Panel also announces team to support its work, including Tina Tchen, Co-Founder of Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and former Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama

CHICAGO, IL (June 26, 2018) – Today, the non-partisan Anti-Harassment, Equality, and Access Panel (AHEA) announced its plans to host six listening sessions throughout Illinois.

These sessions are designed for women who have worked on campaigns at all levels, in any party in Illinois, to provide guidance for the Panel’s final report on guidelines to improve workplace culture. For those women who can’t participate in these panels, a website has been created where feedback can be provided either by name or anonymously at

The Panel schedule is:

  • Champaign: Sunday, July 1
  • Chicago and Rockford: Sunday, July 8
  • Metro East: Sunday, July 15
  • Springfield: Monday, July 23
  • Carbondale: Thursday, July 26

The Panel is led by Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza, State Senator Melinda Bush (Grayslake) and State Representative Carol Ammons (Urbana).

 “We are thrilled to start engaging women across the state around this incredibly important work,” said Illinois State Comptroller, Susana Mendoza. “It’s a unique opportunity to help shape the future of Illinois politics and the kind of culture we want to build that ultimately gives everyone the opportunity to thrive and succeed.”

State Representative Carol Ammons says the Panel is being very intentional to ensure listening sessions include the voices of all women. “As part of our work, it’s critical that women of color, who have been traditionally disenfranchised, are heard,” she said. “It is crucial the Panel is considering the intersection of race and gender and how it impacts the overall landscape of politics in Illinois. Women of color are missing from the discussion, from the table, and from our elected offices.”

“It’s important that we visit every corner of the state and engage multiple partners in this work so that all voices are heard regardless of where they serve,” said State Senator Melinda Bush. “We want to engage women from all parties, across all levels of experience working on campaigns and within party organizations so we can build recommendations that can create the strongest and most supportive environments where women can succeed.”

The goals of the AHEA Panel are as follows:

  • Promote and support a culture of equality, safety, and respect in Illinois politics and government free of sexual harassment.
  • Improve the process for combating and reporting sexual harassment in Illinois political campaigns.
  • Increase the number of women in leadership positions and those on track to leadership positions at all levels of Illinois politics and government by expanding access and tools for professional and leadership development.
  • Facilitate more women running for office in Illinois by identifying and reducing structural obstacles that prevent them from doing so.

Supporting the work of the Panel is Tina Tchen, Partner, Buckley Sandler LLP; Becky Carroll, President, C-Strategies, and co-founder of Illinois Say No More; Katelynd Duncan, President of KJD Strategies and co-founder of Illinois Say No More; and Christie Lacey, Panel Coordinator.

The AHEA is a 501(c)(4) non-partisan organization. This Panel does not have investigatory authority or oversight around sexual harassment allegations. The Panel plans to complete its report by August 16.