She Runs Illinois 2022! — Anne Stava-Murray, candidate for IL House of Representatives, District 81

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She Votes Illinois is pleased to feature Anne Stava-Murray, incumbent, running for IL House of Representatives, District 81. Follow our series, She Runs Illinois 2022!, leading up to election day as we showcase and uplift the voices of Illinois women running for public office in the upcoming election, November 8, 2022.

Headshot of Anne Stava-Murray, incumbent, IL House of Representatives, District 81
Anne Stava-Murray, incumbent, IL House of Representatives, District 81

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in Naperville and attended Scott School, The Avery Coonley School, and Benet Academy, and then went on to Dartmouth College. After college, I went on to be a professional researcher. Later on, my husband and I bought the house I grew up in to raise my three children, two of which attend Naperville public schools; the other one is in preschool. I formerly served as a Commissioner on the Naperville Board of Fire & Police, which oversees hiring and promotions for the Fire & Police departments, and am a co-founder of the Naperville WMA (Women’s March Action), which organized several events focused on increasing kindness & respect in our community and accountability & transparency for politicians. I am passionate about working to improve the lives of every individual in our district and in the state.

What are the priorities that you intend to focus on in office?

Some of my top priorities include protecting choice and expanding resources to reproductive health care; continuing to strengthen the state’s gun safety laws and supporting violence prevention programs. Education and ensuring that our schools, teachers, and students are fully equipped with the resources necessary for quality education are top priorities of mine. I am also committed to reducing costs for families during this inflationary time and ensuring that we bring our state to a better path forward financially.

What do you wish you had known before you decided to run for office?

Running for office was scary at times, but what I didn’t realize when I first ran for office was the way that my community — whether friends, family, or strangers — would come out and support me because of our shared vision to improve our community. When I am knocking doors each day, I am proud to talk to voters from all different backgrounds and different political views and am able to gain support from them.

Reproductive justice is frequently labeled a “women’s issue”, however, that only imperfectly captures part of the story. How can we ensure that even those who cannot become pregnant are invested in the healthcare of those who can become pregnant?

As reproductive rights are under attack across the nation, it is critical that we include LGBTQ+ individuals in this fight, because these individuals need access to reproductive healthcare and services but are often left out because of their identities and relationships, hindering their ability to access the healthcare they need. All people, including LGBTQ+ people, need access to reproductive health care, including contraception, abortion, assisted reproductive services, HIV care, pregnancy care, parenting resources, and more. To me, the answer is simple: everyone has a fundamental right to sexual and bodily autonomy and has the right to decide whether or when to become a parent free from discrimination. Reproductive freedom is a human rights issue, not just a women’s issue, and I believe all individuals should work to protect this right.

What can the ILGA do in Illinois that will help trans children, especially as we see trans children and their families placed on the front lines in other states?

As trans children are in danger across the nation, Illinois must provide refuge for trans kids and their families from penalties/barriers when seeking gender-affirming care. I am proud to use my leadership position that I am in to advocate for the trans community, and I think we all need to continue to use our voices to make trans’ lives easier. I am proud to support inclusive events in my community and hope to see these continue without barriers or harassment. I am eager to work with LGBTQ+ advocacy groups who are already hard at work on crafting legislation that will protect trans children in the upcoming General Assembly.

Toxic masculinity, the cultural idea that manhood is defined by violence and aggression to maintain power or strength, combined with gun availability can result in gender-based gun violence and mass shootings. What can the ILGA do to address this deadly combination?

Prevention of the deadly combo of toxic masculinity and gun violence needs to start early. I would like to see schools teach social and emotional learning, as well as more trauma screening. We need to ensure that our red flag laws are being implemented correctly to prevent crises, and also social media platforms must be pressured to better regulate hateful rhetoric and content.

IL State Rep Anne Stava-Murray (center wearing a black dress and purple jacket) meet with a woman and children outside.

Closing comments

There is so much at stake in this election. This is the first election since the January 6 insurrection and the first election since Roe got overturned. As mass shootings and increased violence continue to plague our communities, this is an election where voters have a choice up and down the ballot to elect gun safety advocates. Races like my own are giving voters the choice between a candidate who will protect things like reproductive freedom, support common-sense gun safety reform, protect voting rights, support criminal justice reform, and support the environment.

If you would like to learn more about Anne Stava-Murray and her platform or volunteer for her campaign, please check out her website at teamstavamurray.com. Don’t forget to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Reach out today and help make a difference in the upcoming 2022 election.

(The information contained in this post is provided only as general information and does not imply an endorsement by She Votes Illinois.)

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She Votes Illinois

She Votes Illinois focuses on making sure the political system in Illinois reflects the voices of all women and femmes in Illinois.