Heather Steans has represented Illinois Senate District 7 since 2008. Currently Heather chairs the Appropriations I Committee, vice chairs the Environment Committee, co-chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Medicaid Advisory Committee, and serves on the Public Health and Executive committees. Steans passed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act to provide marriage equality to all Illinois residents. She also passed Medicaid expansion that was enabled under the federal health care law and Medicaid reform legislation to address the state’s $2.7 billion shortfall, ensuring ongoing solvency of the Medicaid program. In addition she has enacted significant nursing home reform legislation, bills to improve the environment by reducing mercury waste and creating commercial composting capabilities, and sponsored repeal of the death penalty.

Heather graduated from Princeton with a B.A. in Urban Studies and received her M.A. in Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Her professional career has focused on government finance, economic development and education reform. She is the former budget director of the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations, served as a strategic planner with the Chicago Public Schools, and was a consultant with Ernst & Young. Steans has received numerous awards, including the Legislator of the Year Award from AARP, the Richard Phelan Profile in Courage Award from Planned Parenthood, the Legislative Recovery Award from Trilogy, the Partner in Change award from the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness and the Equality Illinois Freedom Award.

Heather and her husband Leo have lived with their three children in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago for 20 years.

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