Betsy Dirksen Londrigan was raising money for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation when her son nearly died from a tick bite. Helping her son recover took nearly took years of her life. She decided to run for Congress when her her Congressman voted to abolish the Affordable Care Act and the inadequate replacement nearly passed the Senate.
Lauren Underwood was a nurse. She became interested in health care policy, earned a degree from Johns Hopkins, and served in the Health and Human Services Department of the Obama administration implementing the Affordable Care Act (the health care part, not the computer part). She grew up in her congressional district, overcame serious illness, stood out as a diligent and agreeable student. People in the district know her, like her, and she knows them. They know her as a courageous, even an audacious young woman. Her run for Congress, as a young, black woman counts as audacious.
Sean Casten went to Middlebury College in Vermont. With his science degree, he worked at Tufts medical school outside of Boston in a cancer study. From there he went to Dartmouth in New Hampshire where he got two Master's Degrees related to engineering. For three years,Sean Casten worked as a consultant for Arthur D. Little on clean energy. Then he bought a business -- Turbostream Corp. He was President and CEO of a business that custom built fuel efficient heat and power plant. He sold the business, started a new one in Illinois Recycled Energy Development, and created an advocacy organization on behalf of energy companies like his.
Marie Newman is a marketer, she became a partner at age 31 in a national ad agency. When one of her children was bullied in school, she dealt with the personal issue, but also founded a national nonprofit - Team Up to Stop Bullying. She has been a national advocate for cancer research and gun safety. She is running in a primary against an incumbent Congressman because the district is a safe Democratic district and he is so conservative on issues important to women and to progressives.
Brendan Kelly is the St. Clair County State's Attorney. In that role he sued banks for fraudulent and secretive mortgage recording. He was the first State’s Attorney in Illinois to sue big pharmaceutical companies for deceiving patients about the dangers of prescription opioids. He created a children’s justice division to prosecute crimes against children.
Cheri Bustos was one of those few Members of Congress elected in a district that Donald Trump carried. Even so, she is probably not endangered. She won in 2016 by twenty points. Her remarkable victory led to a profile in the blog Politico which described her as the new face of the Democratic Party. That's not quite right. The success of the Democratic Party required integrating moderates from rural districts like Bustos', suburban Democrats, and more traditional urban Democrats into a party that speaks for all of them.
Brad Schneider http://www.schneiderforcongress.com/ is the 7th closest Democratic winner of the 2016 election. We know that he is a target and that he could lose. In fact, he has lost before -- in 2014 to the man he defeated in 2012 and 2016. Brad Schnieder has been an engineer and a business consultant. After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in industrial engineering, he worked on a kibbutz in Israel. He returned to Northwestern to get a degree from the School of Management. In his non-political life, he became the managing principal of an insurance firm, director of strategic services for a larger firm, and then an independent consultant. A Democrat with business experience, he calls himself a progressive. He is pro-choice and supportive of same-sex marriage. He supported a $10.10 minimum wage and, as all Democrats have, the Affordable Care Act.