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Ninety women and 25 speakers participated in the June 3 Ready to Run® Illinois program.
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WIU-QC Hosts Ready to Run® Illinois

June 9, 2017

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – On June 3, public officials and campaign consultants trained 90 women interested in running for elective office as part of the Ready to Run® Illinois nonpartisan candidate training program.

This second offering of the Illinois training program was a sold-out event, held on the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus in Moline, IL.

Affiliated with the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the program is designed to increase the number of women serving in public office, and is directed by WIU Professor of Political Science and Director of Public Leadership and Outreach Janna Deitz.

Women elected officials, with experience in municipal, county, state legislative, judicial and congressional offices, along with representatives from Democratic and Republican party organizations, addressed participants. U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, of Illinois' 17th Congressional District, delivered the keynote address.

"While women make up more than half of the population, just one out of five members of Congress is female," said Bustos. "I want to thank Ready to Run® Illinois for helping provide women with the tools and expertise they need to launch and execute winning campaigns."

Illinois State Representative Avery Bourne described her path to serving in the General Assembly as a featured panelist. Ninth Circuit Judge Heidi Benson and McDonough County Board member and Finance Chair Alice Henry also participated. Benson said she supports Ready to Run® Illinois because, "The founding principle of the courts is justice. Without equality, there is no justice. If I can encourage and assist female attorneys to become judges, I feel like I have made a positive contribution to my profession."

Illinois is one of 21 states in the nation to conduct Ready to Run® training, and Western Illinois University is the host organization for the state. Participants from across Illinois participated in this year's training; others traveled from Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin and Washington, DC to attend.

Featured consultants addressed communication strategies, fundraising techniques and the importance of identifying a clear purpose in running for office. Campaign consultants with expertise in local/nonpartisan elections, social media, microtargeting and campaign budgeting shared their advice. Special sessions devoted to additional concerns for women of color and for dealing with the press were also included. The full list of speakers and agenda is available online at
The program reached its maximum capacity one month prior to the event.

"There was such demand for this program it necessitated a sizable waitlist," said Deitz.

Her plans are to expand capacity in 2018, and to continue promoting the program across Illinois.

"Ready to Run Illinois will serve as a resource for women considering a candidacy and for those who want to support them, whether for school board, county board, state or federal office." Said Deitz, "The program provides practical information with the ultimate goal of encouraging more women to seek and win public office."

For more information about the "Ready to Run® Illinois" program, or to sign up for the next training, visit or contact Deitz at

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