At three-years-old, Rep. Lauren Underwood and her family relocated to Illinois from Ohio. When she was 8-years-old, Underwood was diagnosed with a pre-existing health condition. Now — at 33-year-old — her urge to fight for affordable healthcare for those with pre-existing health conditions has led her to become the youngest Black woman ever to serve in Congress.
Here are five facts about the democratic congresswoman from Illinois.
She is a Registered Nurse.
Rep. Underwood holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Michigan where she graduated Magna cum Laude. She is licensed in three jurisdictions including Michigan, Washington D.C., and Illinois. As an RN, she specializes in public health nursing, where she puts her dual master’s degree in public health and nursing to use.
She served on the Obama Administration.
Underwood was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While at the HHS, Underwood helped implement the Affordable Care Act and helped the country prepare for and prevent public health crises.
She values investing in small businesses.
Among the many morally sound values listed on her campaign site, job creation is at the top of the list. Underwood believes in taking a broad approach to job creation to strengthen the economy for communities in her district. She fights to put a bigger emphasis on freelance and gig-related jobs.
She doesn’t believe in being passive.
Rep. Underwood sat down with legendary civil rights activist and congressman of Georgia, Rep. John Lewis, in a recent Now This interview where she explained how being passive isn’t an approach that will produce change.
“Black people never advance by passivism,” she said in agreement with Rep. Lewis’ advice of getting into good trouble, a motto handed down to him by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
She is the first woman to serve Illinois’ 14th district.
Not only is Rep. Underwood the youngest Black woman to serve, but she is also the first woman, the first millennial, and the first person of color, to serve the district, according to her biography.
With no signs of slowing up, Rep. Underwood — who made the 2019 TIME 100 Next List — is currently campaigning for re-election after advancing from the Democratic primary this month. She will appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 3, 2020.