Illinois action blog

Monday, October 8, 2012

Campaign Spotlight: Melinda Bush

Melinda Bush
Illinois State Senate, 31st Senate District of Illinois
Issues: Fiscal Responsibility, Jobs; the Economy, Ethics Reform, Education, Enviroment

Melinda Bush is 100% pro-choice and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. Melinda Bush knows that women don't turn to politicians for advice about birth control, mammograms, or cancer screenings. She believes that the government should not be involved in a woman's personal medical decisions.

Melinda is a lifelong resident of Lake County. She and her husband, Andy, live in Grayslake where Melinda has been a resident since she was eight years old. She has one adult son, Chris Willen, who spends his time between Grayslake and Hayward, Wisconsin. Chris is pursuing his passion as a fly fishing guide. Melinda currently serves as a Member of the Lake County Board and a Commissioner of the Lake County Forest Preserve.

Before moving to Grayslake, Melinda’s family lived in Halfday, Illinois in a small trailer park surrounded by what is now Lincolnshire. Melinda quickly learned that what you have is not who you are. Her parents built a small home in Grayslake in 1964. As the oldest of six brothers and sisters, Melinda did her part in raising her younger siblings. She understood that success, even survival, takes hard work, perseverance, and community.

In 1988, with Chris in her arms, Melinda read that the Village of Grayslake – then with a population of just over 5,000 – had plans to build more than 4,000 new homes on what was then known as The White Picket Fence Farm. Melinda knew the impact this would have on the local infrastructure, specifically the schools. Melinda took action. She worked with the Forest Preserve and organized the community. Today, what could have been a devastating development to Grayslake’s infrastructure and environment is now home to the Rollins Savanna, the 2nd largest forest preserve and a top birding site in Illinois.

When elected Trustee of Grayslake, Melinda opposed the citing of the Countryside Landfill, believing it was an ‘insider’ deal, struck behind closed doors out of the public eye. Alarmed by the potential environmental and health hazards of allowing a landfill so close to area residents, Melinda voted no – she was outvoted. Today, the Countryside Landfill is now emitting double the toxins allowed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and has become a health risk to local residents.

As a proponent of redeveloping our existing commercial areas, Melinda worked to bring the focus to the downtowns. When businesses were leaving downtown areas and moving to strip malls, Melinda opened a small store in downtown Grayslake. She brought a farmers market to the community and formed the Downtown Merchant’s Association. Melinda understands that downtowns are central to what makes us a community and are key to stemming business growth. Today, downtown Grayslake is home to festivals, parades, and a source of pride for its residents.

The definition of a public servant shouldn’t ever include the words ‘part-time’. In 2007, Melinda challenged a 16-year incumbent on the Lake County Board. Her chance of winning was slim but she had faced these odds before. Her message of fighting for working families was simple. The fact that Lake County’s tax system is unfair, regressive, and the 2nd highest in the State of Illinois resonated with voters. On Election Night, Melinda won a stunning victory and brought the fight to ‘Put People First’ to Lake County Government.

Melinda’s reputation of being ‘real,' outspoken, and a results driven individual is something all too rare in State Government. Melinda is someone who is compelled to action. She sees her run for the State Senate as a matter of necessity, not ego. Melinda has a proven past of taking action. She is a passionate fighter for the community; she listens and is one of us.

See the full list of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action endorsed candidates.

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This post was created by Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA). PPIA is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL).

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