Jan Schakowsky

b. May 26, 1944

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Jan Schakowsky until we are able to commission a full entry.

Representative Jan Schakowsky (D), from Illinois's 9th district.
Courtesy of the United States Congress.

Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has earned a reputation as a liberal progressive for her stances on issues ranging from health care to marijuana legalization. Schakowsky earned a BS in elementary education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1965. She got her start in politics in 1969 when she founded the consumer advocacy group National Consumers Unite, which successfully advocated for freshness dates on supermarket packaging. From 1976 to 1985, she was program director for Illinois Public Action, a major public interest group, then became executive director of the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens from 1985 to 1990. After spending nine years in the Illinois House of Representatives, she was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1998. She served on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as the co–chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. She was a founding member of the congressional Seniors Task Force (now named the Task Force on Aging and Families) and serves as its co-chair. She has been a vocal critic of the Tea Party and of the Iraq War and has advocated for issues like gun control, single–payer healthcare, raising the minimum wage, and environmental protection. In 2010 she served on President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, where she opposed the committee co-chairs’ proposal to reduce spending. Instead, she presented her own plan, which would have saved the same amount of money without cutting welfare programs such as social security. In 2014 she was one of 18 House members who signed a letter asking President Obama to legalize marijuana. A longtime advocate for affordable healthcare, Schakowsky was instrumental in passing the Affordable Care Act. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jan Schakowsky." (Viewed on April 12, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/schakowsky-jan>.