to ensure that the residents of Villa Park were receiving top-notch services and to initiate a more business friendly atmosphere.
In 2009, the voters of Villa Park were so impressed with Tom’s work as a Trustee, they elected him to serve as Village President with a resounding majority of the vote.
Since Tom has been Village President, he has improved Villa Park’s financial stability through responsible budgeting, has been honored by the Sierra Club for initiatives the town has taken to become “green,” and has streamlined governmental services making them easier to access and less cumbersome for individuals and businesses to utilize.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 90.6%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 28
“It’s getting to a point where if you’re exceedingly wealthy, you can pay for college; but if you have no resources and you’re someone that’s working hard and playing by the rules, you can’t afford to send your kids to school.”
In the short time since he was first elected in 2007, Dan has earned a reputation as one of the hardest working legislators in Springfield. Since day one, he has successfully led the fight against mismanagement, corruption and waste in Illinois. Dan fought to make the cap on property tax assessments permanent and supported legislation allowing families to deduct college expenses from their taxes.
Dan is the son of Casimir and Mary (Jinx) Kotowski, who both studied for religious vocations and raised Dan and his five siblings in a faith-based home. Dan attended Daniel Boone Elementary School in Rogers Park then went to Loyola Academy in Wilmette. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in English and Communications, and also received a Masters of Arts Degree from DePaul University.
In order to take full advantage of his elected position, Dan serves on five committees in the Illinois General Assembly. He chairs the Senate Appropriations II Committee and is vice-chair for the Appropriations I Committee. He also serves on the Revenue Committee; Criminal Law; Higher Education; and the Legislative Audit Commission.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 29
“I believe that we need to move to a fairer, more progressive graduated tax system and would support efforts to do so.”
Throughout her career, Julie has been involved in government-related activities, functions and positions. She has a broad range of experience in government finance, regulation, and services. As West Deerfield Township Supervisor for the past 14 years, Julie has seen first-hand the needs of residents and has developed many innovative programs through intergovernmental cooperation, collaboration between the public and private sector, and coalitions with social services.
Julie was born in Beardstown, Illinois. She attended Knox College and graduated with B.A. in political science in 1978.
On graduation from Knox, Julie accepted a full-time position with the Governor’s Office of Manpower and Human Development, in Springfield, Illinois. In 1979, Julie moved to Chicago and took a position as federal energy regulation analyst with Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America.
In 1986, Julie was appointed by the Governor to the Governor’s Statewide Advisory Council to the Department of Children and Family Services. She served from 1986 to 1996 (and was Chairperson of the committee from 1994-1996). During this time, she promoted new legislation protecting children’s rights in juvenile court and expanding the role of court appointed guardians-ad-litem.
In 1996, Julie received the endorsement of the township caucus and was elected as West Deerfield Township Supervisor in 1997. Julie Morrison continues as West Deerfield Township Supervisor today. She believes that her 15 years as Township Supervisor have given her a unique opportunity to manage, to legislate and, most important, to listen.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 91.7%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 30
“It is critical that we encourage our young people to vote, and be a part of the process overall… By making these opportunities available on college campuses, we are opening the polls up for an increase in voter turnout. I believe this legislation will have the strongest impact on college students, and I believe it is critical to invest in what will be the future of our state.”
Senator Terry Link, D-Vernon Hills, was born in Waukegan and has remained a lifelong resident of Lake County.
He attended North Chicago High School before going on to Stout State University.
Senator Link was first elected to the State Senate in November of 1996. He currently serves as the Majority Caucus Whip and Chairman of the Senate Revenue Committee. In addition, he is a member of the Financial Institutions; Local Government; and Transportation Committees. Senator Link was recently appointed to the board of the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), an insurance program that seeks to insure the uninsured. Link was also appointed to the Illinois Economic Development Board, which will allow him to assist local officials in attracting new businesses to the region and in creating new jobs for local residents. He recently served on the Toll Highway Financial Restructuring Committee, an ad hoc board that reviews the financial condition of the Authority and explores restructuring alternatives.
Prior to entering the Senate, Link was a partner in Major Industrial Trucking, a Lake County industrial equipment business. Link also worked at Johnson Controls in the governmental affairs division. He embarked on his career in government, and learned the intricate workings of Illinois government, through service with the State Treasurer’s office and the Secretary of State’s office.
Through his service in the Senate and in Lake County, Senator Link has been recognized by a number of organizations. These include the prestigious Henry Toll Fellowship and BILLD Fellowship for outstanding leadership in the General Assembly; recipient of Distinguished Service Award by the Illinois Committee of Honest Government; Lake County AFL-CIO Person of the Year; recipient of NICASA Partners Award; recipient of the JCYS Mitzvah Award; recipient of the Chicago Horticultural Society Award; recipient of the Barat College Presidential Award; and recipient of the Psychological Society of Illinois Legislator of the Year Award; recipient of Nicasa’s Humanitarian Award. Senator Link most recently received the Helmet Award from the Associate Fire Fighters of Illinois in recognition of his efforts on behalf of fire fighters across the state.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 31
“Our representation in Springfield is doing nothing to fight for our interests... we must act to create jobs, stem foreclosures, and help the most vulnerable in our community.”
Melinda is a lifelong resident of Lake County. She and her husband, Andy, live in Grayslake where Melinda has been a resident since she was eight years old. Melinda currently serves as a Member of the Lake County Board and a Commissioner of the Lake County Forest Preserve.
When elected Trustee of Grayslake, Melinda opposed the citing of the Countryside Landfill, believing it was an ‘insider’ deal, struck behind closed doors out of the public eye.
Alarmed by the potential environmental and health hazards of allowing a landfill so close to area residents, Melinda voted no – she was out voted. Today, the Countryside Landfill is now emitting double the toxins allowed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and has become a health risk to local residents.
As a proponent of redeveloping our existing commercial areas, Melinda worked to bring the focus to the downtowns. When businesses were leaving downtown areas and moving to strip malls, Melinda opened a small store in downtown Grayslake. She brought a farmers market to the community and formed the Downtown Merchants Association.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 34
“I believe in Democratic values. I grew up on a small dairy farm in southern Wisconsin and my father went out of business, and things were very tight. We didn’t have a lot of money, and for a while he was on unemployment. He got a job in a factory, and I went to college with the help of loans and grants, and you realize that government can give people a boost up.”
Steve Stadelman is an award-winning TV news anchor and father of four who decided to run for Illinois Senate because his experiences as a journalist and parent convinced him of the need for fresh, no-nonsense representation in Springfield.
One of five children, Steve grew up on a small dairy farm in southern Wisconsin. He was a three-sport athlete at Brodhead High School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
As a News Anchor/Reporter for WTVO-Channel 17 for 25 years, Steve aggressively reported on issues facing Rockford and Illinois. In 2003, his coverage of the state’s death penalty earned him an Associated Press award for Best Documentary. Steve’s work in journalism gives him a deep understanding of government and yet a refreshing detachment from politics. He will bring that winning combination to the Illinois Senate.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 92.3%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 39
“Working families are being punched in the gut. Make no mistake about it, this is a coordinated, synchronized, nationwide attack on working families and the unions that represent them.”
Senator Don Harmon and his family have deep roots in the 39th Legislative District. Harmon was born and raised in Oak Park. Harmon remains in the community, where he and his wife Teri are raising their three young children. He attended St. Giles Grade School, and is a member of the parish today.
With the help of family and scholarships, Harmon graduated from St. Ignatius High School on Chicago's west side, and Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Harmon worked his way through the University of Chicago, where he received both a law degree and an MBA.
After law school, Harmon served in Springfield on the House legal staff. First elected in the fall of 2002, Harmon has promoted a progressive agenda in the Illinois Senate. Harmon sponsored legislation creating the Illinois Early Learning council to create policy recommendations regarding the education of children from birth to age five. The result of that effort was the Pre-School for All program, which significantly expanded access to pre-school opportunities for thousands of Illinois families.
Inspired by a constituent's battle with post-partum depression, Harmon sponsored Senate Bill 15, which proves for perinatal mental health awareness, treatment, and prevention. He assisted in creating the Senior Citizen Prescription Drug Discount Program to provide senior citizens and people with disabilities with significant discounts on their prescription drugs.
Harmon was the primary Senate negotiator of House Bill 824-landmark ethics legislation to end Illinois' reputation for "pay-to-play" politics. He authored the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003 to prohibit discriminatory policies by State, county or local governments, and to preserve for Illinois citizens civil rights protections eroded by recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions. Also in 2003, Harmon co-sponsored legislation creating the Equal Pay Act to ensure women in Illinois receive equal pay for equal work.
Harmon assisted low-income families by co-sponsoring legislation requiring the Department of Human Services to update the income threshold so more families will be eligible for child care services; supporting legislation raising the minimum wage to $6.50 an hour, giving almost half a million Illinoisans a raise; and amending the Illinois Guaranteed Job Opportunity Act to permit pilot programs on Chicago's west side, creating subsidized employment training opportunities for residents of his district.
Senator Don Harmon is currently serving his third term in the Illinois Senate. In January of 2009, incoming Senate President John Cullerton appointed Harmon Assistant Majority Leader, and in 2011 Senate President Cullerton appointed Harmon President Pro Tempore. Senator Harmon serves as Chair of the Executive Committee, Co-Chair of the Procurement Committee, Vice-Chair of the Assignments Committee, and on the Judiciary Committee and Redistricting Committee.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score – 75.4%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 40
“As an original member of the Responsible Budget Coalition, I understand what it means to be fiscally responsible while looking out for the interests of working families”
State Senator Toi Hutchinson has earned a reputation as a highly effective and well-regarded public servant with a strong commitment to the residents of the 40th district.
A proud mother of three children, Hutchinson has placed a high importance on improving education since joining the Senate. Ensuring afterschool programs are effective and accountable, Hutchinson sponsored legislation that created standards for existing afterschool programs as well as offered assistance to communities that currently have no programs in place.
Increasing public transportation options for south suburban residents, Hutchinson sponsored legislation creating the Southeast Commuter Rail Transit District. The creation of this district will allow for the application of federal dollars for the construction of a new Metra line connecting eleven south suburban communities and downtown Chicago.
Hutchinson teamed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan on ground breaking legislation requiring testing of all Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits, also known as rape kits, within ten days of obtaining evidence. Prior to this legislation, many law enforcement agencies did not require the testing of rape kits, leaving victims feeling helpless and attackers not being brought to justice. With the signing of this legislation, Illinois became the first state in the country to mandate such testing. She most recently sponsored and passed legislation to tax strip clubs for which the revenue will be used to support services for women.
Hutchinson earned a Bachelor of English degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana and was a student at Northern Illinois University’s School of Law when she began her first term in the Illinois Senate.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 81.1%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 42
“The current buzz words with respect to the environment these days is "going green." As a lifetime Sierra Club member I enthusiastically applaud the green movement. Being environmentally friendly benefits much more than the enviroment.”
State Senator Linda Holmes was elected to represent the 42nd legislative district in 2006. An Aurora resident since 1983, Holmes has been extremely active serving on a number of neighborhood committees and community organizations. Prior to being elected as state senator, Holmes served for two years on the Kane County Board.
Holmes has been the Chief Sponsor on a myriad of legislation during her time in office that encourages job growth and impacts education, health care, veterans' issues and the environment.
Having lived with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for over 20 years, Holmes is very concerned about health care issues in Illinois and remains dedicated to providing individuals with sufficient physical therapy access, ensuring a healthier lifestyle and better quality of life. She feels very fortunate that she is able to lead a healthy and active life and remains passionate about supporting those who have faced physical disability. Holmes has worked closely with the MS Society and sponsored several bills, including legislation that requires hospitals and nursing homes to adopt safe patient handling policies.
Holmes is a dedicated and hard-working public official, currently serving as Chairperson of the Senate State Government and Veterans' Affairs committee. She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Senate Labor committee and is an active member of the Senate Local Government, Agriculture and Conservation, and Gaming committees.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 70.7%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 43
“I am running for 43rd State Senator because I understand how important having good schools are, how important having a job is, how important our seniors are. Will County is about working hard and we need leaders that will keep jobs here and not abroad. We are about giving our kids the best education and we will work to make our schools better.”
Senator Pat McGuire is a lifelong resident of Will County. He grew up in Joliet, the oldest of six children, and he was educated at Joliet’s Catholic schools from first grade through college. His father, Paul, was a Joliet firefighter, and his great-grandfather helped found the local union at Lockport’s Texaco refinery.
Senator McGuire is a teacher by profession, who spent a decade teaching English in our local public and Catholic high schools. He was also elected to the Joliet Township High School District 204, where he successfully fought for stronger graduation requirements that prepared our students for post-secondary education and employment. McGuire also has worked with the education, business, and religious communities on education funding and property tax reform. In 1997, McGuire joined Joliet Junior College’s Project Achieve, where he helped first- generation, low-income, and special-needs college students learn the writing skills needed for successful lives.
McGuire’s school board experience with property taxes motivated him to run for Will County Treasurer in 2006. As treasurer, McGuire streamlined his office, reduced staff and budget, and assisted thousands of homeowners with property tax problems. McGuire helped lead an effort to provide foreclosure prevention programs, particularly in northern Will County.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score – 90.1%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 46
“What I am passionate about is doing something about healthcare. I have spent nearly twenty years trying to make some sense out of our healthcare system, only to become more and more frustrated. This is a giant industry that no one seems to fully understand. I would like to see the day when you could ask people on the streets of America how they regard the American healthcare system and a majority of the people would say, “It’s good. I have access to good healthcare, and it is within my means to pay for it.”
Dave Koehler has dedicated his life to community development and public service. Koehler was elected to the Senate in November 2006. However, rather than taking office in January 2007, he began serving December 2006 when incumbent Senator George Shadid retired.
Prior to serving on the Senate, Koehler spent six years on the Peoria County Board and eight years on the Peoria City Council—including two years as Mayor Pro Tem. Before he first held elected office, Koehler embarked on a career of community development. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yankton College in 1971 and earned a Masters of Divinity from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. From 1972 to 1978, he worked for the National Farm Worker Ministry, helping improve the lives of migrant workers. After moving to Peoria in 1978, Koehler began a job as a community organizer and later became manager of Peoria Friendship House—an organization that helps the city’s most vulnerable citizens secure education, nutrition, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities.
In 1985, Koehler became the first Executive Director of the Peoria Area Labor Management Council (PALM)—a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing cooperation between labor and management in the area’s many unionized factories and facilities. In 1992 he also became President of PALM’s Labor Management Cooperate Health Programs—a purchasing cooperative aimed at finding low-cost, high-quality health care for its members and the community.
Senator Koehler’s legislative career builds on his life experience. He is an outspoken advocate of health care reform—believing that everyone in our state and society should have access to adequate health care. He has sponsored many initiatives to expand and improve health care, especially for Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 48
“Working families are the backbone of a strong economy in Illinois…and the endorsement from the AFL-‐CIO signals their confidence in my ability to go to bat for those families in Springfield.”
Born and raised in Macoupin County, Andy Manar and his wife Trista reside three blocks from where Andy grew up in Bunker Hill. Andy holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in History. He also maintains Illinois teacher certification and in addition to being a member of numerous civic and charitable organizations, Andy is a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Bunker Hill.
Andy’s most important values centered on keeping his family in Bunker Hill and eventually led to his desire to become dedicated to and involved in public service. In 1997, Manar was elected to the Bunker Hill City Council. In 2001, following his first term in elective office, he defeated a long-time incumbent at the age of 25 to become the Mayor of the City of Bunker Hill. Andy’s tenure as Mayor was marked by the construction of an 18-acre city park, the city’s largest sidewalk replacement project, and housing rehabilitation for low income and senior citizens.
In 2003, Andy left the Mayor’s post in Bunker Hill to join the Macoupin County Board. After serving just over a year on the 27-member County Board as its youngest member, he was elected Chairman by his peers in 2004. He is currently serving his fourth and final term in the position.
Citizen Action/Illinois - Progressive Action Project - Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 49
“I fully support developing a health insurance exchange system which is transparent, easy to use, and provides consumers with meaningful choices about their healthcare coverage.”
A fourth-generation Will county resident, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant graduated from St. Francis Academy in Joliet before earning a Bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Francis. In 2007, Jennifer completed her doctorate at Loyola University.
A life-long educator with 18 years of experience in local schools, Jennifer taught at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox before serving as assistant principal at Nelson Prairie and Nelson Ridge Schools, and later as principal at Channahon Junior High School. Jennifer has also taught evening classes for aspiring teachers and graduate students at Joliet Junior College, University of St. Francis and Olivet Nazarene University.
In 2006, Jennifer defeated a 12-year incumbent to become the regional school superintendent for Will County.
Jennifer’s family has owned and operated Bertino’s Auto Service in Joliet since 1957. Jennifer has also worked to understand and support the needs of local businesses as a board member for the Will County Center for Economic Development and Joliet Chamber of Commerce, and has promoted job and vocational training through the Wilco Area Career Center.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 81.3%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Senate District 52
“Before the end of this year's session, I sponsored SB3923, which would have created the Seniors Pharmaceutical Assistance Relief Program Act. Although it was not brought up for a vote before the end of session, I will continue to support such legislation in the future.”
Mike Frerichs was born and raised in the small farming community of Gifford, Illinois. His father was a truck driver and his mother was a university secretary. He graduated from Rantoul Township High School and four years later he graduated from Yale University. Mike returned home with a desire to serve his community. He taught at his alma mater Rantoul Township High School and managed a local safety engineering company, Smart Structures. Later he was elected twice to the Champaign County Board and spent more than four years as Champaign County Auditor, where he became a Certified Public Finance Officer, the only elected Auditor to receive that designation in the state. Mike also served as a volunteer firefighter and on the board of a local nursing home.
Mike Frerichs was elected to the General Assembly in 2006. Since being elected Mike Frerichs has stood tall for the 52nd district. He championed a $30 billion capital improvement plan to fund road and infrastructure improvements in Champaign and Vermilion Counties. As Chairman of the Agricultural Committee, he has provided financial assistance to farmers and advocated for alternative fuels. As Vice-Chairman of the Education Committee, Frerichs has funded improvements at the University of Illinois, Parkland College and Danville Community College while fighting to reduce Illinois' disparities in education funding.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score -80.9%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 5
“I envision a healthcare system that is affordable and accessible to all people without exception. As a result of this goal I have worked tirelessly toward making Illinois the first state in the nation to guarantee affordable health care for all children-regardless of family income. My efforts have also included working to expand insurance coverage of life-threatening conditions as our nation makes the transition towards universal health care.”
Born and raised in Chicago's Cabrini Green Public Housing Development, Ken Dunkin is also a product of the Chicago Public School System. He continued his education at Harold Washington College, where he received an Associates of Arts degree. Dunkin was then accepted to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he graduated with Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science. Dunkin later returned to Chicago to complete his Masters of Arts degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
Prior to becoming Illinois' 5th District State Representative Dunkin directed the Robert Taylor Boys and Girls Club. Dunkin was a community liaison for his mentor Secretary of State Jesse White and served as a Consultant for the City of Chicago Department of Health and Department of Aging. In addition, Dunkin interned with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthcare Financing Administration and United States Senator Paul Simon in Washington D.C.
Currently Dunkin serves on the Associate Board of the Chicago International Film Festival; he is chief sponsor of a bill that created legislation to extend tax credits to film producers to encourage them to bring more of the film industry to Illinois. He is a member of the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Advisory Board, the Lawson YMCA and the City Club of Chicago.
Dunkin's current priorities include: reducing domestic violence, sustaining and creating new businesses, preventing identity theft, rallying for reduced prescription drug prices for senior citizens, improving academic achievement among students and affordable childcare and healthcare.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 7
“I have been working in education for a very long time pushing for things like equality in school funding, increased student and parental support programs, and more resources for teachers who are on the front lines.”
Chris has served as a partner at the law firm of Sanchez, Daniels & Hoffman, LLP since July 2007. Chris has served on the Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Board of Education since November 7, 2001, and he has been President of the Board since April 2003. Chris is credited with balancing the District's budget for the first time in over a decade all while leading the effort to create the first ever suburban based magnet high school, the Proviso Math and Science Academy. He also serves as legal counsel for various school districts and municipalities, and he is a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys.
Chris has received the Operation Uplift Hometown Dreamweaver Award (January 2005), the prestigious PLCCA Image Award (June 2006), the Village of Hillside Chairman's Award for his contributions to Human Rights issues (January 2007), the Man of the Year Award from the Proviso Township Dream Team (May 2009), in August 2010 Chris was named one of the top 40 Game Changers under the age of 40 by Black Enterprise Magazine and WVON AM-1690, and in 2011 Chris was named a Rising Star by Superlawyers Magazine and Chicago Magazine.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score- 84.9%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 9
“Our state is facing serious challenges and it is important that we work together for solutions. To help improve the quality of life in our communities, I will be a strong advocate for job growth in our area while fighting to bring back funding from Springfield. I will also work hard to make our neighborhoods safer, improve educational opportunities for our children, and make government more accessible to the public.”
Rep. Turner was born, raised and continues to live in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. He is a graduate of Chicago’s Providence St. Mel High School, and received his bachelors degree in Political Science from Morehouse College in Atlanta. Turner received his law degree from Southern Illinois University’s School of Law.
After college, Turner served as a community organizer and mentor to youth in North Lawndale. He worked as a Tax Credit Analyst and Underwriter for the Illinois Housing Development Authority. He was elected to serve as the State Representative in the 9th District in 2010.
Turner currently serves as the vice-Chair of the Revenue & Finance committee, as well as a member of the Committees for Appropriations-General Service, Judiciary I-Civil Law, Consumer Protections, Small Business Empowerment & Workforce Empowerment, Housing, Sales and Other Taxes, and the Cemeteries Subcommittee.
Turner continues a tradition of service that he learned from his father, the former State Representative & Deputy Majority Leader, Arthur L. Turner and his mother, Rosalyn Turner, an executive member of the Cook County Clerk’s Office.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score – 95.5%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 14
“In the upcoming months, I’ll be working to get our state’s finances back on track by finding sensible budget solutions, protecting collective bargaining rights, and working towards pension reform that doesn’t demonize public employees. I’ll also continue to fight for marriage equality and protecting women’s healthcare.”
As an organizer, a legislative director and a mom, Kelly Cassidy has spent the past 20 years living her values. Whether fighting for the rights of women and the LGBT community as an activist, working for a smarter criminal justice system within the state’s attorney’s office, or ensuring that her three boys have safe spaces to play in our community, she has devoted the last two decades to making government more accessible, efficient and effective.
Cassidy’s first job in Chicago was as legislative director for the Chicago office of the National Organization for Women. Highlights of her tenure included aiding in efforts to pass the Human Rights and Family and Medical Leave Acts, as well as defeating bill after bill attacking a woman’s right to choose. Locally, she worked to help pass the city and county human rights ordinances and fought to resume abortion services at County (now Stroger) Hospital.
She has often said that one of her most satisfying jobs was running Illinois Senator John Cullerton’s district office. As the constituent service lead, Cassidy knew at the end of the day someone had their problem solved because of her efforts. It also became clear how often constituent contacts drove a legislative agenda. Cassidy’s top goal as State Representative is to use the district office in the same manner — helping constituents address their needs, while also looking for ways to prevent problems from recurring.
Prior to her appointment as State Representative, Cassidy was responsible for development and management of the $20 million grant funding programs within the State’s Attorney’s office. She was a key player in creating programs for domestic violence victims, hate crimes victims and victims of human trafficking, as well as programs to address mortgage fraud, support community justice centers and enhance the use of DNA evidence.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score -88.4%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 16
“The days of legal loan-sharking are gone. This new law will end the financial serfdom imposed on struggling, working families by payday loan companies.”
Since he was first elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1987, Lou Lang has established himself as one of the Legislature’s most outspoken and prolific members, and a leader on issues critical to the people of Illinois.
Lou is the acknowledged leader in Illinois for mental health reform. He has been a staunch defender of a woman’s right to make reproductive choices. Lou was the lead sponsor for high interest short term lending reforms in Illinois.
His record in Springfield has made him a rising star within the Democratic Party and helped propel him to House Democratic Floor Leader in 1993 and Assistant Majority Leader in 1997, positions he continues to hold to this date.
In March, 2006, Lou was elected Democratic Committeeman of Niles Township, a post which has worked to make him a strong leader on political, as well as public policy issues.
For more information on how to support Rep. Lang, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score -89.6%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 18
“Health care reform is on the table in Illinois. Each state can establish a health care exchange or marketplace where individuals and small businesses can purchase health insurance that includes their current doctor and has basic benefits that cover doctor visits, hospitalizations, preventive care and prescriptions… At this time, I am working with others to come to agreement on some of the details and pass a bill that will then give the state access to millions of federal dollars for implementation.”
Throughout her career, Robyn Gabel has been a strong advocate for the working families of Illinois. As a State Representative, Robyn has fought for job creation, responsible state budgets, and better healthcare for all Illinois citizens.
Prior to her election to the General Assembly, Robyn was the Executive Director of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition for 20 years. She used her expertise on healthcare policy to successfully fight for increased access to healthcare for women, children and families, school-based services and substance abuse treatment centers.
Robyn serves on the following committees down in Springfield: Appropriations-Human Services, Vice Chair; Energy and Environment; Insurance; International Trade & Commerce; Mass Transit; Small Business Empowerment & Workforce Development; Special Committee on Environmental Health; and the Special Committee on Health & Healthcare Disparities.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 19
“Every woman is entitled to make health decisions with the advice of her doctor and without the intrusion of politicians. I am pro-choice and will always oppose legislation that infringes upon a woman's right to choose.”
Rob Martwick is an attorney and former criminal prosecutor. As an Assistant State's Attorney to Dick Devine, Rob prosecuted dead-beat parents, drunk drivers, and drug dealers. Rob spent a year as the lead domestic violence prosecutor for the State's Attorney's Office in the 2nd Municipal District. Since leaving the State's Attorney's Office, Rob has practiced real estate taxation law. Rob's work has helped save jobs by ensuring that employers were not saddled with an unfairly high real estate tax assessment. Through his experience in private practice and in conjunction with the Cook County Board of Review and Cook County Assessor, Rob has hosted annual tax appeal seminars in his area, helping homeowners appeal their real estate tax assessments free of charge.
Rob has 16 years of experience in local government. In 1993, while still in law school, Rob ran for the post of Trustee to Norwood Park Township, a post in which he remained for one four year term. In 1999, Rob was asked by Mayor Earl Field to run for the position of Village Trustee in Norridge. Rob accepted and won easily, receiving more votes than any other candidate.
Rob earned his Law Degree (J.D.) from The John Marshall Law School (1996), and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Boston College (1988). Rob attended Loyola Academy High School (1984) and graduated from John V. Leigh Grammar School in Norridge (1980).
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 26
“So as I look at budget crises I know we have to make reforms. . . . But we can’t balance the budget on the backs of working people.”
Christian Mitchell is the Democratic nominee for State Representative of the 26th District in Chicago. Christian was raised by his mother, who has been a nurse for 30 years, and his grandfather, who was a union steelworker and an elder at his church in Maywood. Their hard work and commitment to community inspired him to enter public service after graduating from the University of Chicago.
Christian began his career as a faith based community organizer in the south suburbs and southside. As an organizer, Christian worked with people, in their communities, to fight for living wage jobs, adequate housing, improved transportation, and equitable schools. In 2009, in consultation with community leaders and the members of the general assembly, Christian drafted legislation that would become the Urban Weatherization Initiative, a $425 million dollar state jobs program focusing on insulation, weatherproofing and upgrading of single family homes in low and moderate urban areas in the state of Illinois – and a requirement to hire workers from those communities.
Christian’s efforts as an organizer also led to several other measurable improvements. The state legislature passed a law to create a universal fare card for transit systems in Chicago and the South Suburbs, drafted in part by Christian. It will allow for transfers between Metra, CTA, and Pace by 2015 – improving the options for those traveling a long distance to work.
Christian is also experienced in campaign work – he was a Deputy Field Director for Illinois Lisa Madigan’s re-election campaign in 2010, working with local elected officials in Chicago and other faith and community leaders to increase voter turnout and participation. Christian was also campaign manager for Will Burns’ successful campaign for Alderman of the 4th Ward in 2011.
He recently served as part of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s senior staff, helping advise on many issues and connecting members of the community to services the county provides.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE MONIQUE DAVIS
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score 89.5%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 27
“All over this country, there is an attempt to remove union rights to strike. I will not be a union buster.”
Monique Davis is serving her twelfth term as State Representative from the 27th Representative District.
Representative Davis' committee assignments reflect her dedication to education and health care. She is Chairperson of the Insurance Committee and the Financial Institutions Committee. In addition, she serves on the Appropriation-Higher Education, Juvenile Justice Reform, Railroad Safety, Minority Procurement and Tourism & Conventions Committees.
Davis was formerly a teacher and administrator in the Chicago Public Schools. She also served as a coordinator for the Chicago Board of Education and was a training specialist with the Chicago City Colleges. Davis continues her active involvement with several community and charitable organizations: she is a member of the NAACP, Operation Push, Phi Delta Kappa, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago Urban League and Beverly Area Planning Association.
Davis received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Chicago State University. She holds a Bachelor's in Education and a Master's in Guidance and Supervision. In addition, Davis has earned 42 additional graduate credit hours in Administration Supervision and Special Education from DePaul, the University of Illinois, and Roosevelt University. She also has worked on a doctoral degree in Education Administration.
For more information on how to support Rep. Davis, please email email@example.com
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 34
“I support placing a constitutional amendment before voters, giving them the right to decide whether to establish, a progressive income tax.”
Elgie Sims is an attorney and second generation small business owner. Elgie’s commitment to public service began at an early age, working in the youth ministry at his church.
As Budget Director to former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. and the Illinois Senate Democrats, Elgie helped put millions of dollars into improving the quality of life in our communities, by providing funds for education, capital improvements, health care initiatives and economic development activities.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score 93.1%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 38
“As far as managed care is concerned, that can’t be a buzzword for efficiency either. We’ve seen cases where private managed care firms cherry-picked patients or did not deliver services that they were receiving taxpayer dollars for.”
State Representative Al Riley credits his decision to pursue a life of public service to his father. Sam Riley had been a union steward with UAW Local 6 and a leader in the Chicago civil rights movement early in his career. In the summer of 1967, Riley was a Headstart teachers’ aide at the age of 14. His achievement and analysis on outreach to minority populations led to a meeting with R. Sargent Shriver, the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity under President Lyndon Johnson.
Professionally, Riley is an urban planner and statistician. Prior to coming to Springfield, Riley’s career included service on the research staff of the American Society of Planning Officials (nee APA) in the early ‘70’s. Some of his other areas of service include being a Chief Planner and Director in county government, Director of Institutional Research and Planning for Thornton Community College and Director of Biostatistics and Computer Services for the Illinois Cancer Council. Riley also taught urban studies and public health planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was an adjunct professor of Public Administration and Statistics at Governors State University for eleven years.
He holds Bachelor degree in Economic Geography and Secondary Education from Chicago State University, Master of Urban Planning and Policy Analysis and Statistics, and Doctoral study in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Riley’s other elected positions include three terms as Trustee in the Village of Olympia Fields, Trustee, Rich Township and Rich Township Supervisor.
Riley also served on active and Reserve duty in the U.S. Army from 1972 to 1978 in the branches of Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs.
Representative Riley has served on many civic and charitable foundations including the executive boards of the Boy Scouts of America-Calumet Council, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Jazz in the Park for Charity, Unity Coalition of the South Suburbs and the UIC College of Urban Planning Alumni Association. He is also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Theta Mu Lambda Chapter.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 62
“We have shown the people that great things can happen when their government and elected officials work for the interest of the people and not their own personal interests.”
Sam Yingling is a native of central Lake County and lives in Round Lake Beach. A third generation resident of the area, he is deeply rooted in the community and has committed his life to fighting for its economic and social prosperity.
As a child, most of Sam’s time away from school was spent helping at a family restaurant his grandfather and parents started in 1972 In Round Lake Beach. Sam attended DePaul University, studying Public Policy and Administration and Metropolitan Land Use (Urban Planning), interests that were cultivated by the dramatic shifts in demographics, population, and development in central Lake County. After graduating, Sam decided to buy a house in Round Lake Beach; the small railroad town that his grandparent’s knew had boomed with development.
Sam went into real-estate and started a local advertising company and became involved with the Round Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and local government. He rolled-up his sleeves and fought for needed infrastructure, like improved water delivery and sensible zoning that met the long-term needs and environmental impact of the community. At this point, Sam became a board member on Mano A Mano Family Resource Center, an organization committed to improving the lives of the immigrant population, and the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center Foundation.
Frustrated with Avon Township’s sedentary approach to important issues, Sam decided to challenge a decades-old administration. Avon Township was maximizing their property tax levies, amassing unneeded cash and assets, and paying bloated salaries to its elected officials. Sam ran on a platform that would reverse these practices. Like everything he had done, Sam fought hard and won.
As Avon Township Supervisor, Sam ushered in a new era of government accountability and responsiveness. As promised, Sam began returning over $25,000 of pay raises put in place by the previous administration, has lowered the taxes every year he has been in office, and reduced Avon Township’s operating expenses by over 22%.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 71
“Our campaign will be based on a grassroots organizing effort, focusing on the issues that are important to the Illinois families. This means ensuring that we have a strong economic development and job retention plan, maintaining worker’s rights, and creating sound fiscal policies to help bring down our state’s rising budget deficit. And finally, to ensure the best education for our children, so they will be prepared to compete in our global economy.”
Mike Smiddy has spent his entire life living in the 71st District of Illinois growing up in the small town of Hampton in Upper Rock Island County. His father (Dean) worked for John Deere in Moline, Illinois and was a member of UAW Local 434. He retired in September of 2001 after 37 years of service. Mike’s mother (Sharon) worked as a bookkeeper at Thompson’s Body Shop in Silvis until she left that position in the early 1980’s to help care for her parents and to be a stay at home mom.
At age 15 Mike began working for a small family owned business in Silvis, Illinois. After graduating High School in 1991 from United Township in East Moline, Illinois, Mike attended Black Hawk College and Western Illinois where he studied Government and Law Enforcement. Upon leaving school Mike was honored to be offered a job with Congressman Lane Evans district staff. During those next 8 plus years of working for Lane, Mike gained a strong understanding and appreciation on the importance of public service and standing up for those who could not stand up for themselves.
Currently, Mike works for The Illinois Department of Corrections as a Supply Supervisor 3 in charge of warehousing, clothing and the institutions commissary.
Mike is an active member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union Local 46 (AFSCME) at the East Moline Correctional Center. He served as Treasurer and Executive Board Member for two terms and was one of two delegates from AFSCME who served as representatives on the Quad City Federation of Labor.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score 56.0%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 76
"We need to have a governing board, a list of their duties and a way to pay for the exchanges (HEALTH) in place before next spring. That way we can apply for federal money to build the exchanges."
State Representative Frank J. Mautino is a native of Spring Valley where he lives with his wife and children. With a degree in marketing and a minor in administration from Illinois State University, Frank Mautino helped improve and expand the family business before succeeding his father as state representative.
Representative Mautino has a strong record of legislative achievements. A leader on issues to help children, Representative Mautino authored landmark legislation to track child sex offenders and make the data available to local police forces. Representative Mautino also passed legislation promoting the McGruff Safehouse Program for children on a statewide level. He has continuously worked with child advocacy groups and has also received awards for his work on behalf of the state's detention homes. The Farm Bureau has lauded Representative Mautino as a "Friend of Agriculture".
Representative Mautino served on the board of the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). He helped to increase the program to serve thousands more people who can afford, but cannot purchase health insurance due to chronic illness or disability. He is currently the lead sponsor of state legislation to implement the Affordable Care Act.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Citizen Action/Illinois Cumulative Legislative Score - 84.4%
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for State Representative District 103
“The most important change needed is a constitutional amendment to permit a graduated income tax. Illinois has one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation. We are a high tax state for people in the low income range and a low tax state for people in the high brackets. In the current crisis, I support an increase in the tax rate, in spite of the deficiencies in the structure of our tax system, because the current budget shortfall is truly an emergency.”
Naomi Jakobsson chairs the Human Services Committee in the Illinois House and also serves on the Higher Education Committee, the Higher Education Appropriations Committee, the Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee, and the Adoption Reform Committee.
Jakobsson’s top priorities as state representative are to increase funding for education, stand up for the University of Illinois, improve access to affordable health care, strengthen environmental standards, fuel our local economy and be an accessible representative.
As Chairperson of the House Human Services committee, Naomi feels that issues surrounding the health and well-being of Illinois citizens are important. She leads the committee in discussing and voting on legislation that impacts a broad range of health issues, including mental health, developmental disabilities, home and community-based services for the disabled, public aid, children and family services, public health and social services.
Furthermore, Naomi worked to keep mercury out of the environment and reduce its emissions 90% by the year 2009. She also supported the addition of more recycling bins in Illinois schools and offices. In addition, she worked diligently to protect our natural resources like the Mahomet aquifer.
Naomi recognizes that identity theft is a major problem in today’s world. She continues to push for tighter protections by sponsoring legislation to allow any consumer to place a security freeze on his or her credit report if wrongdoing is suspected. She also supported tougher penalties for those who have been convicted of identity theft.
Naomi is also an advocate for issues concerning children and senior citizens. She has sponsored legislation to require schools to report cases of child abuse to authorities and to crack down on sex offenders who may want to harm our children by giving those offenders lifetime court supervision. Naomi also sponsored legislation that increases the senior citizen homestead exemption and allows elderly homeowners to freeze their property tax assessment and avoid an increase in their tax bill.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Citizen Action/Illinois - Progressive Action Project - Endorsed Candidate for Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Citizen Action/Illinois - Progressive Action Project - Endorsed Candidate for Cook County Board of Review
Michael M. Cabonargi was sworn-in on February 10, 2011 as the Commissioner of the Second District on the Cook County Board of Review by Chief Justice Timothy Evans.
Prior to his swearing-in on February 10, 2011, Commissioner Cabonargi served as a senior attorney and prosecutor in the Chicago Regional Office of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 2005 to 2011. Commissioner Cabonargi investigated and litigated cases involving insider trading, offering fraud, pay-to-play, and pyramid/Ponzi schemes. In 2008, Commissioner Cabonargi received the SEC Director’s Award for Excellence for combating financial fraud targeting seniors and in 2007 he received the Chairman’s Award for bringing the largest private offering fraud case filed by the Commission in the amount of $2.8 billion.
Prior to joining the SEC, Commissioner Cabonargi was an attorney with Bell, Boyd and Lloyd, LLC from 2004 to 2005 and with Gardner Carton and Douglas LLP from 2002 to 2004, with a concentration in complex commercial and regulatory litigation. Among other matters, Commissioner Cabonargi represented the City of Chicago in the federal and state litigation arising out of the closing of Meigs Field.
From 2000 to 2002, Commissioner Cabonargi served as law clerk to United States District Court Judge William J. Hibbler in Chicago. During his clerkship, he initiated and helped to establish the court’s first help desk for pro se (self-represented) litigants, for which he received the Award for Excellence in Public Interest Service from the Federal Bar Association and the U.S. District Court in 2005.
Commissioner Cabonargi served as an aide to United States Senator Richard J. Durbin in 1997 and served as an aide to United States Senator Paul Simon from 1993 to 1997.
Commissioner Cabonargi received his J.D. in 2000 from the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign and a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from Miami University in 1993.
Commissioner Cabonargi lives with his wife Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission of Chicago, and their sons William and Jack in Chicago’s Logan Square community. Commissioner Cabonargi’s previous community service includes serving as a member of the Local School Council for Brentano Elementary School in Chicago from 2006 to 2008 and as a member of the 35th Ward’s Zoning Advisory Committee from 2007 to 2009. He also served on the Illinois Comptroller’s Ethics Commission from 2003 to 2005.
Citizen Action/Illinois - Progressive Action Project - Endorsed Candidate for Cook County Board of Review
After more than a decade of work as a trial attorney fighting for consumers and victims, in 2004, Larry directed his talents toward a nagging problem about which he and many other citizens were frustrated: irresponsible representatives in the government.
His interest in challenging the status quo in government grew more fervent after working on a tragic case involving the deaths of six Illinois children that is credited with uncovering the license-for-bribes scandal connected to former Secretary of State George Ryan’s office. That case not only resulted in a record settlement for the clients, but the prosecution and conviction of a number of state-elected officials and employees who were embroiled in the scandal. It also led to safer roads for Illinois citizens through the testing and re-testing of truck drivers who had obtained licenses illegally. Fed up with such instances of negligence and overt abuse of power in the government and armed with the belief that Illinois could do better, Larry decided to run for public office, launching a campaign against a long-entrenched politician that very few believed he could defeat. With the help of his family, friends, and a concerned citizenry, however, – THE PEOPLE WON, and Larry was elected to his first office in 2004!
Larry believes that Lincoln’s words “GOVERNMENT BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE” are more than just an adage, but represent what government should truly represent. He believes that the government belongs to the citizens it serves and should always act with the people’s best interests in mind. He also believes that those given the privilege of being elected to public office are obligated to SERVE ethically and honestly! In this day and age, more than ever, citizens want and deserve to know how their government operates, and where and how their tax dollars are being spent. Elected officials, at all levels, should be held accountable to the citizens they serve.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for 1st Supreme (Fitzgerald Vacancy)
Citizen Action/Illinois - Progressive Action Project - Endorsed Candidate for 1st Appellate (Cahill Vacancy)
Judge Delort has lived in the Chicago area all his life. As the only child of a night-shift factory worker and the grandson of an immigrant who came to America through Ellis Island, Mat Delort grew up without the benefits and comforts that many of us today take for granted. An extraordinarily gifted student, he received academic scholarships for his high school, college, and law school education. He received the President’s Academic Scholarship at St. Ignatius College Prep for receiving one of the top five test scores on the entrance exam – an accomplishment all the more notable since he was a year younger than all the other students in his class. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from DePaul University cum laude in 1981, at the age of 19, having completed the regular four-year college curriculum in 2½ years. He was awarded the Dean’s Academic Scholarship at Chicago’s The John Marshall Law School and received his law degree there in 1985. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at that school, teaching Voting Rights and Election Law, and guest-teaching real estate and Illinois constitutional law classes from time to time. He has also lectured on American law to law students and faculty members in the Czech Republic.
Citizen Action/Illinois - Progressive Action Project - Endorsed Candidate for 1st Appellate (Coleman Vacancy)
Nathaniel R. Howse, Jr. is a judge of the First District Appellate Court of Illinois. He was assigned to this position on August 10, 2009. He was elected on Nov. 6, 2012 and his current term expires in 2022. He previously served on the Cook County Circuit Court. Judge Howse received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from Loyola University in Chicago. He was admitted to the practice of law in 1976. Judge Howse was elected to the Cook County Circuit Court in 1998. He served in this position until his assignment to the Appellate Court in 2009.
Citizen Action/Illinois - Progressive Action Project - Endorsed Candidate for 1st Appellate (Gallagher Vacancy)
P. Scott Neville, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois. He received his BA in History from Culver Stockton College, and his Juris Doctorate from Washington University’s School of Law. Justice Neville was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1974 and was a law clerk for Appellate Court Justice Glenn T. Johnson. From 1977 until 1979, he was of counsel at Howard, Mann & Slaughter. In 1979, Neville established P. Scott Neville, Jr. & Associates, which merged with Howse, Howse, Neville, & Gray in 1990.
He worked with public and private entities, including the Chicago Transit Authority, and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School in its Intensive Trial Practice Workshop, and at Loyola’s Law School. In 1992, he was part of a team of attorneys who successfully prosecuted the 1992 Chicago Ward "ReMap" case.
Justice Neville was elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2000 and was appointed to the Appellate Court on June 11, 2004. Currently, Justice Neville is the Acting Presiding Justice of the Third Division, and a member of the Appellate Court’s Executive Committee. Justice Neville is a life member of the National Bar Association and a member of the Cook County and Illinois State Bar Associations. He resides on the south side of Chicago. He is married with two adult daughters.
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for 1st Appellate (O'Brien Vacancy)http://reyesforappellatecourt.com
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Cook County 9th Subcircuit (Epstein Vacancy)
Citizen Action/Illinois – Progressive Action Project – Endorsed Candidate for Cook County 12th Subcircuit (Rochford Vacancy)
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