Lauren Ashley Underwood (born October 4, 1986)[1] is an American politician and registered nurse who serves as the U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 14th congressional district as a member of the Democratic Party. Her district, once represented by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, includes the outer western suburbs of Chicago, including Crystal Lake, Geneva, Oswego, Woodstock, and Yorkville.

After growing up in Naperville, Illinois, Underwood received a degree in nursing from the University of Michigan and two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University. She started her career as a policy professional in the Obama administration in 2014 and later worked as a senior advisor at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

In 2018, Underwood was elected to the United States House of Representatives, defeating Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren. Upon her swearing in, she became the youngest Black woman to serve in Congress.[2] She was reelected in 2020[3] by a margin of 1.34%, the ninth-closest House race of the election cycle.[4]

Early life

Lauren Underwood was born in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.[5] At age three, she moved with her family to Naperville, Illinois, where she grew up and attended Neuqua Valley High School, graduating in 2004. She began as a Girl Scout in kindergarten, and is a lifetime member.[6] From 2003 to 2004, she worked on the City of Naperville’s Fair Housing Advisory Commission.[7] She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan in 2008. At Michigan, Underwood took a course on nursing politics that she has said “changed her life” and influenced her to enter healthcare policy.[7][8] Also at Michigan, she joined the National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.[9] She received her Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in 2009.[7]

Career

In 2014, Underwood became a senior advisor at the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where she worked to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[10][11][12]

Beginning in 2017, Underwood was the Senior Director of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs at Next Level Health.[13] She also served as an adjunct instructor at the Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies.[14]

U.S. House of Representatives

Underwood during election night 2018

Elections

2018

In August 2017, Underwood announced her candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois’s 14th congressional district.[15] Her platform focused on improving the Affordable Care Act, expanding job opportunities, infrastructure improvements, and paid family leave.[10] She won the March 20, Democratic primary with 57% of the vote against six opponents.[16]

In the general election, Underwood faced incumbent Republican Randy Hultgren. In a public debate, Underwood, who has a heart condition, said that she had decided to run for the seat because Hultgren voted to repeal the ACA. Hultgren voted in favor of the Republican American Health Care Act, which passed the House in 2017 but not the Senate, and would have repealed and replaced the ACA.

Underwood said the repeal-and-replace bill would have taken away the right of “individuals like me with preexisting conditions to have affordable coverage” and that people like her would either be denied coverage or charged more. Hultgren said the bill would have protected such people because although it would have allowed states to charge people with preexisting conditions more, they would be eligible for subsidies.[17]

Underwood said that health care is “a human right” and that single-payer/universal coverage/Medicare for all was “a great goal” but would have to wait until we have good answers to the questions about costs.[18] Hultgren ran TV ads stating that Underwood supports a single-payer plan.[19]

Former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Underwood. In the November 6 election[20] she defeated Hultgren with 52.5% of the vote.[21]

2020

Underwood was narrowly reelected over state senator Jim Oberweis, in the ninth-closest race of the House 2020 election cycle.[4] The Associated Press called the election on November 12, nine days after the election.[3]

Tenure

According to VoteView, Underwood has the 16th-most liberal voting record in the House of Representatives in the 116th United States Congress.[22]

During the presidency of Donald Trump, Underwood voted in line with Trump’s stated position 6.5% of the time.[23] As of September 2021, Underwood had voted in line with Joe Biden‘s stated position 100% of the time.[24]

In her first term, Underwood wrote four bills that Trump signed into law.[25]

In 2019, Underwood was listed in the Time 100. Her entry was written by U.S. Senator Cory Booker.[26]

On May 22, 2019, Underwood suggested that immigrant deaths in the custody of the United States Border Patrol were intentional.[27][28]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Illinois 14th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2018[31]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Lauren Underwood 29,391 57.35
DemocraticMatthew Brolley6,84513.36
DemocraticJim Walz5,1009.95
DemocraticVictor Swanson3,5977.02
DemocraticJohn J. Hosta2,5785.03
DemocraticGeorge Weber2,5705.01
DemocraticDaniel Roldan-Johnson1,1702.28
Total votes51,251 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District General Election, 2018[32]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Lauren Underwood 156,035 52.50
RepublicanRandy Hultgren (incumbent)141,16447.50
Total votes297,199 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2020[33]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Lauren Underwood (incumbent) 77,707 100.0
Total votes77,707 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District General Election, 2020[34][35]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Lauren Underwood (incumbent) 203,209 50.67
RepublicanJim Oberweis197,83549.33
Total votes401,052 100.0

See also

References

  1. ^ “Lauren Underwood: Candidate for Congress, 14th District”. WTTW. October 9, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  2. ^ O’Connell, Patrick M. “Democrat Lauren Underwood today becomes the youngest black woman ever in Congress as new class sworn in”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Klar, Rebecca (November 12, 2020). “Underwood wins reelection in Illinois House race”. TheHill. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  4. ^ a b “The 30 Closest US House Races in 2020”. Electionarium. December 18, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  5. ^ “Frequently Asked Questions”. Lauren Underwood for Congress. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  6. ^ Edwards, Breanna. “Lauren Underwood Speaks On Effective Leadership”. Essence. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Sun-Times Editorial Board. “Lauren Underwood: Who she is, why she’s running, her positions”. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  8. ^ “Lauren Underwood: Candidate Profile”. Daily Herald. February 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  9. ^ Davis, Rachaell (March 21, 2018). “Facts About Lauren Underwood – Essence”. Essence. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  10. ^ a b BySun-Times Editorial Board. “Lauren Underwood: Who she is, why she’s running, her positions”. Chicago.suntimes.com. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  11. ^ “Lauren Underwood: Candidate Profile”. Daily Herald. February 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  12. ^ Mary L. Datcher, Chicago Defender Managing Editor (November 15, 2017). “Former Obama Health Sr. Advisor Lauren Underwood Runs for Congress”. The Chicago Defender. Archived from the original on January 27, 2019. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  13. ^ “From Public Health Advisor to Congressional Candidate: An Interview with Lauren Underwood – Minority Nurse”. July 24, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  14. ^ “Naperville’s Lauren Underwood to run for Rep. Randy Hultgren’s 14th District seat – Naperville Sun”. Chicagotribune.com. October 26, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  15. ^ “Naperville’s Lauren Underwood to run for Rep. Randy Hultgren’s 14th District seat – Naperville Sun”. Chicagotribune.com. October 26, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  16. ^ Fuller, James (March 20, 2018). “Underwood coasts in Democratic primary for 14th Congressional District”. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  17. ^ Fuller, Jim (October 23, 2018). “Hultgren, Underwood debate at last, spar over health care vote”. Daily Herald.
  18. ^ Fuller, James (April 2, 2018). “Underwood hopes winning primary formula carries over against Hultgren”. Daily Herald.
  19. ^ Skinner, Cal (October 6, 2018). “Hultgren Goes After Single Payer Health Plan Supported by Opponent Underwood”. McHenry County Blog.
  20. ^ “Lauren Underwood embraces progressive label in faceoff against U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  21. ^ “Illinois’s 14th House District Election Results: Lauren Underwood vs. Randy Hultgren”. New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  22. ^ “Voteview | Congress View”. voteview.com. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  23. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). “Tracking Lauren Underwood In The Age Of Trump”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  24. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). “Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  25. ^ “Lauren Underwood Wins Reelection In Illinois’ 14th District, But Her Challenger Won’t Concede”. WBEZ Chicago. November 12, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  26. ^ “TIME 100 Next 2019: Lauren Underwood”. Time. 2019. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  27. ^ “Lawmaker suggests migrant deaths are intentional”. CNN. May 22, 2019.
  28. ^ Alvarez, Priscilla (May 22, 2019). “Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan defends shifting DHS resources to the border”. CNN.
  29. ^ “Congressional Black Caucus”. cbc.house.gov. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  30. ^ “Rep. Adams and Rep. Underwood Launch Black Maternal Health Caucus”. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  31. ^ “Election Results 2018 GENERAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  32. ^ “Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on January 16, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  33. ^ “Election Results 2020 GENERAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  34. ^ “Election Results 2020 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. December 4, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  35. ^ “Illinois 2020 Election Results”. Chicago Sun-Times. November 20, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Randy Hultgren
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois’s 14th congressional district

2019–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
David Trone
United States representatives by seniority
361st
Succeeded by
Jeff Van Drew