By Anna Lothson
Oak Park resident Eileen Lynch, a federal and state policy professional, has been appointed as state Senator Don Harmon's new district director, according to an announcement from Harmon's office last week.
Lynch, according to a news release, comes to the position with 15 years of policy experience, working as a U.S. Senate staffer, senior policy adviser for the state of Illinois, and issues and advocacy coordinator for the League of Women Voters of Illinois.
As a 12-year-resident of Oak Park, Lynch, 44, and her husband, Dan, are the parents of four children. One attends Brooks Middle School, two attend Lincoln Elementary School and the fourth is preschool age.
"I'm excited to be on Senator Harmon's team," Lynch wrote. "I have always respected his leadership on progressive issues important to working families, and I look forward to helping further that agenda on behalf of his constituents.
The senator's district office is on the front lines of helping constituents solve everyday problems and stay ahead of new challenges, and it will be my privilege to help in those efforts."
Lynch's primary responsibilities as district director will include reaching out to local governments, not-for-profit and community groups regarding local, state and federal issues; managing community relations and serving as liaison for the senator; analyzing current legislation; supporting policy and communications initiatives and coordinating the district's agenda and community affairs, as well as media relations, with the senator's legislative staff.
"I'm really pleased that I've been able to fill this position with somebody who not only has deep experience in legislative policy and constituent service, but who also is so invested in our community," wrote Harmon. "I know that Eileen will be a valuable resource not only to the district office but also to constituents in the 39th District."
Lynch began her career in government and public policy as a legislative aide to former Democratic U.S. Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, working on issues such as transportation, appropriations, economic development, housing, child support, tax reform and banking reform.
After moving to Oak Park, Lynch joined the League of Women Voters of Illinois, where she advocated for the League's policy agenda on campaign finance, ethics and judicial reform issues.
She continued her career in the office of the governor, where she analyzed legislation and proposed policy initiatives in transportation, ethics, public health and local government policy.
Since 2009, she has been raising her family and teaching French classes part time at Lincoln and Longfellow schools in District 97. She also chaired a program at Ascension Parish in Oak Park.
She replaces Rob Baren, who recently was appointed assistant secretary and open meetings act designee for the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, after serving 10 years as 39th District director.
In related news, Harmon also announced that Cara Caldbeck, a River Forest native who has worked in his district office for 10 years, has been promoted to constituent services director.