Richard Chalkey is originally from the hometown of Streator, IL and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Most recently, Richard served at the White House as the Associate Director of the National Economic Council, under Directors: Gary Cohn and Larry Kudlow, and as the Associate Director of the Office of Legislative under Directors: Shahira Knight, Eric Ueland, and Amy Swonger. He was the first and longest serving ILLINI in President Trump's White House and the longest serving Illinoian in the West Wing. Prior to the White House, Richard served in the DC offices of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois and Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois. Before moving to Washington, Richard was a founding team member of Tangled Roots Brewing Company in Ottawa, IL. Richard is a U.S. State Department Gilman Scholar having studied at the University of Hong Kong.
In 2016, Richard served as the Congressional Liaison Chair for the Illinois State Society Board.
Rod Ross prides himself as a product of Illinois: born in Chicago, raised in Batavia, educated at Knox College in Galesburg (BA) and the University of Chicago (MA, PhD). In 1975 he moved to DC with his late wife Clara. After serving as a Legislative Assistant in the 94th Congress, he joined the staff of the National Archives where he worked from 1977 to his 2016 retirement.
During his previous Board service he put together a variety of programs, described in the Mark Q. Rhoads 2013 volume Land of Lincoln: Thy Wondrous Story — Through the Eyes of The Illinois State Society.
As Member and Events Manager, Perry Harlow provides logistics expertise and management assistance for clients in-person and virtual fly-ins, annual meetings, and receptions. Harlow comes to MTA from National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Foundation. An Illinois native, Harlow has also served in internship roles with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, Illinois State Representative Dan Brady and the National Association of Agricultural Educators.
Harlow has both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Agricultural Education from Illinois State University and remains active in the Alumni association.
Peter Laudeman grew up in Sherman, IL (Sangamon County) and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he earned a degree in Agricultural and Consumer Economics concentrating in Public Policy and Law. Peter has pursued a career in agricultural policy and currently works on the Government Affairs team for Corteva Agriscience, the only US based pure play agriculture company.
Sadie Marks serves as the global programs coordinator at the U.S. Grains Council. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2020 with a BS in Agricultural Economics with a focus in Public Policy and Law and a double minor in African Studies and International Development. Her passion for agriculture stems from growing up on a 4th generation grain farm in Edwards County, Illinois. Sadie looks forward to networking with Illinois State Society Young Professionals and continuing her career in international agriculture.
Jimmy Schmitz is from Chicago, Illinois just 6 blocks from Wrigley Field. After many summers rooting on the Cubs, he moved to Washington, D.C. in the Fall of 2019 to pursue his political aspirations. Jimmy’s first internship was with the Heritage Foundation as part of their Young Leaders Program working with the program managers on various projects. Additionally, Jimmy published work on international health policy during his time in the program.
Jimmy went on to intern at the Cato Institute in March of 2020 as a part of the institute’s media team, assisting scholars with researching and editing blog posts for their website. After interning with the Nevada Policy Research Institute in the Fall of 2020 writing blog posts on education policy, Jimmy began an internship with Congressman LaHood’s office where he currently works as a congressional aide.
Jimmy joined the ILSS At-Large Board in January 2020 and proudly serves as the ILLS Historian. Jimmy graduated from DePaul University with an American History degree in 2018 and is currently completing his Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at Northwestern University.
Julissa Santoy currently serves as Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García’s Director of Operations and Scheduler. She was previously with Former Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez as Executive Assistant, Legislative Assistant in the DC office and Congressional Aide in the Chicago District Office. A first-generation college student, she graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2011 with a double major in Sociology and Latina/o Studies and has spent the last six years as a fierce advocate for issues affecting the Latina/o and immigrant communities on Capitol Hill. She was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and loves getting back home as often as possible to catch a Chicago Cubs game!
Joan Murray is a native to Chicago. She graduated from the College of Saint Teresa, Winona, MN with a Bachelor of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition: Chemistry, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and a Management Minor. After graduation, she returned to Chicago and worked for Loyola University Medical Center and Rush-Presbyterian-Sl. Luke's Medical Center before completing a Dietetic Internship at Jackson Memorial/University of Miami (FL) Medical Systems. As a Registered Dietitian, Joan has managed restaurants and hotel food and beverage operations in Chicago, Atlanta, New Jersey and the Washington, D.C. metro area. She founded a business which provided nutrition, recipe development and marketing to the Hospitality industry. She has also written for trade publications such as the Produce News and FoodService Director and Western Growers magazines, covering food safety, sanitation, nutrition, emerging food technologies, biotechnology, and free trade agreements. Awards include Life Time Achievement in Foodservice Research from the Society for the Advancement of Foodservice Research.
Matthew McMurray, a native of Chicago, serves as a Legislative Assistant to Congresswoman Robin Kelly handling military, defense, veteran, and foreign affairs issues. Prior to joining the office of Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Matt interned for the Committee on House Administration and Dale Curtis Communications. Before coming to the Hill, Matt worked as a Field Organizer for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Michigan’s First Congressional District. While an undergraduate at Emory he worked at the Yerkes National Primate Center in Atlanta for three years studying the effects of adverse maternal care in socially housed rhesus infants. Matt has a Master’s Degree from the U.S. Army War College and graduated Magna cum Laude from Emory University.
John Lee is a Principal at the Policy Resolution Group (PRG) at Bracewell LLP, guiding corporations, trade associations, and non-profits through the legislative and regulatory aspects of government advocacy campaigns. John has spent 5 years at PRG, and prior to that spent summers on Capitol Hill with the House Small Business Committee and Congressman Bobby Rush. John graduated from Colgate University in 2015 and grew up in the northern suburbs in Deerfield. He currently has family in River North and Lincoln Park!
Will Layden was born just outside of Washington, D.C., but considers himself a native Illinoisan, having grown up in Western Springs nearly his my life. Layden graduated from Lyons Township High School in 2011, lettering in both track and cross country. As an Eagle Scout, Layden has always been civically engaged and passionate about politics. This passion led him to Clemson University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with an emphasis on political statistics.
Following his graduation in 2015, Layden worked in New Hampshire for the bipartisan nonprofit NoLabels before moving to Washington, D.C. His Hill career started with the Committee on Natural Resources, first as a staff assistant for the full committee and eventually working to research assistant with the Federal Lands Subcommittee. Layden currently works as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Bruce Westerman, handling the natural resources and agricultural portfolio for Congress’ only forester.
Despite working for an Arkansas member and having lived and worked in both New Hampshire and South Carolina over the past eight years, Layden says that his Illinois roots run deep. He recently completed his first Chicago Marathon, both of his parents are small Illinois business owners and he is a lifelong Cubs fan. Layden's first hill internship was with Rep. Peter Roskam, and he has have been active with both the Illinois State Society and the Illinois State Society Young Professionals since moving to D.C.
Andrew Kreig, born in Chicago and based in Washington, DC, is a political commentator, non-profit executive, author, attorney, and former newspaper reporter.
He edits the Justice Integrity Project, a non-partisan investigative reporting organization published online. Also, has lectured on five continents about communications, and is active in multiple journalism, high-tech, legal, foreign affairs, and other civic groups.
He has written two books. Presidential Puppetry (2013) evaluated little-reported current events in historical terms. Spiked (1987) reported on disturbing trends in the consolidation of news outlets into fewer hands.
His parents were Illinois natives who met and married at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He was born at the Laying In Hospital on the University of Chicago campus, where he later received his J.D. degree from the law school.
Formerly, he led the Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) from 1996 to 2008 as president/CEO in its global advocacy for the then-nascent broadband wireless industry. Its mission was to overcome regulatory, business, and technical obstacles as wireless Internet progressed from a dream in the early 1990s into viable services. To showcase advanced applications for consumers, businesses, schools, and other governmental users, the association held annual conventions in Silicon Valley and Washington, DC.
Earlier, he was the association’s vice president and general counsel, an associate in the DC office of a national law firm, law clerk to federal judge, and a newspaper reporter and magazine editor. Aside from his Chicago degree, he holds an M.S.L. from Yale Law School and a B.A. from Cornell University.
Angela Osborne is a senior security professional with proven managerial experience and expertise in conducting threat assessments, investigations, and statistical analysis. She previously worked as a senior analyst at Interos Solutions, supporting clients including the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA), and General Services Administration (GSA). She also spent several years as a security intelligence analyst with TAQA, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company performing risk assessments and recommending security countermeasures for energy projects around the world. Angela holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies, Concentration in Intelligence, from Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, and a Bachelor of Arts from Millikin University. She currently serves at the Events Lead for the ASIS Young Professionals Council, and coordinated the ASIS Career Center at the 2016 Annual Seminar. In addition to security, languages, specifically French and Arabic, are her passion.
Tiffany Edmondson serves as the leading vetting and program specialist in the White House Liaison Office at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There, she assists the Secretary of Agriculture with the approval of nominations for members that are appointed to USDA’s Federal Advisory Boards and Committees throughout the country. Tiffany has served as the key worker for the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) of the National Capital Area and Feds Feed Families (FFF). Tiffany was awarded the CFC Most Valuable Fundraiser Award and a Merit Award for agency participation. In 2016, Tiffany received the Martin Luther King Drum Major for Service Award for organizing department-wide FFF events which increased employee involvement.
Prior to her USDA service, Tiffany was a correspondence associate in the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence where she analyzed and coded at least 300 letters a day addressed to the President. Tiffany holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Political Science from Jackson State University (JSU). Tiffany also has minor coursework in Mandarin Chinese from JSU and from Diwan University and Fu Jen Catholic University, which both are in Taipei, Taiwan. Tiffany has continued her Mandarin Chinese studies at George Washington University’s Confucius Institute.
In 2006, Tiffany completed a 10-month apprenticeship at Public Allies Chicago, which sparked her interest in public service and community engagement. Currently, she is an active member of the Illinois State Society (ISS) and has volunteered to serve on the scholarship committee for the past two consecutive years and has helped with registration and clean-up duties during other ISS events.
Mike is originally from Rock Island, Illinois. Early in his career, he worked at the Illinois Commerce Committee and taught at Illinois State University. He moved to the Washington, DC area in 1981. Since then, he has been employed in legislative/policy positions at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Resolution Trust Corporation, the U.S. General Services Administration and financial trade associations. He is currently involved in land use and zoning issues in Fairfax County, VA. His volunteer interests include serving as docent at local historic sites and presenting lectures on local (Fairfax County) history topics.
Chelsea Caufield grew up in Lake Bluff, Illinois, and graduated from Lake Forest High School in 2007. She then graduated college in 2011 from Saint Mary's College of California. Chelsea has worked on Congressman Dold’s 2012 and 2014 campaign for Congress and as his executive assistant in DC from January 2015 to January 2017. Chelsea is currently working for Congressman Ryan Costello from Pennsylvania’s 6th district as his DC executive assistant.
Carissa Bunge is a Senior Public Affairs Specialist at the American Geophysical Union, where she works to engage scientists in the policy making process as well as advocate for science issues on the Hill and with the Administration. Carissa has worked in a variety of positions focusing on science communication, outreach, and policy such as interning for Tom Skilling at WGN-TV, the National Weather Service forecasting office in Romeoville, IL, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In her free time, she enjoys camping, running, and cheering on the Cubs. Originally from Naperville, Illinois, Carissa has a degree in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Tom Brierton was raised on the family farm in Franklin Grove, Illinois, a small town
about 2 hours west of Chicago. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in political science.
Coming from a family with a tradition of public service in local government and community organizations, Tom decided to pursue a career in government and public
service after finishing college. After starting work in the district office of an Illinois
Member of Congress, he ultimately transferred out to Washington, DC in 1995 to work
on Capitol Hill. During his time on the Hill, Tom worked in a variety of staff positions for
two different Members and at two different congressional committees.
Leaving Capitol Hill in January 2007, Tom founded Franklin Creek Consulting, a federal
lobbying and policy consulting firm specializing in Native American policy issues. He
currently represents several large and well-known American Indian tribes and
commercial gaming interests throughout the United States, with a heavy emphasis on
clients in the Midwest.
When not working, Tom returns home often to visit his parents and friends in Franklin
Grove, maintaining his close ties to the rural Illinois community where he grew up.
Margie was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois. She attended school at the University of St. Francis (USF) where she received a degree in political science. While at USF, Margie interned and later worked in the Congressional and political offices of Congressman Jerry Weller. After graduating from USF, Margie moved to Washington, D.C. She received her master’s degree in political management from the George Washington University while working for Rep. Weller in his D.C. office.
In 2009, Margie began working for Rep. Aaron Schock and spent six years gaining a greater appreciation and understanding of the differences between central Illinois and southern Illinois. The biggest takeaway Margie learned is that, unlike everything she had been told growing up, everything south of I-80 is not in fact classified as “southern Illinois.” In 2015, Margie began working as the Legislative Director for Rep. David McKinley. She specializes in healthcare issues and remains focused on how to improve the health care delivery system for citizens living in rural areas. Despite enduring the ups and downs of sports, Margie remains a lifelong fan of the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.
Brian was born and raised in Staunton, IL, graduating from Mt. Olive High School in 2001. He received his BA in Economics in 2005 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was also a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Brian began working on Capitol Hill in 2006 as a Staff Assistant for then-Speaker Hastert (R-IL). The following year, he joined the office of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) as a legislative correspondent and shortly thereafter was promoted to Legislative Assistant. In the Summer of 2010, he took a job handling Rep. Biggert’s Education and Workforce Committee portfolio. In May 2012, Brian left Capitol Hill for a job at McGuireWoods Consulting, representing clients in health care and higher education. After returning to the hill to serve as Senior Policy Advisor for Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) began in May 2015, Brian accepted his current position as Legislative Director for Rep. John Shimkus R-IL). Brian also serves as a member of the Illinois in Washington (IIW) internship program Advisory Board, and as President of DC Chapter of the University of Illinois Alumni Association.
Anne Devlin is currently the Regional Director of Federal Government Affairs at Abbott. Anne joined the company in April 2007. Prior to joining Abbott, she managed PACs for the National Association of Broadcasters, Dell Inc. and the International Dairy Foods Association. She received her undergraduate degree in Politics at The Catholic University of America in 1997. In 2003, Anne completed the graduate certificate program in PACs and Political Management at The George Washington University.
Former Congressman Jerry Weller (1995-2009) is Managing Partner for NWG Public Affairs LLC, international public affairs, strategic consulting and business development firm. NWG serves a variety of clients in health care, energy, finance, telecommunications, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
Elected in the historic class of 1994, Congressman Weller quickly rose in the ranks of his Class; serving as Class President and representing this influential group on the powerful House Republican Steering Committee which appoints Members to their Committee assignments. He also served as Deputy House Majority Whip.
Known for his tenacity, former Congressman Weller recently secured an additional $900 million in additional Medicare funding for Puerto Rico’s hospitals in the 2015 Omnibus package approved by Congress and he worked to build strong bi-partisan Congressional support for the first ever public-private partnership (PPP) to operate a major airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was instrumental in the land transfer of a sizeable portion of the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Base over to Puerto Rico and obtained over $100 million in discretionary Federal funds for Puerto Rico’s highway improvements. An AP story once labeled him the “go to guy for Puerto Rico”.
During his tenure in the US House of Representatives and as a Member of the Ways & Means Committee, Congressman Weller advocated tax policies that fostered investment in job creation and protected the environment while promoting energy independence from imported oil through the expanded use of biofuels, energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy. In 2005, policies he advocated increasing domestic energy development became law. His law promoting tax incentives for environmental cleanup and development of abandoned brownfield sites is revitalizing blighted communities.
While serving 14 years in Congress, Jerry rose to be a leading Member of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade, where Jerry effectively made the case that trade helps eliminate poverty and creates jobs. He emerged as a leading advocate for expanded trade in the Western Hemisphere and helped lead efforts to ratify the DR-CAFTA and Peru Trade agreements. He advocated ratification of the Colombia, South Korea and Panama TPAs and promoted waterway infrastructure investment to expand exports.
Jerry also served as Ranking Republican on the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Income Security & Family Support where he partnered with his Democratic Chairman to author major reforms to federal adoption and foster care laws. His bi-partisan leadership earned recognition from Foster Care, Adoption and Children’s advocacy organizations.
Jerry additionally served as Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, and Chaired the House Republican Working Group on Latin America
& the Caribbean. He Co-Chaired the US-Panama Caucus, the Caribbean Caucus, and participated in the Annual US-Mexico Inter-Parliamentary Exchange.
Congressman Weller earned national recognition for his successful efforts to successfully enact legislation known as the Illinois Land Conservation Act which implemented his plan to redevelop the 24,000 acre Joliet Arsenal into the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, the Abraham Lincoln National Veterans’ Cemetery, and 3,000 acres set aside for industrial development. He secured over $30 million in federal funds towards infrastructure and development at the former arsenal which has since attracted over $1 billion in private investment including one of the world’s largest inter modal truck-rail cargo facilities.
Jerry led efforts to reauthorize and expand the historic Illinois & Michigan Canal Heritage Corridor and enlisted greater private sector support for its development.
While serving as National Finance Chairman for the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2002 Election cycle, Jerry led efforts resulting in over $210,000,000 being raised to support candidates across the country.
He also serves as Global Development Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors for leading IPTV provider, VIPTV, with subscribers in 40 countries
Former Congressman Weller is Chairman of the Illinois State Society Foundation and Vice- President for the Illinois State Society; the nation’s oldest established State Society. Jerry continues to be a strong advocate of sustainable forestry to combat de-forestation and has planted over 20,000 hardwood trees in Guatemala.
He continues to be sought out for comment on current issues and has recently authored commentary in nationally recognized publications including Roll Call and The Hill. Jerry joined Procter & Gamble after graduating from the University of Illinois in 1979. Before Congress he served as an aide to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, maintained involvement in the Family farm and served in the Illinois General Assembly.
Jerry maintains the Weller Family farm which was once home to an internationally recognized swine breeding operation that sold seed stock to over 30 countries. In fact, the first shipment of breeding stock to the People’s Republic of China from the United States included stock from the Weller farm. After almost 50 years of continuous service to American agriculture, Jerry’s parents, Lavern and Marilyn Weller were inducted into Illinois’ prestigious Land of Lincoln Purebred Livestock Breeder’s Association Hall of Fame.