Lauren Underwood

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Lauren Underwood
Lauren Underwood official portrait.jpg
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 32)
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 nurse and politician who serves as the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 14th congressional district as a member of the Democratic Party. The district, which was once represented by former Speaker Dennis Hastert, is anchored in the outer western suburbs of Chicago, such as Crystal Lake, Geneva, Oswego, Woodstock, and Yorkville.

After growing up in Naperville, Illinois, Underwood received a degree in nursing from the University of Michigan and two master's degrees from Johns Hopkins University. She started her career as a policy professional in the Obama Administration in 2014 and later worked 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]

Early life[edit]

Lauren Underwood was born in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.[3] At age three she moved with her family to Naperville, Illinois, where she grew up and attended Neuqua Valley High School, graduating in 2004. From 2003 to 2004 she worked on the City of Naperville's Fair Housing Advisory Commission.[4] 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.[4][5] Also at Michigan she joined the National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.[6] She received her Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in 2009.[4]

Beginning in 2017 Underwood was the Senior Director of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs at Next Level Health.[7] She also served as an adjunct instructor at the Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies.[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.[9][10][11]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Underwood during election night 2018

In August 2017 Underwood announced her candidacy in the 2018 elections for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois's 14th congressional district.[12] Her platform focused on improving the Affordable Care Act, expanding job opportunities, infrastructure improvements, and paid family leave.[9] She won the March 20, 2018, Democratic primary with 57% of the vote against six opponents.[13]

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 Affordable Care Act. 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 Obamacare.

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 pre-existing conditions more, they would be eligible for subsidies.[14]

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.[15] Hultgren ran TV ads stating that Underwood supports a single-payer plan.[16]

Former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Underwood. In the November 6 election[17] she defeated Hultgren with 52.5% of the vote.[18]


According to VoteView, Underwood has the most liberal voting record in the House of Representatives in the 116th United States Congress.[19] According to FiveThirtyEight, she has not voted in line with President Trump’s position on any bill.[20]


On May 22, 2019, Underwood suggested that immigrant deaths in the custody of the United States Border Patrol were intentional.[21][22]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Lauren Underwood for Congress. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Sun-Times Editorial Board. "Lauren Underwood: Who she is, why she's running, her positions". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  5. ^ "Lauren Underwood: Candidate Profile". Daily Herald. February 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  6. ^ Davis, Rachaell (March 21, 2018). "Facts About Lauren Underwood - Essence". Essence. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  7. ^ "From Public Health Advisor to Congressional Candidate: An Interview with Lauren Underwood - Minority Nurse". July 24, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Naperville's Lauren Underwood to run for Rep. Randy Hultgren's 14th District seat - Naperville Sun". October 26, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  9. ^ a b BySun-Times Editorial Board. "Lauren Underwood: Who she is, why she's running, her positions". Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  10. ^ "Lauren Underwood: Candidate Profile". Daily Herald. February 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Mary L. Datcher, Chicago Defender Managing Editor (November 15, 2017). "Former Obama Health Sr. Advisor Lauren Underwood Runs for Congress". The Chicago Defender. Retrieved November 6, 2018.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "Naperville's Lauren Underwood to run for Rep. Randy Hultgren's 14th District seat - Naperville Sun". October 26, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  13. ^ Fuller, James (March 20, 2018). "Underwood coasts in Democratic primary for 14th Congressional District". Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  14. ^ Fuller, Jim (October 23, 2018). "Hultgren, Underwood debate at last, spar over health care vote". Daily Herald.
  15. ^ Fuller, James (April 2, 2018). "Underwood hopes winning primary formula carries over against Hultgren". Daily Herald.
  16. ^ Skinner, Cal (October 6, 2018). "Hultgren Goes After Single Payer Health Plan Supported by Opponent Underwood". McHenry County Blog.
  17. ^ "Lauren Underwood embraces progressive label in faceoff against U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  18. ^ "Illinois's 14th House District Election Results: Lauren Underwood vs. Randy Hultgren". New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Lawmaker suggests migrant deaths are intentional". CNN. May 22, 2019.
  22. ^ Alvarez, Priscilla (May 22, 2019). "Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan defends shifting DHS resources to the border". CNN.
  23. ^ "Congressional Black Caucus". Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  24. ^ "Rep. Adams and Rep. Underwood Launch Black Maternal Health Caucus". Retrieved April 24, 2019.

External links[edit]

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

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
David Trone
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jeff Van Drew