She Runs Illinois 2022! — Sharon Chung, candidate for IL House of Representatives, District 91
She Votes Illinois is pleased to feature Sharon Chung, candidate, running for IL House of Representatives, District 91. 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.
Tell us about yourself
I have been a resident of Bloomington for over a decade. In my time here, I have played many local concerts, shows, and events as a professional musician and a union member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 301. I have also passed my knowledge on to the next generation by providing private violin and viola lessons. I have been married to my husband, Jeremy, for 13 years, and we have two daughters, Sophie (10), and Mia (7).
Since 2018, I have served on the McLean County Board where I have fought for increased government transparency and a more sensible criminal justice system locally. I am also a member of the Asian American Caucus.
What are the priorities that you intend to focus on in office?
More paramount than ever is protecting women’s rights and healthcare. We must protect a woman’s right to choose and ensure that Illinois is a safe haven for women. In addition to increasing access to healthcare, we must also ensure that all healthcare is affordable. The rising cost of prescription medication is a problem that needs to be addressed. I also believe we must revitalize our economy. The State of Illinois has made huge strides over the past few years in balancing our budget, increasing our credit rating, and increasing our minimum wage. But there is still more work to be done and I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of Illinois’ revitalization.
What led you into politics and to run for office?
As a mother of two young daughters and a teacher of violin and viola students, I have a commitment to advocating for their futures. In 2018, I decided to step up and serve my community by becoming the first Asian elected in the history of McLean County. Since then, I have been striving to make our communities more equitable while increasing our government transparency. I have loved hearing from County Board constituents and working with community leaders to build a better future for our children.
How can ILGA help protect Black Trans women from the hate that puts their safety at risk?
Protecting the rights and safety of minoritized individuals is very important to me. We have seen an increase in hate crimes and attacks and year after year Black Trans women’s safety is challenged. I believe we need leaders that understand what we are dealing with. I have seen first-hand the anguish in my own community with the rise of violence against the Asian community. The Illinois Legislature acted by introducing harsher penalties for those that commit said crimes and an educational practice to help increase knowledge and empathy. I think education is a major factor in helping to prevent hate crimes.
The crisis of domestic violence is closely linked to the widespread and growing use of guns by abusers. What solutions do you advocate to reduce gender-based gun violence in Illinois?
The best way to prevent any gun violence, especially against those that suffer from domestic violence, is to implement common sense gun laws. We can’t allow weapons to fall so easily into the hands of violent and dangerous people by passing comprehensive legislation that enforces background checks.
In a post-Roe world, what can be done to stop the harmful practices of crisis pregnancy centers (AKA “pregnancy resource centers”) in Illinois so that their tactics are not able to result in forced births for those seeking an abortion?
Illinois has very strong laws regarding women’s healthcare, but we can always strive to be better. I think we need to now focus on ensuring that those that seek out and help provide women’s healthcare are not prosecuted nor retaliated against in any way. On a personal note, the McLean County Board, with the advocacy of my colleagues and me, we were able to move our CASA (court-appointed special advocates)/CAC (children’s advocacy center) offices out of a crisis pregnancy center’s facilities, which had been housed there for a number of years. We were able to bring to light the problems with CPCs and ask the county administration to move our offices and stop paying rent to that organization.
As a mom and a teacher, I know firsthand that we must prepare for our future. Illinois has been moving in the right direction over the past few years, but there is more we can do. I believe we need to focus on paying down our debts and investing in high-paying, sustainable jobs — investing in our infrastructure. We can further protect a woman’s right to choose and ensure the safety of women in Illinois. Together, we can move Illinois forward.
If you would like to learn more about Sharon Chung and her platform or volunteer for her campaign, please check out her website at chungforillinois.com. Don’t forget to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 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.)