I spent the next 30 years pursuing my education and, then, a career as an academic and a business researcher that that took me all over the country and gave me deep experience in education and the workings of the health care marketplace. I attended the University of Chicago, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science. After a research fellowship at the Government Data Center at Harvard University, I taught political science at the University of Iowa.
I left academia in 1999 and moved to California to work as a market researcher, primarily in the health care field. I worked with Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals in Oakland, California, and with Blue Shield of California conducting research that was used to help providers offer culturally competent care to diverse patient populations; better understand employers, members and brokers as customers and patients; and to understand the market for insurance in California and inform the rate-setting process. In 2011, I joined YouGov America, an internet public opinion firm in Silicon Valley, as an operations executive and as vice president of YouGov Healthcare. In late 2014 I made the decision to move back to Rolling Meadows to start my own research firm.
I hope to draw upon my experience to be an effective representative for the 54th district. By the very nature of the work I do, I’ve learned to craft compromise with others through honest communication and persuasion. As a market researcher, I often find myself having to deliver bad news to people in positions of power, and then convince them that it is wise to change course. These skills, which I acquired through long experience in the business world, are essential to the work of responsible lawmakers who know their job is to put the needs of their constituents ahead of divisive, partisan politics. I am running for state representative because I know we can do better for the 54th district, by working together in the state legislature for the interests of all Illinois residents. We need to make sure Illinois families have access to affordable health care and quality public education. We need to pursue fiscal responsibility and fair taxation, while continuing to meet our obligations and provide critical state services. We need to focus on ensuring equal rights for all our residents.
The Illinois budget crisis was a political standoff that caused damage to the state and its residents. Delays in payments to health care providers led to cutbacks in staff and, in a few cases, caused health care facilities to close their doors. Education suffered as well, with state colleges and universities forced to lay off teachers and support staff. For all the difficulties that Illinois is facing, the lack of cooperation and compromise during the crisis made matters worse. Because the state went without a budget for more than two years, its bond rating was repeatedly downgraded – making many options to deal with the state’s obligations much more expensive. Illinois taxpayers will be paying for this irresponsibility, in the form of higher interest rates, for years.
Legislators who refused to work together to pass a budget must be held accountable. We need a reasoned approach to the budget process going forward. We need to repair the damage that the long and utterly unnecessary budget impasse has done to health care and education in this state. We need legislators who know how to negotiate. Our current representative has shown repeatedly that he lacks these skills. At every opportunity, Tom Morrison voted against compromise and for gridlock. He has focused his attention on denying freedom of choice and limiting access to affordable health care. He has proposed legislation to restrict bathroom access of transgender students in our schools. He has opposed marriage equality and women’s reproductive choice. He has fought against laws allowing transgendered people to amend their birth certificates to match their gender identity, and voted against requiring insurance companies to cover birth control. Tom Morrison shares the blame for the state’s budget crisis, and is out of touch with the residents of the 54th District.