...When one woman runs, others often follow. Lauren Underwood, a registered nurse who worked as an adviser in the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services, decided to challenge her Representative, Illinois Republican Randy Hultgren, after he promised not to vote for a health care bill that excludes pre-existing conditions, then voted for the GOP plan anyway. Underwood, who has a pre-existing condition called supraventricular tachycardia, which keeps her heart from maintaining a normal rhythm, then went a step further. She encouraged a high school acquaintance, Anne Stava-Murray, to launch a bid for the Illinois house of representatives. Stava-Murray, a 32-year-old mother of two, had met 45-year-old Val Montgomery at the Women’s March in Naperville, Ill. They started a local Women’s March group together, and ultimately Stava-Murray persuaded Montgomery to run for a neighboring seat in the Illinois house. One woman’s campaign turned into three. “Women have been running Naperville forever, but we haven’t necessarily held elected office. Now we have this idea that we can lead,” says Underwood. “It’s like this ripple effect.”...


Meet the candidates: New women running for office at all levels (12/1/17)

An "accidental co-founder" of a grass-roots political group formed after the Women's March who has worked as a marketing researcher and strategist and organized several local rallies for progressive causes. "We're all so interwoven. If there's ever been a year to run as a newcomer to the field, this is the year because there are so many resources available and built to help first-time candidates that didn't exist in the past."

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Democrat launches campaign... 
in 81st District

“It all started on Nov. 8 last year,” Stava-Murray said, recalling the date Donald Trump was elected the nation’s 45th president. “I really found my voice on Nov. 9. I wrote a letter to my daughter... that crystallized my thoughts.”

One year later, the Naperville resident and mother of two prepares to launch her campaign for 81st District state representative at a Nov. 8 kickoff event at Emmett’s Brewing Company in Downers Grove.

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Naperville moms planning second annual walk for unity (11/3/17)

"The divisiveness in the rhetoric has gotten worse," McBane said. "Did we think it would get worse after last year? Maybe not. But it is." ...

Anne-Stava Murray, one of the organizers of Naperville Women's March Action, said her group sent a member to a planning committee for the unity walk to support the work of building cross-cultural connections. She said new activist groups like hers are aiming to get people involved in the political process while not duplicating what others already are doing.

"It's about sharing resources, thinking smartly," Stava-Murray said.


August 18, 2017 - ...when I opened the Naperville Sun this past week and read that "more than 200 people gathered at the Naperville Riverwalk's Free Speech Pavilion Monday night in solidarity with the victims of Saturday violence in Charlottesville, Va., and to denounce the way President Donald Trump handled the violence," I felt at home. Read more at the Naperville Sun...