Editor's Note: This blog is not affiliated with or generated by Patch.
Currently serving her third term representing the 62nd District, Sandy Cole has championed her “Family Focus” legislative agenda, a comprehensive list of priorities aimed at improving the quality of life for families and communities throughout Illinois. Rep. Cole has been a leader in the Illinois House on women’s health, education, transportation, open space, fiscal responsibility, children’s safety and senior issues; to name just a few.
This week we sat down with Rep. Cole to share a “Behind the Scenes” view of a real-life working mom and community leader at work in the Capitol and at home in her district.
Q: You grew up in upstate New York, moved to Illinois as a young adult, graduated from Rockford College and settled in Lake County to start a family. What motivated or inspired you to enter public service?
Actually, it was a relatively small issue – on the local level. My neighbors were having serious property damage due to flooding, and because I was volunteering on a homeowner’s association landscape committee, I was knowledgeable about how to obtain government & developer documents through the local governmental offices. I called it the “political maze.” One thing led to another and the challenge of “it’s a done-deal and there’s nothing you can do” motivated me to run for office for the first time.
Q: As a suburban wife and mom, you know a thing or two about balancing a family budget. You also brought to Springfield 10 years of experience as a leading budget hawk on the Lake County Board. What, in your view, must the State do to get back to basics?
Basic conservative financial strategies. Reduce costs, reduce overhead, and reduce non-essentials. It’s simple, really — ask the question “what are we doing with the money the taxpayers are already giving us?” instead of the question “how can we tax you more without you realizing it?”
Q: You have been actively involved in the community for years, serving as a volunteer for numerous civic and charitable organizations. How have your experiences as a volunteer helped to shape your approach to solving public policy issues at the state level?
Being a volunteer teaches patience, humility, pride, gratitude…all attributes an elected official MUST remember to try to achieve in every decision they make. I really, really believe that as a State Representative I must represent the people in my district…and that’s where being involved in the communities I serve is so important. It raises my awareness of community issues and problems – raises awareness of the challenges every family faces during these extremely hard economic times.
Q: Your district is very diverse, truly a microcosm of Illinois as a whole. Every legislator would likely say their district is a great place to live, work, and raise a family – but yours is truly unique. In your own words, can you tell us what central Lake County means to you?
Central Lake County residents are economically diverse – from the research scientist at a global pharmaceutical company to the blue-collar landscaper – to every career in between. Each group of residents brings a rich and unique culture that blends with the others in our community events, schools, places of worship and businesses. I learn something new every day about a family’s history, about a favorite ethnic food or music, about literacy, volunteerism, compassion, tradition. You know — about the universally understood word “family”.
Favorite Book: Goodness, I read everything from historic novels to Stephen King to the Hunger Games to 1984 to Catch-22. I try to alternate with a newly written book to one ‘old’ classic I haven’t read yet. And I loved reading the ‘current’ teen books when my kids were in school.
Favorite Movie: Wizard of Oz
Favorite Ice Cream: Double Chocolate Brownie – or Culver’s Turtle Sundae.
Thank you, Rep. Cole for taking the time to share your background and priorities with us.
On a personal note, I would like to say how much I admire and respect Sandy Cole. Her very first week as a new member of the Illinois House in January 2007 was also my first week on staff. We were “newbies” together, and I was privileged to witness firsthand how this remarkable woman who made it to Springfield by challenging the status quo brought her common-sense values and determined work ethic to a legislature too often characterized by gridlock. We as a state are very fortunate to have a woman and leader with the integrity, compassion, and nonpartisan approach to problem solving as Sandy Cole.
To learn more about Rep. Sandy Cole and her work on behalf of Illinois families and service in the House of Representatives, please visit her website