Debbie Halvorson

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Debbie Halvorson
Debbie Halvorson.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 11th district
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Jerry Weller
Succeeded by Adam Kinzinger
Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 40th district
In office
January 8, 1997 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Aldo DeAngelis
Succeeded by Toi Hutchinson
Personal details
Born (1958-03-01) March 1, 1958 (age 59)
Chicago Heights, Illinois
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jim Bush
Residence Crete, Illinois
Alma mater Robert Morris College,
Prairie State College,
Governors State University
Profession sales representative

Deborah L. "Debbie" Halvorson (born March 1, 1958) is the former U.S. Representative for Illinois's 11th congressional district, serving from 2009 until 2011. Previously, she served in the Illinois Senate from 1997 through 2009. She is a member of the Democratic Party. In September 2011, she filed to run in the newly redistricted 2nd congressional district but was defeated in the Democratic primary by the incumbent, Jesse Jackson, Jr.[1]

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Halvorson grew up in Steger, Illinois and graduated from Bloom High School. She and her husband Jim Bush live in Crete and have four children and four grandchildren.[2] She worked 13 years as a cosmetics saleswoman for Mary Kay before entering public service.[3] She has degrees from Robert Morris College, Prairie State College and Governors State University (Bachelor of Arts and Master's in Communication). She became a sales representative, Crete Township Clerk, and an educator at the Governors State University.[4]

Illinois Senate (1997–2009)[edit]


Halvorson first ran for the Illinois State Senate in November 1996, defeating incumbent Republican State Senator Aldo DeAngelis 56%–44% in Illinois' 40th Senate District.[5][6] In 1998, she won re-election to a second term defeating State Representative Flora Ciarlo 66%–34%.[7] In 2002, she won re-election to a third term unopposed.[8] In 2006, she won re-election to a fourth term with 70% of the vote.[9]


In 2005, Halvorson became the first female Majority Leader of the Illinois State Senate.

After being diagnosed as a high risk for cervical cancer due to HPV, Halvorson gained special notoriety and controversy for her bid to create a program broaden access to HPV testing and vaccination.[10] She did this to help others so that they wouldn't have to go through the pain and struggle of cervical cancer if it was possible to eradicate.

Halvorson had a public dispute with Jesse Jackson, Jr., over the proposed Peotone airport, which led Jackson to attempt to tie Halvorson to Tony Rezko. The airport has never been in Jackson's district.[11][12]

Following Halvorson's election to the House, there was an ongoing process, narrowed to three possible candidates, for Halvorson's successor in the Illinois Senate; she was eventually replaced by Toi Hutchinson. Just before Halvorson was set to officially resign from her seat, Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested. Halvorson said, "As frustrated and disappointed as I was, I was not surprised."[13] She also called for Blagojevich to resign.[14]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Senate Committee of the Whole[15]
  • Senate Committee on Agriculture & Conservation
  • Senate Committee on Transportation
    • Senate Subcommittee on Airports (Chairperson)
    • Senate Subcommittee on Tollways (Chairperson)
    • Subcommittee on Railroad Safety
  • Senate Taskforce on Alcoholic Beverages[16]

U.S. House of Representatives (2009–2011)[edit]



In September 2007, incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Jerry Weller announced that he would not seek another term, citing the need to spend more time with his family. Halvorson won the open seat defeating Republican Marty Ozinga with 58% of the vote.


Halvorson was defeated by Republican Adam Kinzinger 58%–42%.


In September 2011, Halvorson filed a candidacy with the FEC to run in the newly redistricted Illinois's 2nd congressional district, against incumbent Democrat Jesse Jackson, Jr.. “He (Jackson) lives in D.C. He doesn’t come home on weekends. His kids go to school in D.C."[17] She also said that “They should be fearing me becoming a congresswoman. I represent the people who live in the (current) 11th district. He’s just nervous that I’m going to become a congresswoman because then his control is over.”[18] The newly drawn district is just 54% African American.[19] Jackson defeated her 71%–29%.


On November 21, 2012 Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from office.[20] Halvorson announced her candidacy on November 26 [21] but lost the primary election on February 26, 2013.[22]


On October 2, 2007, Halvorson announced her decision to run for Illinois's 11th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, after current incumbent Jerry Weller announced in September that he would not be running for re-election. EMILY's List endorsed Halvorson in November. In February 2008, Republican nominee, New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann, withdrew from the race, citing other obligations.[23] He was replaced by Marty Ozinga, whom Halvorson easily defeated in the general election.

Halvorson was appointed to the powerful Steering and Policy Committee as well as a member of Veterans, Small Business and Agriculture. One of her true loves is Economic Development and Transportation. During her time in office she said that one of her main focuses were constituent services.[24] She has agreed with the 2009 Economic Stimulus Act, Cap and Trade of Emissions, and the Federal Health Care Bill.

Committee assignments[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

Illinois's 11th congressional district: Results[25]
2008 Debbie Halvorson 185,652 58.4% Marty Ozinga 109,608 34.5% Jason Wallace 22,635 7.1%
2010 Debbie Halvorson 94,939 42.5% Adam Kinzinger 128,250 57.5%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jesse Jackson Jr. May Face 2012 Race Against Debbie Halvorson : Roll Call Politics". 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  2. ^ Illinois General Assembly – Senator Biography
  3. ^ Conrad, Dennis (2008-12-05). "Halvorson: From cosmetics sales to Congress". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  4. ^ [1] Archived February 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "IL State Senate 40 Race – Nov 05, 1996". Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  6. ^ Vadala, Greg (2008-11-08). "111th House Freshmen: Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill. (11)". Yahoo News. Retrieved 2008-11-16. [dead link]
  7. ^ "IL State Senate 40 Race – Nov 03, 1998". Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  8. ^ "IL State Senate 40 Race – Nov 05, 2002". Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  9. ^ "IL State Senate 40 Race – Nov 07, 2006". Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  10. ^ "HealthiNation joins forces with Illinois State Senator Debbie Halvorson to Raise HPV and Cervical Cancer Awareness" (Press release). HealthiNation. 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  11. ^ Slife, Erika (2008-06-21). "Halvorson, Jackson clash on airport". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  12. ^ "Halvorson's Legislation is 'Airport Killer'" (Press release). Jackson, Jesse, Jr. 2006-03-01. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  13. ^ Zimmer, Nathaniel (2008-12-21). "Halvorson finds herself being a freshman again". SouthtownStar. Retrieved 2009-01-04. [dead link]
  14. ^ Reeder, Scott; Andrea Zelinski (2008-12-10). "Lawmakers calling for removal". My Web Times. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  15. ^ "Illinois General Assembly – Senator Biography". 1958-03-01. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  16. ^ "Illinois General Assembly – Senator Biography". 1958-03-01. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  17. ^ "South & South West Chicago Suburbs – Daily Southtown". Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  18. ^ "Halvorson would face uphill climb in race against Jackson, but it sure would be something to see". Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  19. ^ "Congressional District Populations" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  20. ^ [2][dead link]
  21. ^ Jennings, Natalie (2012-11-26). "Halvorson enters race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.". Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  22. ^ "ABC7 WLS Chicago and Chicago News". Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  23. ^ Darnick, Hal (2008-02-23). "Republican drops out of hotly contested 11th District race". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  24. ^ Ferrell, Patrick (2008-12-25). "Halvorson wins fight for Weller seat". Southtown Star. Retrieved 2009-01-04. [dead link]
  25. ^ "2008 General Election" (Excel). Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved 3 April 2009. 

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jerry Weller
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 11th congressional district

Succeeded by
Adam Kinzinger