...the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, albeit a stubborn one

Albert Einstein

Jan Schakowsky - Biography

Janice D. "Jan" Schakowsky (born May 26, 1944) is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1999. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

The district includes many of Chicago's northern suburbs, including Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Rosemont. It also includes a large portion of Chicago's North Side bordering Lake Michigan.


Early life, education and career

Schakowsky, born in 1944 in the city of Chicago, is of Russian descent. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in elementary education where she was a member of Delta Phi Epsilon (social) sorority. She was Program Director of Illinois Public Action, Illinois' largest public interest group, from 1976 to 1985. She then moved to the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens as executive director for five years until 1990, when she was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. She served there for four terms.

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Energy and Commerce
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade
    • Subcommittee on Health
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
  • Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Party leadership and caucus memberships

  • Chief Deputy Whip
  • Steering and Policy Committee
  • Founding member of the Out-of-Iraq Caucus
  • Democratic Vice Chair of the bipartisan Women's Caucus

Schakowsky is by some accounts the most Progressive member of the current US Congress. She is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She frequently gains ratings of between 90 and 100 from liberal and progressive interest groups and lower ratings from conservative groups.

In April 2009 Schakowsky pointedly criticized the tax day Tea Party protests, asserting that they were "an effort to mislead the public about the Obama economic plan that cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans and creates 3.5 million jobs." Schakowsky added, "It's despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt."

As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, Schakowsky has been known for her support of women's issues while in Congress.

The Nation endorsed her for vice president in the United States presidential election, 2004, stating that she is 'the truest heir to Paul Wellstone in the current Congress'. She was, however, not selected as John Kerry's running mate.

In May 2004, Schakowsky gave a speech at the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America's 46th Annual Debs-Thomas-Harrington Dinner.

In response to concerns about electoral irregularities in the state of Ohio during the 2004 presidential election, Schakowsky was one of 31 members of the United States House of Representatives who voted not to accept Ohio's electoral votes.

Schakowsky has been outspoken in her opposition to the Iraq War. She was one of the earliest and most emphatic supporters of U.S. Senator Barack Obama prior to his victory in the 2004 Illinois Democratic primary election, and actively supported his bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

In hearings held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcomittee in July 2006, Schakowsky expressed concern that a report from the National Academy of Sciences showing discrepancies among scientists studying global warming might be "used in a way to discredit the whole notion that our country and the rest of the industrialized and developing world ought to do anything about global warming".

Schakowsky indicated interest in replacing Barack Obama in the United States Senate. Before his arrest, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had reportedly been considering Schakowsky among at least six candidates to fill the vacancy. Schakowsky was one of the first figures in Illinois to voice interest in running in a special election to replace Obama.

In April 2009, she stated her support for two-tier health care, or a so-called "public option", in the United States, arguing that it would put health insurance companies out of business and lead to single-payer health care, which she supports.

In March 2010 Schakowsky was appointed by Speaker Pelosi to President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, commonly known as the deficit commission.

Political campaigns


Sidney Yates, who had represented the 9th District since 1949 (except for an unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1962), had announced in 1996 that he wouldn't run for re-election in 1998. Schakowsky easily won the Democratic primary, which all but assured her of election in the heavily Democratic 9th. She won in November with 75 percent of the vote and has easily won reelection four times with 70 percent or more of the vote. She is only the third person to represent the district since 1949.




Electoral history

 : Results 1998–2010
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1998 107,878 75% Herbert Sohn 33,448 23% Michael D. Ray Libertarian 3,284 2%
2000 Janice D. Schakowsky 147,002 76% 45,344 24%
2002 Janice D. Schakowsky 118,642 70% 45,307 27% Stephanie "Vs. The Machine" Sailor Libertarian 4,887 3%
2004 Janice D. Schakowsky 175,282 76% 56,135 24%
2006 Janice D. Schakowsky 122,852 75% 41,858 25% *
2008 Janice D. Schakowsky 178,829 75% Michael B. Younan 52,841 22% Morris Shanfield Green 7,969 3%
2010 Janice D. Schakowsky 114,969 66% Joel Barry Pollak 54,274 31% Simon Ribeiro Green 4,374 3%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2006, write-ins received 3 votes.

Views on Gaza and Hamas

In June 2011, Schakowsky condemned the Progressive Democrats of America for their role in the coming Hamas Flotilla 2.

Personal life

Husband's bank fraud and tax evasion convictions

On March 11, 2004, Schakowsky's husband, lobbyist Robert Creamer, the executive director of the Illinois Public Action Fund, was indicted in federal court on 16 counts of bank fraud involving three alleged check-kiting schemes in the mid-1990s, leading several banks to experience shortfalls of at least $2.3 million. In August 2005, Creamer pleaded guilty to one count of failure to collect withholding tax, and bank fraud for writing checks with insufficient funds. All of the money was repaid. Schakowsky was not accused of any wrongdoing. Schakowsky served on the organization's board during the time the crimes occurred, and Schakowsky signed the IRS filings along with her husband. U.S. District Judge James B. Moran noted no one suffered "out of pocket losses," and Creamer acted not out of greed but in an effort to keep his community action group going without cutting programs, though Creamer paid his own $100,000 salary with fraudulently obtained funds. On April 5, 2006, Creamer was sentenced to five months in prison and 11 months of house arrest. Creamer served his five-month incarceration at the Federal Correction Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana and was released on November 3, 2006.


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