She Runs Illinois 2020! — Maggie Trevor, candidate for IL House of Representatives, District 54
She Votes Illinois is pleased to feature Maggie Trevor, running for IL House of Representatives, District 54. 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 deep roots in this community. I was born and raised in Rolling Meadows, where my parents were among the city’s original residents. I was educated in the area’s public schools — Central Road Elementary and Carl Sandburg Junior High in District 15, and Rolling Meadows High School in District 214.
The education I received at our local public schools prepared me well for my future. I attended the University of Chicago, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science.
I spent the next 30 years pursuing a career as an academic and a business researcher that took me all over the country and gave me deep experience in education and the workings of the health care marketplace. After a research fellowship at the Government Data Center at Harvard University, I taught political science at the University of Iowa. I left academia in 1999 and moved to California to work as a market researcher, primarily in the health care field. I worked with Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals in Oakland, California, and with Blue Shield of California conducting research that was used to better understand employers, members and brokers as customers and patients. In 2011, I joined YouGov America, an internet public opinion firm in Silicon Valley, as an operations executive and as vice president of YouGov Healthcare. In late 2014 I made the decision to move back to Rolling Meadows to start my own research firm.
I hope to draw upon my experience to be an effective representative for the 54th district. By the very nature of the work I do, I’ve learned to craft compromise with others through honest communication and persuasion. As a market researcher, I often find myself having to deliver bad news to people in positions of power, and then convince them that it is wise to change course. These skills, which I acquired through long experience in the business world, are essential to the work of responsible lawmakers who know their job is to put the needs of their constituents ahead of divisive, partisan politics.
Tell us about the women in your life
My mother, Rena Trevor, was an activist in the northwest suburbs for decades. She was involved in the civil rights movement, participating in the march from Selma to Montgomery, was active in the League of Women Voters, managing political campaigns, volunteering as Rolling Meadows’ welfare officer, and working for women’s rights first as a volunteer and for many years as the director of women’s programs at Harper College. I watched so many of the struggles she participated in, fighting to create opportunities for success for all in the Northwest suburbs, and making her community a more diverse, more vibrant place to live and work. I also know how long and difficult those efforts were, how many years and how many people were dedicated to bringing about change. I got involved in local politics because I’m not willing to let the hard work and sacrifice that brought about those changes be undone by those who are willing to undermine hard-won rights to drive wedges into the community.
In the 2018 election cycle, there was an explosion of women running for office locally and nationally. We can’t forget that we owe the ability to mount viable, competitive campaigns to women like my mother who pushed for change at a time when it seemed so implausible. One of the great experiences I’ve enjoyed in my campaigns for state representative is being mentored and supported by a number of women who were close friends and activists with my late mother. I know I am standing on the shoulders of the many women who’ve been doing this important work for decades, and that I owe so much to my mother’s friends who I now treasure as my own.
What led you into politics? Why are you running for THIS office?
Because I know how much work was done by so many to make the Northwest suburbs a more diverse, vibrant place to live, I was appalled when I moved back in 2015 and saw that my representative was actively working to roll back women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights in order to mobilize his base and divide the community. He’s too extreme for this district and I think he’s too extreme even for the Republicans in this district.
In 2016 it came to my notice that he was running without any competition in the general election. I felt it was a winnable race if people just knew how extreme he was. Despite trying to encourage local Democrats to run a candidate — I couldn’t because of length of residency requirements, nobody challenged him. I couldn’t abide by letting him go unchallenged again in 2018, and got on the ballot myself. I lost that election by 43 votes. I’m trying again this year, and this time I’m confident I can defeat him.
If you were currently in office, how would you use your office to address the economic harm from COVID19 in your community?
So many residents of my community and residents across the state are facing the specter of evictions as unemployment assistance runs out. We need to make sure that we continue a moratorium on evictions, and do what we can at the state level to provide timely relief for the unemployed so that they can continue to afford housing and necessities. Support for the unemployed translates directly into consumer spending, which helps support hard-hit businesses and in turn helps to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on the broader economy.
Recognizing that systemic racism is built into policies and laws, what changes to policies and laws are you prioritizing for change/implementation in order to address systemic racism and why?
As a state representative, I would act in support of those speaking out and work to create a safer and more equitable community in the 54th district and in Illinois. I will work to support legislation that encourages a deeper dialogue between the community and the police. I will work for greater accountability, including calling to limit qualified immunity and for independent prosecutors to investigate officer-involved deaths and bring charges when warranted. I will support legislative efforts to license or certify law enforcement officers and maintain databases of those who have been dismissed for cause. I will work to fund community based social and health care services, including mental health services that will provide more appropriate responses to the needs of people in communities.
What is the most important policy you could implement that would help women in your district?
We have to make sure that we have adequate protections for women’s rights and we need to make sure that we have enforceable measures to prevent discrimination of all kinds. Unfortunately I see some of that unraveling on the federal level.
I am a firm supporter of the Equal Rights Amendments and HB-40 (which expanded abortion rights). My opponent voted against the Equal Rights Amendment and has actually supported a bill that would not only repeal HB-40, but would make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape and incest.
What do you wish you had known before you decided to run for office?
I had no idea how much time would be involved for a run for state representative. It is all consuming, and I was somewhat unprepared for that in 2018. I think I’m more aware of this in 2020, although campaigning in the midst of a pandemic has brought its own challenges.
I am running for state representative because I know we can do better for the 54th district, by working together in the state legislature for the interests of all Illinois residents. We need to make sure Illinois families have access to affordable health care and quality public education. We need to pursue fiscal responsibility and fair taxation, while continuing to meet our obligations and provide critical state services. We need to focus on ensuring equal rights for all our residents.
If you would like to learn more about Maggie Trevor and her platform or volunteer for her campaign, please check out her website at maggietrevor4il54.net. Don’t forget to follow her on Facebook @maggietrevorforil54. 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.)