By Chris Hotchkin

Interview with Julie Renehan, County Board Member District 3. 

Julie received the most votes of all candidates in District 3 in the general election in 2018. She is the first Democrat in many years to represent this district.

1.      What made you decide to run in 2018?

For too too long one party has represented almost all seats in DuPage County government despite a changing and increasingly Democratic face in the area.  I wanted to give voice to more of us and share Democratic values. When Hillary Clinton was defeated, I was determined to work harder for Democratic candidates.  When I was asked to run, I did.  I was willing to lose but wanted to “put it out there” that the Democratic presence in DuPage is established and growing. 

2.      What were the challenges you faced in the campaign, and where did you get help?

The biggest challenge is just putting yourself out there, putting yourself in front of the voters. Another challenge of course is raising money. Learning the technical aspects of running a campaign, such as targeting precincts was a challenge, but interesting to learn. Getting signatures on my petitions was the first challenge I faced, and I was proud to be able to file enough signatures to get on the ballot.

Help came from expected and unexpected places. Of course, family and friends helped, but sometimes a complete stranger would contact me and say they wanted to help right away and would be very passionate about getting involved.

Representative Cheri Bustos,  U.S. Representative from the 17thDistrict in Illinois and Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran a “Boot Camp” for new candidates that was very helpful in teaching me how to get my message out there.  Some local Democrats such as Paul Farber who provided spreadsheets and Tony DeFranco who walked precincts and passed out signs were very helpful.

3.      What was the most satisfying part of running for office as a Democrat in DuPage County?

 Meeting the challenges of candidacy was the most personally satisfying part- doing things for the first time as a candidate that were out my comfort zone. With each incremental challenge-speaking at events, fundraising, canvassing- I found confidence and achievement. It helped that I ran with simply a great group of candidates and it was a privilege to be amongst them.  It was rewarding to be among so many volunteers and advocates that share my values and goals.  And, of course, the most satisfying part is getting to represent and serve people- and give more voice to more of us.