- Suzanne Elder
Suzanne Elder is a community
activist[http://www.suntimes.com/news/commentary/769769,CST-EDT-edit31.article Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 31, 2008] [ [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-0121edit2jan21,0,6137071.story Choices for Illinois Senate - Primaries, Chicago, Carol Ronen - chicagotribune.com ] ] in the Uptownneighborhood of Chicago, Illinoiswho has worked on school, health care, and community issues and was involved in an unusual challenge [ http://russstewart.com/12-19-07.htm Russ Stewart, “Forgettable” 48th Ward Is “Hog” in 7th District, December 19, 2007] to Chicago Democratic Machinepolitics.
Education and activism
Born Suzanne Lagershausen, she received a Master's degree in Public Policy from the
University of Chicago[http://www.suntimes.com/news/commentary/769769,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 Studiesan 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 organizerwho once worked with the Organization of the North East ("O.N.E."), Elder in 2006-07 organized and mobilized a coalitionof 1,400 families and authored legislation entitled the Care of Students with DiabetesAct, 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.] [http://thecareact.com/Who.html TheCareAct.com ] 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 Authorityon marketing and communications strategies to increase use of mass transitin the Chicago area.
Elder is a member of the Northside Chicago chapter of
Democracy for America, an organization initially formed by former Howard Deansupporters which encourages grassrootsDemocrats to run for local, state, and federal office [http://www.winningbackamerica.com/weblog/2004/04/video_of_deans_.html 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[ http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/theworks/071115/index.php?cAction= 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., [http://illinoisissues.uis.edu/editor/ethics.html 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." [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19246984/ "Tucker," June 15, 2007] ] ; Elder directly confronted Machine politics and corruption by challenging the widespread practice of pay-to-playpolitics in Illinois, the abuse of tax increment financing(TIF) districts, and urging reform of Illinois tax structure [ http://www.suzanneelder.org/ Suzanne Elder for Illinois State Senator official website] . The pro-choiceand pro-gay marriage stances of Elder also caused the race to attract substantial attention in the LGBTcommunity; [ http://www.wctimes.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=17294 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 [ [http://www.gaydemographics.org/USA/states/illinois/2000Census_state_il_zipcode.htm Gayest Zip Codes in Illinois] ] .
Elder was endorsed by the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), the Northside DFA [ http://www.dfalink.com/campaign.php?id=2574 Northside DFA] ,
National Organization for WomenPAC, 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 [ [http://www.chicagoelections.com/wdlevel3.asp?elec_code=45 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, [ [http://www.chicagojournal.com/Main.asp?ArticleID=4789&SectionID=49 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. [ [http://www.iviipo.org/Board.htm IVI-IPO State Board, accessed Aug. 30, 2008] ]
* [http://www.boxxet.com/University_of_Chicago/Video_Election_2008_Suzanne_Elder_Candidate_for_Senate_7th_Dist.1gmqw5.d Video Interview: Election 2008 "Suzanne Elder Candidate for Senate 7th District"]
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