Illinois New Members 2019

Illinois New Members 2019

Rep.-elect Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.-04)

DATE OF BIRTH: April 12, 1956
OCCUPATION: Cook County Commissioner
EDUCATION: B.A., M.A., University of Illinois, Chicago
FAMILY: Wife, Evelyn; three children

Jesús “Chuy” García has been a longtime force in Chicago politics and is now taking the national stage.


García succeeds Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), who held the seat in the mostly Hispanic district since 1993, and like his predecessor can be expected to be a prominent voice on immigration issues.

García was born in Mexico and became a permanent resident of the U.S. in 1965, when his family settled in the Windy City. 

García, 62, describes himself as a part of the new wave of progressive leaders and worked for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden Julián Castro to become senior advisor for Voto Latino MORE’s (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign. His campaign focused on “Medicare for all,” reining in Immigration and Customs Enforcement and fixing the nation’s immigration system.

García previously served on the Cook County Board, where he helped pass a measure that prevented county officials from detaining a person based on the suspicion of being in the country illegally. 

García has also held positions on the Chicago City Council and Illinois legislature.

Rep.-elect Sean Casten (D-Ill.-06)


DATE OF BIRTH: Nov. 23, 1971
RESIDENCE: Downers Grove, Ill.
OCCUPATION: Businessman
EDUCATION: B.A., Middlebury College; M.S., M.E.M., Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth
FAMILY: Wife, Kara; two daughters

Political newcomer Sean Casten took down six-term GOP incumbent Rep. Peter Roskam Peter James RoskamLobbying world House votes to temporarily repeal Trump SALT deduction cap Feehery: How Republicans can win back the suburbs MORE to win his first race for office.

Casten will represent Illinois’s 6th Congressional District, west of Chicago.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Casten holds an undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biochemistry and graduate degrees in engineering management and biochemical engineering. A scientist and entrepreneur, he moved to Illinois in 2007 to found Recycled Energy Development, a clean-energy business looking to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Casten made climate change and environmental protection a key element of his campaign and received endorsements from both former President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting MORE (D-Mass.) as well as former Democratic environmental officials. He beat out six other Democrats in the primary before taking down Roskam.

An impressive athlete, Casten has completed 10 marathons and also coaches youth soccer in Downers Grove, Ill. He also plays in several cover bands.

Rep.-elect Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.-14)

DATE OF BIRTH: Oct. 4, 1986
RESIDENCE: Naperville, Ill.
OCCUPATION: Registered nurse, teacher
EDUCATION: B.S., University of Michigan; M.S., M.P.H., Johns Hopkins University
FAMILY: Single

Lauren Underwood knocked off four-term GOP Rep. Randy HultgrenRandall (Randy) Mark HultgrenRepublican challenging freshman Dem rep says he raised 0,000 in 6 days Illinois Dems offer bill to raise SALT deduction cap The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE to flip Illinois’s 14th Congressional District.

The district, west of Chicago and the city’s suburbs, was one of the most competitive in the state. It voted for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE in 2016, but Democrats saw a pickup opportunity. 

The only woman in the Democratic primary, Underwood defeated six other contenders for her spot in the general election. She was also the youngest black woman to run for Congress in 2018.

Underwood is no stranger to public service. Under former President Obama, she served at the Department of Health and Human Services, first as a policy coordinator and later being appointed to the post of senior adviser. She is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Nursing and worked as a senior director at NextLevel Health, a Medicaid managed care health plan.

Underwood was raised in Naperville, Ill., before graduating from the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University.