Founders

 

Deborah Bandy - 

Debbie is the founder and co-leader of Action Illinois, a progressive advocacy organization based in Springfield, Illinois. Action Illinois was established after the election in November, 2016 to focus on promoting effective action to protect and improve our democracy for today and tomorrow.

For the past nineteen years, Debbie has held a variety of roles within Johnson and Johnson.  Her current role is Director of Healthcare Policy and Advocacy for the Strategic Customer Group of Johnson and Johnson Healthcare Systems, Inc.  In this role, she works to build and foster relationships with key internal and external advocacy stakeholders in Illinois and Wisconsin in order to ensure patient have access to the therapies they need.  She also has a diverse background that includes roles in public accounting, Illinois state government, and teaching accounting at the college level. 

Debbie has been an active community advocate for over twenty-five years.  She is a former board president of Sojourn Shelter and Services, a non-profit dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence.  In this role, she was instrumental in getting a $1.2 million new shelter built for clients in 1998. She also has served on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and is a founding member of Women for Women, a giving circle affiliated with the Community Foundation of the Land of Lincoln.  She also currently serves on the board of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a bi-partisan think tank focused on data-driven budgeting and public policy.

Debbie is the first person in her family to get a college degree.  She earned her BS in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude, from Millikin University, and she passed her CPA exam during her first sitting.  Her mother Sally valued education immensely, even though she had dropped out of high school to give birth to Debbie.  She later earned her GED when Debbie was in 8th grade. Because of this value of education, Debbie established The Sally Fund to honor her late mother. This fund gives scholarships to community college students and also pays for GED’s for those with financial hardships.

Debbie is the proud mother of one grown son, Ryan Bandy.

 

JEnnifer Camille Lee - 

Jennifer is a founder and co-leader of Action Illinois, a progressive advocacy organization based in Springfield, Illinois focused on promoting effective action to protect and improve our democracy for today and tomorrow. Jennifer is also the founder and leader of Women Rising - Illinois, an organization based in downstate Illinois that recruits, trains and helps elect progressive women to office. In the most recent municipal elections, three of the four endorsed Women Rising candidates won their elections.

For the last five years she has worked with the Labor Education Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to establish an Advisory Board made up of labor leaders across the Midwest, create a policy institute (Project for Middle Class Renewal) dedicated to improving the lives of the middle-class in Illinois through applied policy research and trainings, and developed programming for union labor and communities throughout the state. In her role there she also co-directed a Women’s Labor Leadership School. Jennifer organized the sister rally to the National Women’s March in Springfield, Illinois and was a co-chair of the Illinois Women March on Springfield event at the State Capitol which saw 2000 community members rally for a responsible state budget with a progressive agenda.

Jennifer has been an active participant in Democratic political campaigns since her days as a college student at the University of Illinois-Springfield and has worked in a wide variety of roles from fundraising to leading a field team.

She lives in Rochester, Illinois, with her two teenagers, Zachary and Isabella. 

She can be reached at jennifer@actionillinois.org


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead

Action Illinois AdVisORY Council 

·      Carolyn Cochran Kopel

·      Carolin Easton Faulkner

·      Veronica Espina

·      Meg Evans

·      Lynn Galley Robinson

·      Amy Madigan Brown

·      Kara Marie

·      Sara Mayo Vig

·      Sarah Mueth

·      Linda Sawickis Jamali

·      Vanessa Shanle

·      Shatriya Smith

·      Jim Dixon

·      Aaron Tebrinke

·      Carolyn Dittberner Gillman