Suzanne Elder

Suzanne Elder

Suzanne Elder is a community activist [,CST-EDT-edit31.article Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 31, 2008] [ [,0,6137071.story Choices for Illinois Senate - Primaries, Chicago, Carol Ronen - ] ] in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois who has worked on school, health care, and community issues and was involved in an unusual challenge [ Russ Stewart, “Forgettable” 48th Ward Is “Hog” in 7th District, December 19, 2007] to Chicago Democratic Machine politics.

Education and activism

Born Suzanne Lagershausen, she received a Master's degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago [,CST-EDT-edit31.article Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 31, 2008] , where she co-authored with Prof. Don Coursey, Dean of the Harris School of Public Policy Studies an influential study on the impact of abortion legislation on access to abortion [Lagershausen & Coursey, The Effect of Select State Abortion Policies on State Rates of Abortion, 1975-1994 (1998)] . A community organizer who once worked with the Organization of the North East ("O.N.E."), Elder in 2006-07 organized and mobilized a coalition of 1,400 families and authored legislation entitled the Care of Students with Diabetes Act, which gained the support of one of the House leaders, passed the Illinois House, is currently pending in the Illinois Senate passage in the House as H.B. 146 [C. Starks, Girl, interrupted, Chicago Tribune Magazine, Mar. 4, 2007, pp. 13-15.] [ ] and which would allow school staff to assist in the health maintenance needs of students with diabetes. As a businesswoman, Elder advised the Regional Transit Authority on marketing and communications strategies to increase use of mass transit in the Chicago area.

Political candidate

Elder is a member of the Northside Chicago chapter of Democracy for America, an organization initially formed by former Howard Dean supporters which encourages grassroots Democrats to run for local, state, and federal office [ Howard Dean speech, Winning Back America, March 18, 2004] . In November, 2007 she became a candidate for the Illinois State Senate as a Democrat for the vacated seat of Carol Ronen [ Ben Joravsky, Forty-Eighth Ward Follies, Chicago Reader, November 15, 2007] . Elder's campaign was considered unusual because of Illinois' infamous reputation for political corruption [E.g., [ P.B. Long, Ethics seem to be on the agenda. But, remember, our roster of politicalscoundrels dates to statehood, Illinois Issues, June 2003] ] [As stated by Andrew Ferguson, editor of The Weekly Standard, on MSNBC, "Illinois politics is uniquely corrupt . . . Politics in Illinois keep guys like [Tony Rezko] around to help with a real estate deal here, or maybe to give their cousin a job, or you know, fill up a board seat there. You know, this is—you can‘t get away from this in Illinois politics and nobody has." [ "Tucker," June 15, 2007] ] ; Elder directly confronted Machine politics and corruption by challenging the widespread practice of pay-to-play politics in Illinois, the abuse of tax increment financing (TIF) districts, and urging reform of Illinois tax structure [ Suzanne Elder for Illinois State Senator official website] . The pro-choice and pro-gay marriage stances of Elder also caused the race to attract substantial attention in the LGBT community; [ Amy Wooten, Windy City Times profile of Suzanne Elder, Jan. 23, 2008] this is significant because the district takes in Andersonville, Rogers Park, Buena Park, and Edgewater, which include the highest concentration of gays in Illinois [ [ Gayest Zip Codes in Illinois] ] .

Elder was endorsed by the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), the Northside DFA [ Northside DFA] , National Organization for Women PAC, Americans for Democratic Action, the Illinois Coalition for Honest Government, and the Greater Chicagoland Caucus started by Christine Cegelis, but had little support from any current or past elected officials. Elder lost the Feb. 5, 2008 primary [ [ Chicago Board of Elections results, Democratic primary, 02-05-2008] ] to Heather Steans, a philanthropist, fundraiser, and political contributor who had the support of most Democratic politicians and both daily Chicago newspapers, as well as a much more well-funded campaign.

Following her defeat, Elder became a contributing writer for the Chicago Journal, which had purchased the Skyline, Booster, and News-Star local newspapers from the Lerner chain, [ [ See, e.g., S. Elder, "A room of one's own", Chicago Journal, May 7, 2008] ] and was elected to the state board of IVI-IPO. [ [ IVI-IPO State Board, accessed Aug. 30, 2008] ]

External links

* [ Video Interview: Election 2008 "Suzanne Elder Candidate for Senate 7th District"]



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