Amanda's Story

Amanda Howland’s life is dedicated to planting and cultivating seeds of change. While Peter Roskam sows seeds of indifference, Amanda is listening to and fighting for her neighbors.

When no one else would stand against Roskam in 2016, she rose to the challenge and ran a progressive campaign. It is never easy to beat an entrenched incumbent, and she knew it would take a commitment of running twice to beat him. Her decision to run for this seat in 2018 was based on the needs of the people, not political opportunity.

Amanda Howland is a progressive Democratic candidate for the United States House of Representatives from the Sixth District of Illinois in 2018. She is a civil rights attorney, cancer survivor, Democratic activist, and former special education teacher and elementary school principal in Northern Illinois. She currently serves as a Trustee on the College of Lake County Board.

Amanda was raised by a single mom in Detroit, and grew up with deep admiration for the American Dream. As a teenager, Amanda often heard others say that girls don’t need to go to college, but she knew that education would bring her new opportunities and help her better fight for others. Since Amanda didn’t want another girl to ever be told what her limits should be, Amanda became a teacher. Amanda’s mom worked for GM, and her stepfather was a general manager for Ford. She lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil during junior high school when her stepfather was transferred to South America to work on a special project. While in Brazil, she attended Escola Graduada de Sao Paulo and still speaks conversational Portuguese. Amanda credits her lifelong love of learning about people and cultures different from her own to this period of her life.

Back in Michigan, Amanda attended Bloomfield Hills Andover High School, where she was active in both sports and the arts throughout her four years in school. She was a member of five athletic teams in high school – field hockey, volleyball, softball, swimming, and lacrosse – and notes often how important it is to make sure that girls have the opportunities to be active, like she had. As a teenager, Amanda often heard others say that girls don’t need to go to college, but she knew that education would bring her new opportunities and help her better fight for others.

Amanda graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in special education and psychology, and then received a Master of Arts in psychology from Michigan State University.  She moved to Illinois to work with the Special Education District of Lake County to help set up a behavior disordered school program at Allendale School for Boys.  After moving to Crystal Lake, Amanda was hired by Special Education District of McHenry County and taught behavior disordered/emotionally disturbed students at North Junior High.

Later Amanda earned her Masters of Science in Educational Administration from Northern Illinnois University. She was hired by Elgin District U-46 as soon as she completed her degree and served as an administrator at Eastview Elementary School in Bartlett, where she ensured educational prosperity for students at the largest elementary school in Illinois.

During her years as an educator and administrator Amanda witnessed selfish politicians favor special interests over their hard-working constituents. Her drive to make positive change and her passion for serving others led Amanda to leave education to pursue a career as an attorney. She attended Chicago-Kent College of Law and quickly dove headfirst into student life. During her first year, Amanda was elected as Student Bar Association representative by her class section, and in her second year, was elected by the entire student body to serve as treasurer of the Student Bar and in her third year, Amanda was honored to be elected by the student body to serve as president of the Student Bar Association. In her role as president, Amanda oversaw all Kent student bar activities and served as liaison between Kent faculty and students. Amanda was also active in moot court while at Kent, and won the Charles Evans Hughes all school moot court competition.  In her second year she won best oralist in the Saul Lefkowitz Regional Trademark Competition and went to Washington D.C. to argue before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, en banc, finishing second in the national competition.  She competed regionally again in her third year and won best oralist.

After graduating from Kent and passing the Bar, Judge Allen Sharp hired Amanda as his judicial law clerk in South Bend, Indiana. She stayed with Judge Sharp for almost four years before returning to Chicago to help a newly-appointed magistrate judge set up her courtroom. Amanda’s prolific legal career also includes time spent with the Children’s Law Group in Chicago, as well as consulting and contract positions with other firms.

Her thirst for democratic change led Amanda to volunteer for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in 2004 where she began in the Chicago finance office and later became a surrogate speaker. Amanda traveled the state to speak on then-Senator Kerry’s behalf. Amanda knew that then that it was important to fight for Democratic values, and since Amanda is licensed to argue before the Supreme Court, she was a valuable asset whenever the topic of SCOTUS nominees arose at campaign events. During election week in 2004, Amanda served as an election protection attorney in Toledo, Ohio, where she monitored polling places to ensure a free and fair election.

Amanda’s political career has since blossomed. Amanda has volunteered for countless Democratic, including for Representative Melissa Bean, Senator Duckworth, and President Obama. Amanda is active in many local Democratic groups, and is grateful to have been able to help elect local, state, and national officials who truly care about their constituents.

Amanda is not new to running for office. In 2006, Amanda was asked to run for State Representative in a heavily Republican district, and managed to raise over $135,000 on her own.  As a first time candidate she earned over 45% of the vote.   In 2009, Amanda won a seat on the College of Lake County Board of Trustees (where she continues to serve today). During the last two years of her first term, Amanda was elected board chairman. As a Trustee, Amanda collaborates with other board members to oversee all financial aspects of the college including voting on capital expenditures and overseeing day-to-day operations and business expenses.  Under Amanda’s leadership, the board added a new building to the Grayslake Campus, a science building with labs to the Vernon Hills Campus, added solar panels and geothermal grids to college buildings, and purchased a distressed land in Waukegan that will soon be a one-stop center for many programs. Currently, she and the Board are working to hire a new college president.   

In 2015, constituents and leaders in Illinois asked Amanda to run for Congress, and once again, she stepped up when no one else would.  She went on to challenge Peter Roskam in the 2016 general election. Local Democratic stakeholders knew that Amanda was the right person to take on a Republican who simply was and is not representing his constituents well. Even though she was outspent 30-to-1 and had only one full-time staffer, Amanda received 41% of the vote. This cycle, Amanda is thrilled to have a full team of dedicated staff, and plans to take back IL-06 for the people.

Professionally, Amanda is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association. She currently sits on the ISBA Judicial Evaluation Committee and has previously served on the ISBA Intellectual Property and Education committees. She is a longtime member of the Lake County and DuPage Democratic Organizations, Illinois 6th Democrats, Illinois 10th Congressional District Democrats, and the Illinois Democratic Women. She is also a member of the Illinois State High School Association and the Illinois State High School Gymnastics Judges Association

After the 2016 election, Amanda was diagnosed with Chromophobe renal carcinoma and lost her right kidney. Navigating the complex world of healthcare coverage as a cancer patient strengthened Amanda’s resolve to fight harder than ever for universal single-payer healthcare. Amanda’s six month check up was cancer-free, but she knew that this wasn’t the time to back off from politics – her perspective as a survivor could only add to her abilities as an advocate in Congress.

Outside of work and politics, Amanda is active in various philanthropic initiatives in her community. She supports the annual American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk, helped launch the Afterschool Coalition with the Mundelein Police Department to prevent drinking and driving, and has been an active member of the Caring Women’s Connection for fifteen years. She also trained with the Lake Zurich fire department’s Citizen Action team which is on call to support first responders in the event of a major crisis.

Amanda is a longtime gymnastics judge through the Illinois High School Gymnastics Judges Association, and travels throughout the state to judge each winter. Amanda loves to play tennis and golf, garden, travel and learn new things. She loves animals of all sorts, and enjoys spending time at home with her husband and their cats.

Grow the Movement

Howland For Congress 2018

PO Box 364
Lake Zurich, IL 60047


Phone: 312-218-4992