Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D)

Illinois District 9

Leadership: Chief Deputy Whip

jan.schakowsky@mail.house.gov

schakowsky.house.gov

Biography

Elected: 1998, 8th term.

Born: May 26, 1944, Chicago

Home: Evanston

Education: U. of IL, B.S. 1965

Professional Career: Founder, Natl. Consumers Unite, 1969-73; Prog. dir., IL Public Action, 1976-85; Exec. dir., IL State Cncl. of Sr. Citizens, 1985-90.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Jewish

Family: married (Robert Creamer) , 3 children

Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat elected in 1998, is an outspoken progressive. The Nation magazine once called her “the truest heir to Paul Wellstone,” the late Minnesota senator and champion of the left, while the more conservative Chicago Tribune’s editorial page derided her as “one of the most partisan, liberal members of the House.”

Schakowsky grew up in Rogers Park and worked for two years as a teacher. In 1969, she formed National Consumers Unite to fight for date-of-freshness labels on dairy products and other food. Later she joined Illinois Public Action, a consumer group. In 1985, she became executive director of the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens, where she organized the pivotal 1989 protest of Democratic Rep. Dan Rostenkowski’s Medicare catastrophic health care law for seniors. Television news images of the powerful Rostenkowski fleeing an angry crowd of old people led Congress to repeal the benefit, which many said did not provide adequate coverage. In 1990, Schakowsky was elected to the state House from Evanston and Skokie, and later became Democratic floor leader.

In 1998, Schakowsky was selected in the Democratic primary to replace Sidney Yates, a liberal Democrat who had represented the lakefront in Congress for 48 years. Her strategy was to run from the left—“I don’t think I can be defined as too far left in a district like this,” she said—and to build a volunteer organization. With ads in college papers, she hired young field organizers to set about identifying Schakowsky voters. She raised $1.4 million, with help from the women’s abortion rights fundraising group EMILY’s List. Her opponent was state Sen. Howard Carroll, who had the support of most Democratic ward committeemen and attacked Schakowsky for her opposition to the death penalty. Schakowsky’s 1,500 workers, 250 of them from labor unions, helped her to a 45%-34% win. She easily won the general election and has been reelected without difficulty.

Schakowsky has one of the most liberal voting records in the House and regularly scores perfect ratings from liberal interest groups. She irked conservatives in September 2012 when she accused Republicans of engaging in “daily sabotage against anything that would have made our economy better.” A close ally of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Schakowsky has worked with Democratic leaders on electoral strategy, including heading a training program for political organizers. She was an early supporter of Pelosi for party whip when Pelosi was getting her start in leadership, and Pelosi rewarded her with the chief deputy whip post. Schakowsky formally nominated Pelosi for election as minority leader in November 2012. Her contacts with national liberal groups have helped Schakowsky become a major party fundraiser, drawing heavily from the traditional Democratic constituencies of lawyers, women’s interest groups, and unions.

In early 2006, she sought a higher leadership post as vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, which would put her on a track to become caucus chairman, the No. 3 leadership job. With support from Pelosi, Schakowsky was the early front-runner against New York’s Joe Crowley and Connecticut’s John Larson. But on the first ballot, she finished third behind Crowley and Larson. Schakowsky threw her support to Larson, another Pelosi ally. With Schakowsky’s former supporters on board, Larson prevailed. Some Democrats speculated that Schakowsky was hurt by the timing of the contest, which occurred soon after her husband, Robert Creamer, the longtime head of Illinois Public Action Fund, pleaded guilty to bank fraud in a check-kiting scheme. Schakowsky said that her husband had “made mistakes,” but that she was unaware of his financial problems and that she stood by him.

Schakowsky briefly considered a run for the Senate in 2004 but decided against it. Later, in 2008, she was interested in being appointed to the remainder of President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate term until the scandal broke over Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s alleged attempts to profit personally and politically from his power to make the appointment. She was an early backer of Obama for president, giving cover to other prominent Democratic women who may have wanted to support him but felt obliged to support then-New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

As former chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the Intelligence Committee, Schakowsky tried to get spy agencies to be more forthcoming in briefing members of Congress about their actions. In July 2009, she backed Pelosi when Pelosi claimed that she had not been informed of the use by U.S. interrogators of water boarding, as Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta had maintained. Schakowsky was the only committee member in December 2011 to oppose cyber security legislation, saying that the measure didn’t do enough to safeguard civil liberties.

On the Energy and Commerce Committee, Schakowsky was a player in the enactment in 2008 of the child product safety bill, which toughened regulations, and has continued to remain active on consumer issues. In 2009, she was a strong supporter and cosponsor of legislation creating a federally-run insurance option in the Democrats’ health care bill. But the public option provision ultimately was dropped because of opposition from party moderates.

Pelosi appointed Schakowsky to the newly created Simpson-Bowles commission on the national debt in March 2010, where she opposed ending federal economic stimulus spending and argued that safety net spending should be exempt from budget cuts. She joined fellow Democratic commission member Xavier Becerra of California in arguing that any debt reduction options should include income distribution tables to show what areas would be hit hardest.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2111

(202) 226-6890

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2367
Washington, DC 20515-1309

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2111

(202) 226-6890

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2367
Washington, DC 20515-1309

DISTRICT OFFICE

(773) 506-7100

(773) 506-9202

5533 North Broadway Street Suite 2
Chicago, IL 60640-1405

DISTRICT OFFICE

(773) 506-7100

(773) 506-9202

5533 North Broadway Street Suite 2
Chicago, IL 60640-1405

DISTRICT OFFICE

(847) 328-3409

(847) 328-3425

1852 Johns Drive
Glenview, IL 60025

DISTRICT OFFICE

(847) 328-3409

(847) 328-3425

1852 Johns Drive
Glenview, IL 60025

DISTRICT OFFICE

(847) 328-3409

(847) 328-3425

820 Davis Street Suite 105
Evanston, IL 60201

DISTRICT OFFICE

(847) 328-3409

(847) 328-3425

820 Davis Street Suite 105
Evanston, IL 60201

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

1101 Ridge Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(847) 491-0865

1101 Ridge Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Aerospace

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Agriculture

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Cassandra Varanka
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Arts

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Campaign

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Census

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Congress

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Crime

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Cassandra Varanka
Legislative Assistant

Disaster

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Education

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Family

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Foreign

Cathy Hurwit
Chief of Staff

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Shannon Kellman
Legislative Assistant

Gambling

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Govt Ops

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Gun Issues

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Health

Cathy Hurwit
Chief of Staff

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Homeland Security

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Human Rights

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Cassandra Varanka
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Shannon Kellman
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Judiciary

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Labor

Cathy Hurwit
Chief of Staff

Medicare

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Military

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Shannon Kellman
Legislative Assistant

Minorities

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

National Security

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Native Americans

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Privacy

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Religion

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Science

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Seniors

Cathy Hurwit
Chief of Staff

Social Security

Cathy Hurwit
Chief of Staff

Technology

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Trade

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Veterans

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Shannon Kellman
Legislative Assistant

Welfare

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Andrew Goczkowski
Grants Coordinator; Constituent Advocate

Cassandra Varanka
Legislative Assistant

Women

Amy Kelbick
Legislative Assistant; Senior Policy Advisor

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Jan Schakowsky
Votes: 194,869
Percent: 66.33%
Timothy Wolfe
Votes: 98,924
Percent: 33.67%
2012 PRIMARY
Jan Schakowsky
Votes: 48,124
Percent: 91.85%
Simon Ribeiro
Votes: 4,270
Percent: 8.15%
2010 GENERAL
Jan Schakowsky
Votes: 117,553
Percent: 66.34%
Joel Pollak
Votes: 55,182
Percent: 31.14%
2010 PRIMARY
Jan Schakowsky
Votes: 62,763
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Jan Schakowsky
Votes: 181,948
Percent: 74.66%
Michael Younan
Votes: 53,593
Percent: 21.99%
2008 PRIMARY
Jan Schakowsky
Votes: 98,374
Percent: 87.94%
John Nocita
Votes: 13,485
Percent: 12.06%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (66%), 2008 (75%), 2006 (75%), 2004 (76%), 2002 (70%), 2000 (76%), 1998 (75%)

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