She Runs Illinois 2020! — Anna Moeller, candidate for IL House of Representatives, District 43
She Votes Illinois is pleased to feature Anna Moeller, incumbent, running for IL House of Representatives, District 43. Follow our series, She Runs Illinois 2020!, leading up to election day as we showcase and uplift the voices of Illinois women running for public office in the upcoming election.
Tell us about yourself
I have been State Representative for the Illinois 43rd District since March 2014. I serve as the Chairwoman of the House Healthcare Licensing Committee, on the Energy and Environment Committee, Appropriations- Human Services Committee, Economic and Equity Committee and Insurance Committee. I also serve on the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). Since taking office, I have championed legislation on pay equity, good government reforms, environmental protection, increased access to healthcare and bills that advance LGBTQ equality.
I previously served as the Founding Executive Director of the McHenry County Council of Governments, Assistant Village Administrator for the Village of Lake in the Hills and was elected Councilwoman for the City of Elgin in 2011. Before my career in local government, I was an ESL Teacher at the Inlingua International Language School in Andorra La Vella, the Principality of Andorra, Europe, served as Legislative Aide for former Illinois State Representative Andrea S. Moore, 61st District, and Legislative Intern for former Congressman John Porter, 10th Illinois District in Washington D.C.
I have a BA in History and Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Northern Illinois University and I have received numerous awards and recognitions including an Agent of Change Award by the Illinois Chapter of the American Association of University Women and Legislator of the Year Award by the Illinois Environmental Council. I was named an Edgar Fellow by the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, Champaign- Urbana in 2012 and Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Fellow in 2018.
I have also served on the Elgin Planning and Development Commission, Elgin Human Relations Commission, Vice-President of Imagine McHenry County, as Vice-President of the Northeast Neighborhood Association of Elgin and as an English as a Second Language Tutor for the Literacy Connection. I am currently a member of the Elgin Branch of the American Association of University Women.
I was born in Berkeley, CA and raised by my grandparents in Waukegan, IL. I have two daughters and I am married to Marc Moeller, a teacher in the Barrington School District 220.
Tell us about the women in your life
My grandmother was a major influence in my life. She and my grandfather adopted me when I was a baby and she was an example of generosity, compassion and strength in the face of adversity. She inspired me to want to make the world a better place. Although she never had a college education, she made sure I attended university and had opportunities that had been denied to women in her generation. I chose a career in public service because of her. My daughters, Madeline and Eleanor, motivate me on a personal level to want to improve society- for the future especially for women and girls. I want them to be able to live healthy, meaningful and independent lives and without the barriers that women have faced since the dawn of time.
What led you into politics? Why are you running for THIS office?
I love this state and the communities I represent in the 43rd District. My professional life has been devoted to improving life for communities across the state, first as a professional public administrator working on budgets and urban planning in municipalities to starting a non-profit organization focused on increasing collaboration between local governments and addressing regional issues like housing and transportation to now serving as a State Representative. Since serving in the General Assembly, I have worked to pass legislation that has true impact on the quality of life for Illinoisans. These include working collaboratively with colleagues to ensure equal pay for equal work for women, support for workers and collective bargaining rights, pro-environmental initiatives resulting in clean energy jobs and addressing climate change, tax reforms to fund education, gun safety measures, legislation that enables seniors to stay in their homes, protecting vulnerable residents in nursing homes and so much more.
How will you help ensure equitable access to healthcare for people in Black and Brown communities that are hardest hit by the coronavirus?
My district is made up of mostly Hispanic residents and my job is to protect and fight for my community. Expanding access to healthcare is important to ensuring a better quality of life for the people who live in the 43rd District. Since taking office, I have fought to expand Medicaid funding to cover mental health and addiction services, to cover undocumented seniors and protect funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings. I currently serve on a working group in the House Women’s Democratic Caucus devoted to finding policy solutions that improve outcomes for Black and brown moms, such as Medicaid funding for doulas, licensing Midwives in Illinois and addressing bias in healthcare. Finally, as Chairwoman of the House Healthcare Licensing Committee, I work to break down barriers and provide flexibility so medical professionals can deliver care to those who can least afford it.
Have you participated in any BLM protests? What influenced your decision?
Yes, I have participated in several BLM protests in Elgin. I believe now is the time to make significant and meaningful reforms to protect Black people from police brutality and end systemic racism in America. We cannot continue to maintain a system that perpetuates inequality. The BLM protests have been largely peaceful and positive gatherings that harness fundamental American rights and values- freedom of speech and freedom of assembly- to declare that we care about our Black neighbors, friends and family members and that we demand changes to ensure that everyone has equal treatment under the law.
How will you ensure that women and femmes sitting at intersections of oppression are prioritized for policy that will help their quality of life?
It is important to ensure women are protected in Illinois, especially women of color and LGBTQ women, who have been historically more vulnerable to violence and discrimination. That is why I was proud to introduce legislation to create the Illinois Council on Women and Girls. It was passed both chambers and signed by Governor Rauner in 2018. The Council was created to advise the Governor and General Assembly on policy issues affecting women and girls in Illinois with the specific mandate to, in part, “increase attention around the inclusion of women, especially those of color, in decision-making capacities,” and “improving protections for transgender individuals, especially against violence and harassment.” It is also charged with:
- Advocating for programs and policies that work to end the gender pay gap and discrimination in professional and academic opportunities;
- Promoting resources and opportunities for academic and professional growth;
- Improving legal protections and recourse regarding sexual harassment in the workplace;
- Reducing violence against women
- Improving standards of, and access to, health- care in general and reproductive healthcare in particular;
- Researching the disparate impacts of a lack of access to healthcare on women;
- Increasing fair and equal access to culturally competent healthcare, housing, employment, and other factors related to the quality of life; and
- Disseminating information to, and building of relationships with, state agencies and commissions in furtherance of the Council’s goals.
The Illinois Council on Women and Girls is Chaired by Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton and issued its first Annual Report in January 2020 with recommendations on how to address gender-based violence, academic and economic opportunity, leadership and inclusion and health and healthcare. The report can be found here.
What is the most important policy you could implement that would help women in your district?
50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, it is unacceptable that women continue to earn 20–50% less than their male co-workers for equal work. I was proud to introduce legislation three years in a row to strengthen the Equal Pay Act in Illinois and ban employers from asking for prior wage information during the hiring process, which perpetuates discriminatory wages. Governor Rauner vetoed the bill twice and Governor Pritzker signed it in 2019. Boston University recently confirmed that banning salary histories during the hiring process works. In an academic study published in June 2020, researchers confirmed that banning employers from asking for prior wage information during the hiring process raised wages for women and Black employees who change jobs between 8–16%.
2019 saw a new era of progress in Springfield. I was proud to support several new laws that will help our state move forward: a balanced state budget, a new multi-billion capital program to invest in our roads and schools, cannabis legalization to create jobs and provide social justice, a higher minimum wage to help working families, and giving voters the final say to create a new progressive Fair Tax system that will take the burden off of middle class taxpayers and help shore up our finances for the long term.
Illinois is now a leader in gender workplace equity with my bill strengthening the Equal Pay Act by prohibiting employers from asking for prior wage information during the hiring process.
I sponsored and passed legislation as part of the new state budget to require nursing homes to have adequate nurse staffing levels and to prevent residents from being unduly sedated or medicated with their consent or their families’ consent.
I was also proud to work with the Governor and colleagues to recognize the immeasurable contributions of gay and transgender people and fight intolerance and bigotry by requiring our schools to teach students about the important work of LGBTQ people, through House Bill 246, which I introduced and passed in 2019.
As we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the physical and economic trauma it has inflicted on our state, it is important to elect representatives who fight for and care about everyone in our community, not just the wealthy and connected. I am running for re-election to continue fighting for those who need a voice in Springfield.
If you would like to learn more about Anna Moeller and her platform or volunteer for her campaign, please check out her website at annamoeller.org. Don’t forget to follow her on Facebook @annamoellerforstaterep. Reach out today and help make a difference in the upcoming 2020 election.
(The information contained in this post is provided only as general information and does not imply an endorsement by She Votes Illinois.)