Joan McCarthy Lasonde for Congress 2016


This was the official website for Joan McCarthy Lasonde, a Republican who in 2016 was running against the incumbant Jan Schakowsky, for the right to represent Illinois 9th District.
Content is from the site's 2016 archived pages.

Jan Schakowsky ultimately defeated Joan Lasonde in 9th Congressional District Race.

2018 Update: Joan McCarthy Lasonde ran unopposed in the Illinois State Senate District 9 Republican primary election. She wil be running in the Illinois State Senate District 9 general election in 2018 against Laura Fine (D).

Her current campaign website is found at:


Joan not Jan

The choice is clear.

If there’s anything I’ve learned campaigning full time over this past year it’s that the Ninth District in Illinois is not properly represented in Congress. Jan Schakowsky, my opponent, simply does not hold the same views as our people hold.

Our differences are as clear as they are profound. Now, it’s time for you to choose. Please take a look at my summary below, and please vote to send me to the United States House of Representatives.

My differences from Jan Schakowsky couldn’t be starker. Here they are. You decide.
The choice is clear. It’s time to vote for Joan.


I’m running for Congress because I want to turn America’s national priorities towards the following:

  • Economic growth and opportunity — a tax code and that promotes employment and expansion, and a regulatory system that makes cost/benefit sense.
  • Security — enforcing our borders and executing a strong, coherent strategy for national security and homeland safety.
  • Restoring a friendly relationship with Israel and unequivocal commitment to its safety.
  • Limited government — measuring the success of social programs by how many are lifted out, not added in.


lasonde family

I’ve lived most of my life in the Ninth District.I was born in Rogers Park and grew up in Skokie, one of the most diverse communities in the District. Both of my parents were Chicago Public School Teachers.

I’m one of the founding members of the Policy Circle, a women-run non-profit organization focused on educating everyday Americans on state and federal policy issues including education, healthcare, taxes, pensions, and unfunded liabilities. I’ve worked on numerous political campaigns, and was an officer at the New Trier Republican Organization.

I’m a member of the board of directors of the Illinois State Crime Commission, focused on human trafficking and the heroin epidemic. In Wilmette, where I live, I’ve been very active in the community, volunteering at my daughters’ schools, including being a Girl Scout Troop leader and a PREP teacher at Saint Francis Xavier school. I was on the Board at Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association and the League of Women Voters, Wilmette. My husband and I are licensed by DCFS, and I’m a strong advocate for all children.

I am a working mother with over 25 years professional experience. I am also a foster mom, and have learned firsthand the horrors of life that foster children have — and how our government has failed them. I will fight to correct those failures — to set government in the right direction for all our children, but, especially those born into hardship, as my foster daughter was.

After I graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, I moved to LA and joined Circus Vargas, the World’s largest traveling Big Top, as Marketing Director. While in China, where I moved when my husband was relocated, I was the Editor of the Quingdao Expat Magazine, doubling the circulation and size, and wrote a successful blog called “3 China Girls,” which chronicled the lives of myself and my daughters. The Chinese government often shut down my blog for exposing the truth of what life was really like there for the poorest and most vulnerable.

lasonde family



"Although I'm currently registered to vote in Louisiana, I was born and raised, and my family resides in Illinois, so I feel I have a stake in this campaign. I work as a paralegal for a law firm specializing in maritime law in and around the ports along the Louisiana coast - I work very closely with a practicing attorney helping workers injured on jobs working for large corporations, and so I am daily confronted with the absolute need for principled and just legal standards. I have known about Joan's qualifications and positions since she first started her campaign, and sincerely believe she has our interests at heart and will put in the energy needed to make our government more responsive to our needs." Josh Martin




Pro-Women, Pro-Children

Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land since 1973, and I will not attempt to overturn that decision. As a woman and mother of teenage daughters, I will always support a woman’s right to choose and, more importantly, her privacy. I believe this issue is a personal, private matter for families, not the Federal Government and my personal view is that abortion should be extremely rare, though safe and legal.

I do not believe this is the most pressing issue of the day.  I do support programs educating young adults on these issues.

I believe states have the right to institute reasonable restrictions on abortions, including banning late-term and partial-birth abortions and mandating parental notification for minors.  Those are state and U.S. Supreme Court issues, however.

I support continuation of the Hyde Amendment, the provision banning the use of federal funds for abortion. I am not opposed to a fair investigation of Planned Parenthood, but such an investigation should focus only on whether laws were broken.

I do not agree with shutting down the government over an issue like funding Planned Parenthood.


Transportation and Infrastructure

The region’s economy will continue to rely on a strong transportation network.

I am a big supporter of public transportation, which is particularly vital in our Ninth Congressional District. Thirty five years ago, I started taking public transportation to high school every day. And now, my oldest daughter takes public transportation to high school. Reliable, clean, safe public transportation around Chicagoland is key to our entire economy.

Moreover, providing that transportation at a reasonable cost is personally critical for the working poor and middle class. I will fight hard to restore and maintain Federal support for public transportation infrastructure in our district, which is crumbling.

I will also demand that local transit agencies, like Pace, Metra and the CTA are held accountable for the disgraceful mismanagement that has plagued all three agencies at times. The agencies must be able to maintain and operate the equipment they have before investing in ambitious projects that are impractical.

Chicago remains the national intersection for interstate rail yet that system, too, is overloaded, resulting in unreliable passenger rail service, costly delays in freight delivery and interruptions with vehicle traffic and rail-street crossings. I will work to find a resolution to that growing issue.

Finally, O’Hare International Airport is a crown jewel in our economy because it is essential to our position as an international business center. The current airport expansion must be modified if necessary to ensure the airport functions as efficiently as possible. Federal money appropriately supports O’Hare, and I will fight to ensure proper funding.


The Second Amendment

Congress cannot change the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment — the right to defend of one’s self, family and property is fundamental.

However, consistent with that, I strongly support universal background checks and restrictions on certain assault weapons. I also support mandatory minimum sentences for firearm crimes, including carrying a concealed firearm without a permit.

I support the concept of President Obama’s recent executive order on background checks, though I believe it should have been accomplished through legislation.


National Security

The world today is far more dangerous than most of us have ever seen in our lifetimes. We have no choice, despite our budget problems, but to invest in a defense force of unmatched capability. We must ensure that our troops are equipped with the finest technology and capable of rapid deployment against a variety of threats. Our position of strength cannot be lost.

We should limit on-the-ground troop deployments and avoid nation-building and involvement in disputes we cannot hope to resolve, many of which are growing in the Middle East. We need to aggressively respond against ISIS but without significant numbers of American troops on the ground in Syria, Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East. Destroying ISIS as a nation state does require infantry in large numbers, but they must be supplied by neighboring Arab states – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and others. It is essential that we obtain their full commitment to this effort because air strikes and other support by the U.S. and its allies will have little effect otherwise. With poor execution, we are at risk of merely dispersing ISIS fighters, not destroying them. For far too long, the United States has paid an unfairly large portion of our allies’ defense budget.

We must be mindful that the United States, together with our allies, face a three-front war against terrorism emanating from the Middle East. In addition to the war against ISIS, Europe faces an existential threat from mass migration of refugees, and we all face home-grown acts of terrorism sponsored or inspired by ISIS and other terrorist groups. A genuine coalition must be maintained – the U.S. cannot dictate policy alone while Europe has so much at stake in its refugee crisis.

Finally, and most importantly, Israel remains the only reliable democracy and friend in the Middle East. Our relationship with it has primacy. Boycotting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress by some members of Congress, including Jan Schakowsky, was profoundly wrong.

While I believe in comprehensive immigration reform including a path to normalization for those already here, our border must be made absolutely secure. We can secure the border through a host of actions, including the use of unmanned aerial patrols, construction of a physical and virtual fences, and enhanced conventional patrolling.


Income and Wealth Inequality

Income and wealth inequality is among the biggest challenges of our generation, not just in America but across most of the world. It’s causes are complex and solutions must be addressed on many fronts:

  • As the daughter of two Chicago public school teachers, I’ve believed all my life in the “the great equalizer,” as it has been called: quality public education. I regard it as a primary duty of government. Towards that end, I believe in delivering help efficiently to impoverished school districts without the need for a massive bureaucracy at the Federal level. I believe in competition in public education — school choice.
  • Some of the rich indeed escape fair taxation and their loopholes must be closed. That’s one reason why I support a flatter, simpler tax code. The code is riddled with policy oriented tax incentives that becomes loopholes. Reducing or eliminating them will broaden the tax base.
  • But Inequality is primarily a problem of the poor and middle class being too poor. It will not be solved by soaking the rich. It is not a zero sum game or a simple matter of redistribution. Robust economic growth like we’ve traditionally had in America would restore robust competition for those willing to work. That’s the best way to increase wages and the core of what I will work for.
  • Technology, most economists agree, is feeding income inequality because software and machines are replacing people. That’s partly inevitable, but it also results from the extraordinary burdens we have placed on employers. “Employee” has become a dirty word in the business world, giving rise to a long list of financial and regulatory responsibilities that scare employers into choosing technology over people.They include COBRA, paid time off, tax withholding, wrongful termination rules, paid vacation accrual, medical leave, HSAs, ADA, workers’ comp, unemployment insurance, extraordinarily complex wage and hour mandates  (though I support an increase in the minimum wage) and myriad threats of lawsuits. Each has a laudable social goal, and some must be an employer responsibility. But putting the burdens and costs on employers for everything makes no sense. I want government off the back of job-givers.

    And a little update on the point. My opponent, Jan Schakowsky, has kicked off this campaign by lying about my position on these programs, saying I want to get rid of them. I support them. It’s a question of who should bear the cost. For example, paid sick leave has broad benefits for society, and there is no fairness in making employers alone pay for it. If all society benefits than all society should pay for it, perhaps through a tax credit to reimburse employers..


Jobs and the Economy

Economists on both sides of the aisle agree: A return to rates of economic growth as high as we traditionally had is essential if we are to balance our budget and restore opportunity for good jobs. Growth therefore must be central to our tax and economic policy, and it’s the most important issue for me.

Growth requires common sense regulatory reform and simplification. Costs have to be measured against benefits, yet cost/benefit analysis rarely is applied. I’m not against regulation, but I am against job killing, and impact on employment must be considered in everything we do.

Growth also requires tax reform. Forty years ago, President Carter appropriately called the federal tax code a “disgrace to the human race,” yet it has since become drastically more complex and unfair. When used as a tool for central planning, the tax code inevitably becomes crony capitalism where the most powerful interests secure disproportionate benefit directed towards questionable policy goals. Justifiable cynicism about the tax code and the Internal Revenue Service threatens a cornerstone of government, which is taxpayer confidence that revenue is collected fairly, simply and transparently.

The tax code must be simplified. Compliance, collection, and enforcement must be made easier. By eliminating non-capital deductions and lowering rates across the board, growth and efficiency will replace tax avoidance as the drivers of economic activity.

U.S. Corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world, and that tax burden ultimately is borne by individuals — regressively. Additionally, American corporations with U.S. headquarters are penalized when they take cash earned and taxed overseas and invest it in the United States. I will work towards making our corporate tax rates more competitive and ending the penalty for repatriating earnings back to America.

Finally, the Earned Income Tax Credit has proven to be an effective tool in providing assistance to the working poor. I support its expansion.


Health Care

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, addressed important goals including elimination of preexisting condition exclusions and lifetime caps on insurance payments.  However, it did not address spiraling healthcare and its complexity is producing harsh, unintended consequences. It must be fixed. I support replacing the broken parts to control healthcare costs and putting individuals back in control of their doctors and their healthcare.

One of the biggest symptoms of the law’s failure is the dramatic dwindling of health insurance policies on the individual market. In the Ninth District, many residents are grappling with hard decisions after Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois dropped some popular PPO policies, effectively locking patients out of NorthShore University Hospitals and affiliates and Northwestern Memorial Hospitals and its affiliates, including Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Prior to the adoption of the ACA, HSAs and FSAs were two vehicles that put patients in charge of their health care. New policy should allow for a greater tax benefit for using savings accounts to pay for out-of-pocket expenses. New health care policy might also allow individuals tax benefits for purchasing health insurance, just as an employer enjoys.


Common Ground and Bipartisanship

Congress is crippled by party strategy that puts partisan games ahead of progress. Both parties are repeatedly guilty. I will have none of that.

I believe in searching hard to identify where my principles are on common ground with my opponents’, and I will seize that ground to move forward wherever possible.

I will cross my party when necessary. My loyalty is to my country and to the voters of the Ninth Congressional District. In particular, I will not use this seat to push extreme views or threaten government shutdowns absent grave national interests.


News & Press

Proud to have the Chicago Tribune’s endorsement!

“We like Lasonde’s energy and focus,” says the Tribune. “She gets our endorsement.”

I’m grateful to the Tribune not just for giving me the endorsement, but for giving it for the right reasons. They’ve longed for a “legitimate challenger who sees our federal debt crisis as a drag on economic growth,” they wrote. “This year there is such a Republican on the ballot: Joan McCarthy Lasonde.”

They added, 

Some of what Lasonde has learned about bureaucratic failings comes from being a foster parent who confronts the incompetence and ineffectiveness of the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services. “Government is too big and not flexible,” she tells us. “We need to help our own.”

That’s indeed what I’m about. That’s why I’m running. That’s my commitment. We will help our own. We’ll do it by restoring opportunity and growth, and we’ll make the welfare and security of our own people Job 1.

Read the rest of the endorsement linked here, and please vote! The headlines are consumed by the presidential election, but there’s much more at stake in November. It’s a chance for a new voice in Congress who truly represents the Ninth District. I will be that new voice. I want your vote!



“Joan believes in finding solutions to our nation’s problems, because she is results-oriented. She has worked within her community to help those who are struggling – to positively impact people’s lives. Her willingness to bridge differences and bring people together has made her effective in her community. I am happy to endorse Joan McCarthy Lasonde for Illinois’ 9th Congressional District.”  ~Paul Ryan, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

“Joan Lasonde is the rare political candidate who was a pillar of her community before entering the political arena. She has found business success locally and internationally creating opportunities for others in so doing. She has lived a life of service to others while raising a beautiful family. 

“Lasonde represents a refreshing change in attitude to the political ruling class of professional politicians who rule rather than represent.

“Lasonde is a principled fiscal watchdog who will make sure tax dollars are spent to advance the interests of her 9th District constituents and assist vulnerable persons, like those with disabilities, who are truly in need.

“She is a thoughtful, cheerful, engaging leader who dispenses with partisan labels in pursuit of aligning the federal government with the interests of 9th District families.” ~Dan Proft, Radio Talk Show Host

“I met Joan through her work at the Illinois State Crime Commission and while working on our campaigns.

“You will not find a more qualified, dedicated, and hard working candidate than Joan. Throughout her professional career and personal life, she has consistently given back to her community in many ways.

“Joan is not a “politics as usual” candidate and would truly make a difference for the citizens of her district.

She is a bright and up and coming star that would be a welcome addition to Washington. I am honored to endorse Joan McCarthy Lasonde for Congress.” ~David Studenroth, Candidate for Judge


460 Winnetka Ave, Suite 1
Winnetka, IL 60093