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Lauren Underwood

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lauren Underwood
Co-Chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2023
LeaderHakeem Jeffries
Preceded byDebbie Dingell
Matt Cartwright
Ted Lieu
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 14th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byRandy Hultgren
Personal details
Lauren Ashley Underwood

(1986-10-04) October 4, 1986 (age 37)
Mayfield Heights, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Michigan (BSN)
Johns Hopkins University (MSN, MPH)
WebsiteHouse website

Lauren Ashley Underwood (born October 4, 1986)[1] is an American politician and registered nurse who is a U.S. representative from Illinois's 14th congressional district as a member of the Democratic Party. Her district, once represented by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, includes the outer western suburbs of Chicago, including Crystal Lake, Geneva, Oswego, Woodstock, and Yorkville.

Underwood grew up in Naperville, Illinois. She graduated with a degree in nursing from the University of Michigan and two master's degrees from Johns Hopkins University. She began her career as a policy professional in the Obama administration in 2014, later working as a senior advisor at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

In 2018, Underwood was elected to the United States House of Representatives, defeating Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren. Upon her swearing in, she became the youngest Black woman to serve in Congress.[2] In 2022, she was elected a co-chairs of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, making her the first black woman to have an elected Democratic leadership position since Shirley Chisholm in the 1970s.[3]

A major focus for her in Congress has been on health care disparities, particularly as they relate to maternal health outcomes.[4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    1 291
  • View from the Hill: A conversation with Rep. Lauren Underwood
  • Lauren Underwood: A millennial in Congress
  • Congratulations, Rep. Lauren Underwood
  • Nurses Belong on the Hill: A Conversation with U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood
  • Policy Talks @ the Ford School: Rep. Lauren Underwood on health policy and the ACA


Early life

Underwood was born on October 4, 1986, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.[5] At age three, she moved with her family to Naperville, Illinois, where she grew up and attended Neuqua Valley High School, graduating in 2004. She began as a Girl Scout in kindergarten and is a lifetime member.[6] At eight years old, Underwood was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, a pre-existing condition that later shaped her views on health policy.[7]

From 2003 to 2004, she worked on the City of Naperville's Fair Housing Advisory Commission.[8] She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan in 2008. At Michigan, Underwood took a course on nursing politics that she has said "changed her life" and influenced her to enter healthcare policy.[8][9] Also at Michigan, she joined the National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.[10] She received her Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in 2009.[8]


In 2014, Underwood became a senior advisor at the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where she worked to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[11][12][13]

Beginning in 2017, Underwood was the Senior Director of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs at Next Level Health.[14] She also served as an adjunct instructor at the Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies.[15]

U.S. House of Representatives

Underwood during election night 2018



In August 2017, Underwood announced her candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois's 14th congressional district.[15] Her platform focused on improving the Affordable Care Act, expanding job opportunities, infrastructure improvements, and paid family leave.[11] She won the March 20 Democratic primary with 57% of the vote against six opponents.[16]

In the general election, Underwood faced incumbent Republican Randy Hultgren. In a public debate, Underwood, who has a heart condition, said that she had decided to run for the seat because Hultgren voted to repeal the ACA. Hultgren voted in favor of the Republican American Health Care Act, which passed the House in 2017 but not the Senate, and would have repealed and replaced the ACA.

Underwood said the repeal-and-replace bill would have taken away the right of "individuals like me with preexisting conditions to have affordable coverage" and that people like her would either be denied coverage or charged more. Hultgren said the bill would have protected such people because although it would have allowed states to charge people with preexisting conditions more, they would be eligible for subsidies.[17]

Underwood said that health care is "a human right" and that single-payer/universal coverage/Medicare for all was "a great goal" but would have to wait until we have good answers to the questions about costs.[18] Hultgren ran TV ads stating that Underwood supports a single-payer plan.[19]

Former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Underwood. In the November 6 election,[20] she defeated Hultgren with 52.5% of the vote.[21]


Underwood was reelected over state senator Jim Oberweis, in the ninth-closest race of the House 2020 election cycle.[22] Following early returns, Oberweis claimed victory prior to the official declaration as to the winner.[23] Nine days following voting, the Associated Press called the election on November 12 for Underwood.[24] Oberweis unsuccessfully challenged the result.[25]


Underwood ran for reelection in 2022 in the 14th district after its lines were dramatically adjusted following redistricting.[26] She won the election with 54% of the vote.[27]


During the presidency of Donald Trump, Underwood voted in line with Trump's stated position 6.5% of the time.[28] Underwood voted with President Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time in the 117th Congress, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.[29]

In her first term, Underwood wrote four bills that Trump signed into law.[30]

In 2019, Underwood was listed in the Time 100 Next. Her entry was written by U.S. Senator Cory Booker.[31]

At a Department of Homeland Security budget hearing in 2019, Underwood remarked on treatment of migrants in United States Border Patrol custody. She said "Congress has been more than willing to provide the resources and work with you to address the security and humanitarian concerns but at this point, with five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families – I feel like, and the evidence is really clear, that this is intentional." Underwood further said "It’s a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration, and it’s cruel and inhumane." The remarks caused controversy at the hearing, and were stricken from the record.[32]

In the 118th Congress, Underwood was elected co-chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, along with Veronica Escobar and Dean Phillips.[33]

Committee assignments

For the 118th Congress:[34]

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Illinois 14th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2018[37]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lauren Underwood 29,391 57.35
Democratic Matthew Brolley 6,845 13.36
Democratic Jim Walz 5,100 9.95
Democratic Victor Swanson 3,597 7.02
Democratic John J. Hosta 2,578 5.03
Democratic George Weber 2,570 5.01
Democratic Daniel Roldan-Johnson 1,170 2.28
Total votes 51,251 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District General Election, 2018[38]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lauren Underwood 156,035 52.50
Republican Randy Hultgren (incumbent) 141,164 47.50
Total votes 297,199 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2020[39]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lauren Underwood (incumbent) 77,707 100.0
Total votes 77,707 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District General Election, 2020[40][41]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lauren Underwood (incumbent) 203,209 50.67
Republican Jim Oberweis 197,835 49.33
Total votes 401,052 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District General Election, 2022[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lauren Underwood (incumbent) 128,141 54.2
Republican Scott Gryder 108,451 45.8
Write-in 8 0.0
Total votes 236,600 100.0

See also


  1. ^ "Lauren Underwood: Candidate for Congress, 14th District". WTTW. October 9, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  2. ^ O'Connell, Patrick M. "Democrat Lauren Underwood today becomes the youngest black woman ever in Congress as new class sworn in". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "Rep. Lauren Underwood elected to House Democratic leadership position". Chicago Sun-Times. December 2, 2022. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  4. ^ "Lauren Underwood's Long Game". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  5. ^ "Underwood, Lauren". History, Art & Archives. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved February 6, 2022. born in Mayfield Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, October 4, 1986
  6. ^ Edwards, Breanna (June 12, 2020). "Lauren Underwood Speaks On Effective Leadership". Essence. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  7. ^ Cramer, Ruby (March 4, 2023). "A life in Congress: Lauren Underwood learns what it costs". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 4, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c Sun-Times Editorial Board (October 2, 2018). "Lauren Underwood: Who she is, why she's running, her positions". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  9. ^ "Lauren Underwood: Candidate Profile". Daily Herald. February 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  10. ^ Davis, Rachaell (March 21, 2018). "Facts About Lauren Underwood - Essence". Essence. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Sun-Times Editorial Board. "Lauren Underwood: Who she is, why she's running, her positions". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  12. ^ "Lauren Underwood: Candidate Profile". Daily Herald. February 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  13. ^ Datcher, Mary L. (November 15, 2017). "Former Obama Health Sr. Advisor Lauren Underwood Runs for Congress". The Chicago Defender. Archived from the original on January 27, 2019. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  14. ^ Phillips, Janice (July 24, 2018). "From Public Health Advisor to Congressional Candidate: An Interview with Lauren Underwood". Minority Nurse. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Hegarty, Erin (October 26, 2018). "Naperville's Lauren Underwood to run for Rep. Randy Hultgren's 14th District seat". Naperville Sun. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  16. ^ Fuller, James (March 20, 2018). "Underwood coasts in Democratic primary for 14th Congressional District". Daily Herald. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  17. ^ Fuller, Jim (October 23, 2018). "Hultgren, Underwood debate at last, spar over health care vote". Daily Herald.
  18. ^ Fuller, James (April 2, 2018). "Underwood hopes winning primary formula carries over against Hultgren". Daily Herald.
  19. ^ Skinner, Cal (October 6, 2018). "Hultgren Goes After Single Payer Health Plan Supported by Opponent Underwood". McHenry County Blog.
  20. ^ "Lauren Underwood embraces progressive label in faceoff against U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren". Chicago Tribune. August 24, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  21. ^ "Illinois's 14th House District Election Results: Lauren Underwood vs. Randy Hultgren". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  22. ^ "The 30 Closest US House Races in 2020". Electionarium. December 18, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  23. ^ Al-Arshani, Sarah. "A Republican House candidate prematurely claimed victory in a race to unseat Democratic congresswoman Lauren Underwood, and then went to new member orientation even after she was declared the winner". Business Insider. Retrieved December 1, 2023.
  24. ^ Klar, Rebecca (November 12, 2020). "Underwood wins reelection in Illinois House race". The Hill. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  25. ^ "Alleging voting irregularities, state Sen. Jim Oberweis contests Rep. Lauren Underwood's reelection in U.S. House". Chicago Tribune. January 5, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2023.
  26. ^ Ahern • •, Mary Ann (November 4, 2022). "Battle Between Underwood, Gryder Mirrors National Struggle for Control of Congress". NBC Chicago. Retrieved December 1, 2023.
  27. ^ "Candidate Filing Search". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  28. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). "Tracking Lauren Underwood In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  29. ^ Wiederkehr, Anna; Bycoffe, Aaron (January 3, 2023). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 15, 2023.
  30. ^ "Lauren Underwood Wins Reelection In Illinois' 14th District, But Her Challenger Won't Concede". WBEZ Chicago. November 12, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  31. ^ "TIME 100 Next 2019: Lauren Underwood". Time. 2019. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  32. ^ Alvarez, Priscilla (May 22, 2019). "Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan defends shifting DHS resources to the border". CNN. Retrieved February 16, 2024.
  33. ^ Sweet, Lynn (December 2, 2022). "Rep. Lauren Underwood elected to House Democratic leadership position". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  34. ^ "Lauren Underwood". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  35. ^ "Congressional Black Caucus". Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  36. ^ "Rep. Adams and Rep. Underwood Launch Black Maternal Health Caucus". April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  37. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  38. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on January 16, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  39. ^ "Election Results 2020 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  40. ^ "Election Results 2020 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. December 4, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  41. ^ "Illinois 2020 Election Results". Chicago Sun-Times. November 20, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  42. ^ "2022 General Election Results".

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 14th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 25 April 2024, at 19:54
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