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Melissa Bean

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 8th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Phil Crane

Born January 22, 1962 (1962-01-22) (age 48)
Chicago, Illinois
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Alan Bean
Residence Palatine Township, Illinois
Alma mater Roosevelt University
Occupation Saleswoman
Religion Serbian Orthodox

Melissa Luburić Bean (born on January 22, 1962), American politician, has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 2004, representing Illinois's 8th congressional district. The district includes parts of the northwest Chicago suburbs of Hoffman Estates, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Gurnee, Palatine, Mundelein, Zion, Barrington, McHenry, and Woodstock.

Bean graduated from Roosevelt University and lives in unincorporated Palatine Township (in the nearby 10th congressional district) with her husband and two children. Prior to her election to Congress, she was president of a home-based business, Sales Resources Inc., which counted many Fortune 1000 companies as clients.[1]


Congressional races



In 2002, Bean ran against 33-year 8th District Republican incumbent Phil Crane. She charged that Crane, once a leader of conservative forces in the House, had become a "do-nothing" Congressman. Her campaign focus was on lobbyist-funded trips that he had taken. She lost, but gained 43% of the vote. This was unexpected since she had received almost no funding from the national party. The 8th had historically been the most Republican district in the Chicago area, and by some accounts was the most Republican district in all of Illinois. Bean's performance was even more notable since the 8th had reportedly been redrawn to protect Crane.


Bean sought a rematch against Crane in the 2004. During the campaign, Bean raised almost as much money as Crane, mostly from individual donors, whereas Crane's money came mostly from political action committees. Her surprising performance in the previous election led the national party to pump a large amount of money into her campaign. Bean was endorsed by the Daily Herald, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times--the three major newspapers in her district.

Faced with having to actually campaign for what was previously thought to be a safe seat, the Republicans tried their best to keep Crane in office. However, on November 2, 2004, Bean defeated Crane with 52% of the vote. Although George W. Bush won the district with 56% of the vote — the largest margin of any district in the state — Bean was helped by US Senate candidate Barack Obama, who carried the district. She is the first Democrat to represent the district since its formation in 1935. (The district was numbered the 10th District from 1935 to 1949, the 13th from 1949 to 1973, the 12th from 1973 to 1993 and has been the 8th since 1993.)[1]


In 2006, Bean's seat was seen by Republicans as vulnerable to takeover due to her freshman status and the 8th district's historical Republican tilt at every level. As mentioned above, George W. Bush carried the district fairly easily in 2004, Most of the district's state representatives and state senators were Republicans. Bean's reelection was also a top priority of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Bean faced the winner of a competitive six-candidate Republican primary, David McSweeney, in the 2006 general election. As in 2004, Bean was endorsed by all three of the major newspapers in her district. She defeated McSweeney, 51% to 44%.


Bean decisively defeated her 2008 opponent, businessman Steve Greenberg[2]. Although she was one of forty-four Democrats in the House who voted to condemn the group for their controversial "General Betray-us" ad in 2007, he has criticized her for accepting over $80,000 in campaign donations from them three years earlier.[3] [4] [5] Bean defeated Greenberg, 60% to 40%.


She will face Republican activist Joe Walsh in the general election.

Popular culture

Bean was referred to in NBC's Parks and Recreation, in the episode "Boy's Club."


Bean is a moderate Democrat, at least by Chicago-area Democratic standards. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition. She occasionally votes with Republicans on economic issues; but, on social issues, tends to vote more with her party. She supported the majority Democratic position 89.2% of the time in the 110th Congress.

Bean has opposed President Bush's troop "surge" in Iraq. In a February 2006 speech given before the surge had been fully implemented, Bean said, "regrettably, this surge does not constitute a new course."

Among her departures from the Democrats was her vote in May 2006 to extend about $70 billion in tax cuts (she was one of just 15 Democrats to back the legislation), her vote to permanently reduce the estate tax, and her vote in favor of a presidential line-item veto. Similarly, she is one of only 15 Democrats to vote in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) [6].

Bean supports government-funded abortions, and opposed a bill that would may have allowed for drilling for oil in Lake Michigan which is a large source of drinking water for her district. [7]

In the 110th Congress, Bean served as the chairwoman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Tax, Finance and Exports. She is also a member of the Financial Services Committee. Normally, House Democrats who serve on the Financial Services Committee can't serve on any other committee. However, Bean was granted a waiver by the Democratic leadership.

Committee assignments

Electoral history

Illinois's 8th congressional district: Results 2002–2008[8]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Melissa L. Bean 70,626 43% Philip M. Crane 95,275 57% *
2004 Melissa L. Bean 139,792 52% Philip M. Crane 130,601 48%
2006 Melissa L. Bean 93,355 51% David McSweeney 80,720 44% Bill Scheurer Moderate 8,502 5% *
2008 Melissa L. Bean 146,563 60% Steve Greenberg 97,931 40%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, Chuck Kelecic received 25 votes. In 2006, minor candidates received 817 votes.


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Phil Crane
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by


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