Tell us about your family.

General

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My wife Diana and I have six children — two boys and four girls.

My husband and I have been married for 30 years. We have lived in Wheaton for 26 years where we have raised our 5 children. Our oldest son is a US Army Infantry officer and Ranger qualified. Our second son is in training to be a Navy pilot. We have a son who is studying accounting at Ole Miss, a junior at Wheaton Warrenville South High School and an 8th Grade daughter at St. Michael Parish School.

My wife and I live in Evanston with our two kids, who attend their local public school. Karin is a former Peace Corps volunteer and historian who studies communist Romania and has a passionate interest in government, politics, and service. Elliot is in 4th grade and has an intense love for fantasy novels, while Theodore is in 2nd grade and needs to figure out how everything works. The only thing I don't like about campaigning is the time away from them.

In 1881, my great-grandfather arrived here at age 10 as a refugee from Russian pogroms in Ukraine. He was educated in a downtown Chicago public school on Harrison Street where he learned English. A social service agency gave him a place to live and after getting jobs, he and his father were able to bring the rest of the family to the safety and opportunity of America. I'm reasonably certain my family would not exist today but for the government of the United States and could not have pursued its success without the goodwill and decency of this state and the generous people of Illinois. The entrepreneurial spirit of my family continued in my father and mother who built Hyatt Hotels into the fastest growing hotel chain in America. Though they both passed at an early age, they set terrific examples as advocates for economic and social justice, teaching us the importance of doing public service to lift up those who have been left out and left behind.

I've been married to my wife MK for nearly 25 years. She grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota where her father was a professor and administrator at the University of South Dakota. He previously had been chief of staff for popular South Dakota Governor, Dick Kneip. MK's mother served in the South Dakota State Senate. MK worked for Governor Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and for U.S. Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota before we met on Capitol Hill when I was working for U.S. Senator Alan Dixon. MK is my partner in this campaign and in everything in life. We have two wonderful kids, Teddi (15) and Donny (13). Teddi is an athlete and an avid student of social justice, and Donny is a football fanatic and a math whiz.

I grew up in Dayton, Ohio. My father was a policeman at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and my mother was a homemaker. We lived in government or public housing until I was 14. I have four children. My oldest son is a lawyer in Boston and my oldest daughter works for Scholastics in New York City. My daughters here are a registered dietitian and my youngest daughter works at St. Joseph's Hospital in Chicago.

There is plenty that is known about my family. One of the aspects of my family that I think many find most fascinating is many Americans find in our family much of what they find in their own. The Kennedys are a big family, and when you have a big family, your world expands. You have an enormous number of experiences, each bringing its own, unique insight, expanding our minds and opening our hearts. There are baptisms and graduations, weddings and divorces. There are babies being born, and uncles and aunts being laid to rest, fun events and parties, alcoholism and drug abuse, academic honors and calls from the principal's office, wins and victories, drugs and death, promotions at work and job loss, exciting beginnings, gunshots and terminal illness, and always more fun and love than all of those challenges combined. Much of my beliefs about government and public office come from family. My mother, aunts, uncles and my father lived the tradition of seeking and serving the public out of a belief in serving the public good. That belief in serving the public good is further grounded in our belief in family. I think the people of Illinois need to believe that our government is working to serve everyone no matter where they live, and believe that we see ourselves as part of one big family. That's what I want to bring to Illinois.

Married for eighteen years to Alison Hardiman.

I'm a fourth-generation Madison County resident, married to Karen for 25 years. We have two sons in college at SIU-Edwardsville. My father was an accountant and a farmer, my mother worked in retail sales at P.N. Hirsch in Highland. I'm the youngest of four children. My three older sisters all were involved in education, two as teachers and one as the business manager of a school district.