September 9, 2019
The Pension Problem: What Happens Now? – moderated by Kristen McQueary – Laurence Msall, Adam Schuster & Hon. Heather Steans
Kristen McQueary is an Editorial Board Member of the Chicago Tribune. Her areas of focus include government, politics, education, and candidate endorsements.
Before joining the Tribune in 2012, McQueary wrote a political column for the Sun-Times News Group’s SouthtownStar and covered the statehouse for Chicago Public Radio and the Chicago News Cooperative, which published in The New York Times. McQueary is a former President of the Chicago Headline Club and also previously worked for the Peoria Journal Star.
A native of Rockford, McQueary earned her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and a master’s degree from the University of Illinois Springfield.
Laurence Msall is the President of the Civic Federation, a nonpartisan government research organization established in 1894 that promotes independent and evidence-based efforts to improve the effectiveness, financial sustainability, and transparency of state and local governments in Illinois.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Chicago Civic Consulting Alliance, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Nominating Committee, and the Kennedy Forum of Illinois. Msall also serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs and NPR Illinois Issues. He is an active volunteer with PADS Homeless Shelter and L’arche Chicago. Msall is a graduate of Loyola University School of Law and Knox College.
Adam Schuster is the budget and tax research director at the Illinois Policy Institute. In this role he focuses on the state budget and the tax burden facing Illinois residents.
Adam has a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University. Prior to joining the Institute, he worked in the Illinois Department of Labor to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens and on an initiative to tie state spending to measurable outcomes.
In addition to his policy work, Adam has extensive experience in grassroots advocacy and political campaigns.
Heather Steans has represented Illinois’ 7th District in the Senate since 2008. Currently, she chairs the Appropriations I Committee and serves on the Executive, Executive Appointments, Environment and Conservation, Government Accountability and Pensions, and Human Services committees. Steans has passed legislation to bring marriage equality to Illinois, reform the state’s Medicaid program, enact significant nursing home reform and improve the environment by reducing mercury waste, creating commercial composting capabilities and banning microbeads. She also passed the Equal Rights Amendment in 2018, making Illinois the 37th state to ratify it and secured the passage of legislation that ensures Illinois remains a state where women can safely and legally exercise their right to choose. In 2019, she passed landmark legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis, a plan widely viewed as the most equity-centered in the country.
Heather Steans graduated from Princeton with a B.A. in Urban Studies and received her M.A. in Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Her professional career has focused on government finance, economic development and education reform. She is the former budget director of the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations, served as a strategic planner with the Chicago Public Schools and was a consultant with Ernst & Young. Steans has received numerous awards, including the Legislator of the Year Award from AARP, the Richard Phelan Profile in Courage Award from Planned Parenthood, the Legislative Recovery Award from Trilogy, and the Equality Illinois Freedom Award.
Heather Steans and her husband Leo have three children and have lived in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago for 25 years.