Heather Steans has represented Illinois Senate District 7 since 2008. Steans 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 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 bills to create civil unions, repeal the death penalty and most recently secured Senate passage of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act to provide freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples.
Steans 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 Steans and her husband Leo have lived with their three children in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago for 19 years.
Heather is a proud member of the New Deal Leaders, a national network of state and local elected leaders who are pro-growth progressives, sharing innovative ideas and case practices: