Jan Schakowsky

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Jan Schakowsky
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 9th district
Assumed office
January 3, 1999
Preceded by Sidney Yates
Personal details
Born Janice Danoff
(1944-05-26) May 26, 1944 (age 74)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Harvey Schakowsky
Robert Creamer (1980–present)
Children 2 (with Schakowsky)
Alma mater University of Illinois, Urbana-
Religion Reform Judaism

Janice "Jan" Schakowsky (born May 26, 1944) is the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 9th congressional district, serving since 1999. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

The district includes many of Chicago's northern suburbs, including Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Niles, Park Ridge, Rosemont, Skokie, Wilmette, and Winnetka. It also includes a large portion of Chicago's North Side bordering Lake Michigan.

Early life, education and career

Schakowsky was born Janice Danoff in 1944, in the city of Chicago, the daughter of Tillie (née Cosnow) and Irwin Danoff.[1] Her parents were Jewish immigrants, her father from Lithuania and her mother from Russia.[1][2] She graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in elementary education where she was a member of Delta Phi Epsilon (social) sorority.[3] She was Program Director of Illinois Public Action, Illinois' largest public interest group, from 1976 to 1985. She then moved to the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens as executive director for five years until 1990, when she was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. She has served there for nine terms.

U.S. House of Representatives

Schakowsky is among the most Progressive members of the current US Congress.[4] She is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She frequently gains ratings of between 90 and 100 from liberal and progressive interest groups and lower ratings from conservative groups.

In April 2009 Schakowsky pointedly criticized the tax day Tea Party protests, asserting that they were "an effort to mislead the public about the Obama economic plan that cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans and creates 3.5 million jobs." Schakowsky added, "It's despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt."[5]

In Feb 2013, Schakowsky indicated her support for banning assault weapons as only a beginning step towards more gun control measures including a ban on handguns.[6]

As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, Schakowsky has been known for her support of women's issues while in Congress.[7]

The Nation endorsed her for vice president in the United States presidential election, 2004, stating that she is 'the truest heir to Paul Wellstone in the current Congress'.[8] She was, however, not selected as John Kerry's running mate.

In response to concerns about electoral irregularities in the state of Ohio during the 2004 presidential election, Schakowsky was one of 31 members of the United States House of Representatives who voted not to accept Ohio's electoral votes.[9]

Schakowsky and Jeffrey Schoenberg in Springfield, Illinois on the day of the Barack Obama's presidential candidacy announcement, 10 February 2007

Schakowsky has been outspoken in her opposition to the Iraq War. She was one of the earliest and most emphatic supporters of U.S. Senator Barack Obama prior to his victory in the 2004 Illinois Democratic primary election, and actively supported his bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.[10]

In hearings held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcomittee in July 2006, Schakowsky expressed concern that a report from the National Academy of Sciences showing discrepancies among scientists studying global warming might be "used in a way to discredit the whole notion that our country and the rest of the industrialized and developing world ought to do anything about global warming".[11]

Schakowsky indicated interest in replacing Barack Obama in the United States Senate.[12] Before his arrest, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had reportedly been considering Schakowsky among at least six candidates to fill the vacancy. Schakowsky was one of the first figures in Illinois to voice interest in running in a special election to replace Obama.[13]

In April 2009, she stated her support for a public option in health insurance, arguing that it would put health insurance companies out of business and lead to single-payer health care, which she supports.[14]

In March 2010 Schakowsky was appointed by Speaker Pelosi to President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, commonly known as the deficit commission.[15]

In June 2011, Jan Schakowsky condemned the Progressive Democrats of America for their role in the upcoming Gaza Flotilla 2.[16][unreliable source]

In March 2015, Schakowsky was criticized by the Orthodox Union after saying that Jewish politician Joel Pollak was a "Jewish, Orthodox, Tea Party Republican" at a J Street event. She later apologized for her comments.[17][18]

Boycott of Netanyahu's speech to Congress

In March 2015, she did not attend the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to congress. She said she opposed the speech because it could scuttle delicate negotiations with Iran, writing: "The prime minister wants the negotiations to end, and his purpose in speaking to the Congress is to convince us that the president is about to agree to a deal that threatens Israel's existence. He believes the president is naïve in thinking that he and the P5+1 can achieve any agreement that will stop Iran from rushing toward a bomb... What is the alternative to an agreement? Yes, the United States will increase sanctions. But does anyone doubt that Iran will build a nuclear weapon regardless of sanctions? Then the choices will be ugly: accepting a nuclear-weaponized Iran or accepting military action (i.e., war with Iran). For me it's obvious that we must give the negotiations a chance. And, in the meantime, Iran has essentially halted its weapons program under the Joint Plan of Action while the talks are ongoing.[19][third-party source needed]

Committee assignments

Party leadership and caucus memberships

  • Chief Deputy Whip
  • Steering and Policy Committee
  • Founding member of the Out-of-Iraq Caucus
  • Democratic Vice Chair of the bipartisan Women's Caucus
  • Vice Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus

Political campaigns


Sidney Yates, who had represented the 9th District since 1949 (except for an unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1962), had announced in 1996 that he wouldn't run for re-election in 1998. Schakowsky easily won the Democratic primary, which all but assured her of election in the heavily Democratic 9th. She won in November with 75 percent of the vote and has easily won reelection four times with 70 percent or more of the vote. She is only the third person to represent the district since 1949.






Electoral history

Illinois's 9th congressional district: Results 1998–2014[20]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1998 Janice D. Schakowsky 107,878 75% Herbert Sohn 33,448 23% Michael D. Ray Libertarian 3,284 2%
2000 Janice D. Schakowsky 147,002 76% Dennis J. Driscoll 45,344 24%
2002 Janice D. Schakowsky 118,642 70% Nicholas M. Duric 45,307 27% Stephanie "Vs. The Machine" Sailor Libertarian 4,887 3%
2004 Janice D. Schakowsky 175,282 76% Kurt J. Eckhardt 56,135 24%
2006 Janice D. Schakowsky 122,852 75% Michael P. Shannon 41,858 25% *
2008 Janice D. Schakowsky 178,829 75% Michael B. Younan 52,841 22% Morris Shanfield Green 7,969 3%
2010 Janice D. Schakowsky 114,969 66% Joel Barry Pollak 54,274 31% Simon Ribeiro Green 4,374 3%
2012 Janice D. Schakowsky 194,869 66% Timothy Wolfe 98,924 34%
2014 Janice D. Schakowsky 141,000 66.1% Susanne Atanus 72,384 33.9% Phillip Collins Independent 66 0.03%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2006, write-ins received 3 votes.

Personal life

Jan Schakowsky lives in Evanston, Illinois with her husband Robert Creamer. She has three children.[21]

Husband's bank fraud and tax evasion convictions

On March 11, 2004, Creamer, the executive director of the Illinois Public Action Fund, was indicted in federal court on 16 counts of bank fraud involving three alleged check-kiting schemes in the mid-1990s, leading several banks to experience shortfalls of at least $2.3 million.[22] In August 2005, Creamer pleaded guilty to one count of failure to collect withholding tax, and bank fraud for writing checks with insufficient funds. All of the money was repaid. Schakowsky was not accused of any wrongdoing.[23] Schakowsky served on the organization's board during the time the crimes occurred,[24] and Schakowsky signed the IRS filings along with her husband.[25] The U.S. district judge noted no one suffered "out of pocket losses," and Creamer acted not out of greed but in an effort to keep his community action group going without cutting programs, though Creamer paid his own $100,000 salary with fraudulently obtained funds.[26] On April 5, 2006, Creamer was sentenced to five months in prison and 11 months of house arrest.[27] Creamer served his five-month incarceration at the Federal Correction Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana and was released on November 3, 2006.[28]


In 2015, she was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame as a Friend of the Community.[29]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Stone, K.F. (2010). The Jews of Capitol Hill: A Compendium of Jewish Congressional Members. Scarecrow Press. p. 549. ISBN 9780810877382. Retrieved September 13, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Glenn Beck Slammed By Polish Group For Butchering Schakowsky's Name". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved September 13, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Delta Phi Epsilon International Sorority". DPhiE.org. Retrieved August 23, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "GovTrack: The Political Spectrum". Govtrack.us. October 17, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Schakowsky: Tea parties 'despicable'", by Eric Zimmerman, The Hill, April 16, 2009.
  6. Mattera, Jason. "Democrat Congresswoman: Assault Weapons Ban 'Just the Beginning'". Independent Journal Review. Retrieved November 16, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Rettig, Jessica (July 9, 2010). "Jan Schakowsky Leads the Fight for Women". US News and World Report.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "The Beat". The Nation. Abu Dhabi. Retrieved July 16, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "evs/2005/roll007". clerk.house.gov. Retrieved September 13, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Obama's Day in Iowa", by Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, January 4, 2008.
  11. "Science In the House of Pain". TCS Daily. Retrieved July 16, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Schakowsky among those wanting Senate seat". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. November 5, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Schakowsky throws her hat in, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), December 12, 2008.
  14. The health-care shuffle, Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 16, 2009
  15. Pelosi Appoints Three Fiscal Commission Participants, The Daily Caller, March 24, 2010
  16. "Jan Schakowsky Condemns Her Closest Allies For Their Role In Hamas Flotilla". Breitbart.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Congresswoman Apologizes Referring to Political Rival as 'Orthodox Jew'". The Jewish Daily Forward. March 24, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Yashar, Ari (March 24, 2015). "Democrat Apologizes for 'Orthodox Jew' Slur at J Street Event". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved March 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. An Israel Supporter Who Won't Be at the Prime Minister's Speech, Jan Schakowsky, Huffington Post, 02/26/2015
  20. "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved October 2, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Jan Schakowsky: Full biography". Retrieved December 16, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Robinson, Mike (March 11, 2004). "Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky's husband indicted". Associated Press. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Congresswoman's husband pleads guilty to two felonies". USA Today. Associated Press. August 31, 2005. Retrieved September 26, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Flannery, Mike (April 5, 2006). "Congresswoman's Husband Gets Jail Time For Bank Fraud". WBBM TV CBS 2 Chicago. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Newbart, Dave (March 12, 2004). "Schakowsky's husband indicted in bank fraud". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 26, 2009. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. [1][dead link]
  27. Korecki, Natasha (April 6, 2006). "Schakowsky's husband given 5 months for check-kiting: Prosecutors sought 3 years for bank fraud that aided nonprofit". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 26, 2009. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Inmate Locator". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved September 26, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sidney Yates
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 9th congressional district

Preceded by
Lois Capps
Chairperson of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues
Succeeded by
Cynthia Lummis
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Paul Ryan
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Mike Simpson