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Candidate Profile from Congressional Quarterly

Judy Biggert (R) of Hinsdale
Open Seat
  • Born: August 15, 1937, Chicago.
  • Education: Stanford U., B.A., 1959; Northwestern U., J.D., 1963.
  • Military Service: None.
  • Occupation: Lawyer.
  • Family: Husband, Rody; four children.
  • Religion: Episcopalian.
  • Political Career: Ill. House, 1993-present.

Biggert hopes to take Congress by storm, much as she did the state House, where she rocketed into the GOP leadership after one term.

Central to her accomplishments in Springfield was an ability to negotiate and create consensus among her peers a talent that might well be appreciated in these partisan times. For guidance, she says she will look to Jennifer Dunn, Wash., who landed a coveted Ways and Means seat and joined the GOP leadership team as a sophomore by winning election as Conference secretary.

An early incarnation of the suburban "soccer mom" she coached a school team on the outskirts of Chicago Biggert launched her political career as president of her school board from 1983-85. Now she will be Illinois' first GOP congresswoman since Lynn Martin (1981-91). But in law school, a professor once complained she was taking the space of a man. "Women had to work harder than men," she said. "They still do."

Biggert says she may seek a seat on the Judiciary Committee is she is unable to leverage her legislative experience into a seat on a top-tier panel Ways and Means, Appropriations or Budget. But GOP Judiciary seats on Judiciary have been hard to come by for supporters of abortion rights, which Biggert is. But her opposition to gun control, often a GOP litmus test for membership on that panel, is solid.

In the House, she says she would vote to revive fast-track trade authority and support the medical insurance regulation proposals of Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. She also would like to continue the work on changing the laws on civil lawsuits that she began in the state House, where she sponsored the Illinois law limiting pain and suffering awards.


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