(1944 - )
Jan Schakowsky was elected to represent Illinois 9th
Congressional District on November 3, 1998, after serving for eight years
in the Illinois State Assembly. The 9th Congressional District encompasses
city and suburbs, including the North Lakeshore of Chicago, Evanston,
Skokie, Niles, Morton Grove and several Northwest Side neighborhoods.
A consumer and senior citizen advocate, grassroots
organizer, and elected public official, U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky
has fought throughout her career for economic and social justice and
improved quality of life for all. She is committed to universal health care
coverage for all Americans, to national investment in public education, and
to issues affecting seniors, working families, and women.
In her first year in office, the Capitol Hill newspaper
Roll Call recognized her as a legislator who segued easily from state to
national politics and is utterly unafraid to take on anyone at any time in
fighting for her issues. Schakowsky has emerged as a leader on Capitol
Hill on many fronts, and is identified in Washington as a Representative
who is willing to stand up to special interests. Roll Call newspaper
selected Schakowsky A Next Generation of Hill Leaders and one of
the stars of the freshman class for her energy and strategic skills.
A champion for the nations seniors, Schakowsky is
actively engaged in the national campaign to give 39 million senior
citizens and persons with disabilities access to affordable prescription
drugs. Schakowsky is also working to ensure that seniors receive quality
home, hospice, and nursing home care.
A longtime consumer advocate, who in 1969 led the fight
that put freshness dates on products sold in the supermarket, Schakowsky
carries on that tradition in Congress. She introduced the Financial
Consumers Bill of Rights Act, a comprehensive bill to put an end to ATM
surcharges and exorbitant bank fees, and to deliver real financial privacy
protections for consumers. She also proposed a bill to protect consumers
from predatory lending practices.
In her first term in office, she was successful in
including provisions in major legislation to expand housing opportunities
for low-income people and to assist small business owners and farmers. She
is an active member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and is a
champion of expanding our nations hate crime laws. Following the vicious
hate crimes committed against her constituents and others over the 4th of
July weekend in 1999, her bill condemning acts of hate was passed by the
She is a powerful voice for protecting children and
putting an end to the epidemic of gun violence. In 1999, she organized the
first national womens forum on gun safety in Chicago and is working
against the gun lobby to pass sensible gun safety measures that would save
lives. Schakowsky also introduced major bills to increase federal
assistance for abused women and children and to protect the rights of
battered immigrant women.
With three district offices in Chicago, Evanston, and
Niles, and a dedicated team of constituent advocates, Schakowsky is working
to deliver to the people of the 9th Congressional District superior
constituent services and a powerful voice when dealing with federal
agencies. Representing one of the most diverse districts in the nation,
Schakowsky immediately took on the Immigration and Naturalization Service
on behalf of her constituents in order to bring to an end the agencys
culture of the customer is always wrong.
In Washington, Schakowsky serves on the House Banking
and Financial Services and Government Reform Committees. She was elected to
a leadership position of Freshman Whip and selected to be a floor Whip,
where she helps coordinate and rally votes on key issues. Schakowsky is a
member of the Health Care and Medicare Task Forces.
Prior to her election to Congress, Schakowsky
represented the 18th District in the Illinois General Assembly for eight
years. She chaired the Labor and Commerce Committee, and served on the
Human Service Appropriations, Health Care, and the Electric Deregulation
Committees. She also served as a Democratic Floor Leader and as Secretary
of the Conference of Women Legislators.
As a State Representative, Jan Schakowsky sponsored and
passed many important measures, including bills to strengthen the Hate
Crimes Act and nursing home protections; to increase support for public
libraries, day care centers and home delivered meals for seniors; to allow
parents leave from work for school conferences; and the first bill in the
nation guaranteeing homeless people the right to vote.
For twenty years prior to her election to the State
House, Schakowsky fought for the public interest and rights of Illinois
citizens. In 1969, as a consumer advocate, she began the fight that put
freshness dates on products sold in the supermarket. As Program Director of
Illinois Public Action, the states largest public interest organization,
she fought for energy reform and stronger protection from toxic chemicals.
As Director of the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens from
1985-1990, she organized across the state for lower cost prescription drugs
and tax relief for seniors, financial protection for the spouses of nursing
home residents and other benefits for the elderly. She has been deeply
involved in the fight to protect womens reproductive freedom.
U.S. Representative Schakowsky is on the Midwest
Governing Council of the Jewish Congress, and is a member of the Labor
Union UNITE! and a number of grassroots and civic organizations. She also
serves on the Advisory Council of the Board of Directors of Palliative Care
Center of the North Shore. Schakowsky resides in Evanston, Illinois with
her husband Robert Creamer. She has three children, Ian, Mary, and
stepdaughter Lauren Creamer, and two granddaughters, Isabel and Eve. She
was graduated from the University of Illinois in 1965 with a B.S. in
Sources: Congressman Jan Schakowsky