Women in Illinois politics

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  1. Michelle Obama

    Michelle Obama


    Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer and writer. She is married to the 44th and current President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Raised on the South Side of Chicago, she is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and spent the early part of her legal career working at the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met Barack. Subsequently, she worked as part of the staff of Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, and for the University of Chicago Medical Center.

  2. Mary Matalin

    Mary Matalin


    Mary Joe Matalin (born August 19, 1953) is an American political consultant well known for her work with the Republican Party. She has served under President Ronald Reagan, was campaign director for George H.W. Bush, was an assistant to President George W. Bush, and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney until 2003. Matalin has been chief editor of Threshold Editions, a conservative publishing imprint at Simon & Schuster, since March 2005. She is married to Democratic political consultant James Carville. She appears in the award-winning documentary film Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story and also played herself, opposite her husband, James Carville, John Slattery, and Mary McCormack in the short lived HBO series K Street.

  3. Erika Harold

    Erika Harold


    Erika N. L. Harold (born February 20, 1980), Miss America 2003, is an American attorney. She is also a two-time Republican candidate for the 13th Congressional District seat in the State of Illinois.

  4. Carol Moseley-Braun

    Carol Moseley-Braun


    Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun, also sometimes Moseley-Braun (born August 16, 1947), is an American politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first and to date only female African-American Senator, the first African-American U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party, the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election, and the first and to date only female Senator from Illinois. From 1999 until 2001, she was the United States Ambassador to New Zealand. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination during the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Following the public announcement by Richard M. Daley that he would not seek re-election, in November 2010, Braun began her campaign for Mayor of Chicago. The former Senator placed fourth in a field of six candidates, losing the February 22, 2011, election to Rahm Emanuel.

  5. Valerie Jarrett

    Valerie Jarrett


    Valerie June Bowman Jarrett (born November 14, 1956) is an American government official who is currently the Senior Advisor to the President of the United States and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama administration. She is a Chicago lawyer, businesswoman, and civic leader. Prior to that she served as a co-chairman of the Obama–Biden Transition Project.

  6. Patricia Roberts Harris

    Patricia Roberts Harris


    Patricia Roberts Harris (May 31, 1924 – March 23, 1985) served in the American administration of President Jimmy Carter as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (which was renamed the Secretary of Health and Human Services during her tenure). She was the first African American woman to serve in the United States Cabinet, and the first to enter the line of succession to the Presidency. She previously served as United States Ambassador to Luxembourg under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and was the first African-American woman to represent the United States as an ambassador.

  7. Tammy Duckworth

    Tammy Duckworth


    Ladda Tammy Duckworth (born March 12, 1968) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 8th congressional district since 2013. A Democrat, she is the first Asian American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.

  8. Colleen Callahan

    Colleen Callahan


    Colleen Callahan is an agribusiness news reporter and Illinois Director of USDA Rural Development. She was the Democratic nominee for Illinois' 18th congressional district in 2008.

  9. Melissa Bean

    Melissa Bean


    Melissa Luburich Bean (born January 22, 1962) is an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 8th congressional district from 2005 to 2011. Bean, who is of Serb origin, is a member of the Democratic Party.

  10. Andrea Barthwell

    Andrea Barthwell


    Andrea Grubb Barthwell, M.D., worked in the White House under President of the United States George W. Bush as Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

  11. Judy Biggert

    Judy Biggert


    Judith Borg "Judy" Biggert (born August 15, 1937) is the former U.S. Representative for Illinois's 13th congressional district, serving from 1999 to 2013. She is a member of the Republican Party.

  12. Ilana Rovner

    Ilana Rovner


    Ilana Kara Diamond Rovner (born August 21, 1938) is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She was nominated by President George H.W. Bush on July 2, 1992, and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 12, 1992. Rovner was sworn in on August 17, 1992. Rovner was the first woman appointed to the Seventh Circuit.

  13. Rebecca Paul

    Rebecca Paul


    Rebecca Paul Hargrove (née Graham), professionally known as Rebecca Paul, is currently the President and CEO of the Tennessee Lottery. Prior to assuming her current position in 2003, Paul gained national fame within the lottery community for operating lotteries in Illinois, Florida, and Georgia. As in Tennessee, Paul was recruited to Florida and Georgia for the explicit purpose of starting up those lotteries from scratch.

  14. Stephanie Neely

    Stephanie Neely


    Stephanie D. Neely is the Treasurer of the City of Chicago, Illinois. She was sworn in in December 2006.

  15. Charlotte Thompson Reid

    Charlotte Thompson Reid


    Charlotte Thompson Reid (September 27, 1913 – January 25, 2007) served in the U.S. Congress as a U.S. Representative for Illinois from 1963 to 1971. She was a member of the Republican Party.

  16. Anne M. Burke

    Anne M. Burke


    Anne Marie Burke, (née McGlone; born February 3, 1944) is an Illinois Supreme Court Justice for the First Judicial District (Cook County, Illinois). Burke was appointed to the Illinois Appellate Court in 1995 and was elected to the seat in 1996. Burke is among the founders of the Special Olympics. Burke is married to Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke from the 14th Ward.

  17. Leslie Hairston

    Leslie Hairston


    Leslie Hairston (born July 17, 1961) is alderman of the 5th ward of the City of Chicago; she was elected in 1999. Hairston is a Hyde Park native. As alderman, she represents the ward in the Chicago City Council along with representatives from the 49 other Chicago wards. She was re-elected in 2003, 2007 & 2011.

  18. Rita B. Garman

    Rita B. Garman


    Rita B. Garman (born November 19, 1943 in Aurora, Illinois) is the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois. She represents the Fourth Judicial District on the Supreme Court. She was elected by her peers to serve a three year term as Chief Justice and assumed that office on October 26, 2013, succeeding Justice Thomas Kilbride.

  19. Arenda Troutman

    Arenda Troutman


    Arenda Troutman (born 1957) was the Democratic alderman of the 20th Ward in Chicago. She was appointed to her position by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1990, to fill a vacancy after the death of Alderman Ernest Jones. Troutman was the 16th woman to serve as a Chicago alderman. Despite her arrest and indictment on bribery charges, Troutman ran for alderman in 2007; she lost.

  20. Sheila Simon

    Sheila Simon


    Sheila J. Simon (born March 13, 1961) was the 46th Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, from 2011 to 2015. In 2014, she was the Democratic nominee for Illinois State Comptroller, losing to Republican incumbent Judy Baar Topinka. She was previously a professor of law at the Southern Illinois University School of Law. Simon is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Paul Simon, who had previously served as Lieutenant Governor of Illinois (1969-1973), and his first wife, former Illinois State Representative Jeanne Hurley Simon.

  21. Ruth Hanna McCormick

    Ruth Hanna McCormick


    Ruth Hanna, Ruth Hanna McCormick or Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms (March 27, 1880 – December 31, 1944) was a United States Representative from Illinois.

  22. Carrie Austin

    Carrie Austin


    Carrie Austin is alderman of the 34th ward of the City of Chicago.

  23. Mary Ann Smith

    Mary Ann Smith


    Mary Ann Smith is alderman of the 48th ward in Chicago; she was appointed in 1989 by Mayor Richard M. Daley to replace Kathy Osterman; she was first elected in 1991. On February 27, 2007 she was re-elected to her fifth full term of office.

  24. Freddrenna Lyle

    Freddrenna Lyle


    Freddrenna Margaret Lyle is alderman of the 6th ward of the City of Chicago City Council. She was appointed to the office by Mayor Daley in 1998 to fill the unexpired term of John O. Steele, now a Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court.

  25. Marguerite S. Church

    Marguerite S. Church


    Marguerite Stitt Church (New York, September 27, 1892 – Chicago, May 26, 1990) was a psychologist by profession who was elected to her husband Ralph E. Church's congressional seat to complete his term, following his death in office. She continued to represent Illinois' 13th congressional district as a Republican from 1951 to 1963. Church was a 1915 graduate of Wellesley College, and earned a Masters from Columbia University in 1917. She was a member of the Methodist Church, The League of Women Voters, The American Association of University Women, Delta Kappa Gamma, and Phi Beta Kappa. Church also served on the National Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of the USA. She also served as a delegate from Illinois to the Republican National Convention in 1964.

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