Melinda Bush was born and raised in Lake County, the oldest of six brothers and sisters in a working class family. She moved to Grayslake when she was eight years old.
Melinda always felt a pull towards public service, believing we need more elected officials who would put people first.
As a concerned resident she organized the Grayslake community against massive over-development that would have taxed the local infrastructure and school system. The land she fought to preserve is now the Rollins Savanna – the second largest forest preserve in Lake County and a top birding site in Illinois.
Melinda also opened a small business and formed the Grayslake’s Downtown Merchant’s Association, fighting for downtown revitalization.
In 2008, Melinda believed her community was being underrepresented and ran to advocate for her neighbors on the Lake County Board. Working with local business leaders, Melinda brought hundreds of jobs to Lake County. She also won the first of what would become a series of historic ethics reforms throughout her time as a public servant, creating important levels of transparency and accountability at the County and Forest Preserve Boards. She remained a leader in land preservation efforts and served on the Forest Preserve’s Land Acquisition Committee
In 2012, Melinda decided to take her passion for public service and reform to Springfield, becoming Lake County’s State Senator for the 31st District. Since her election, Senator Bush has become one of the most active legislators in the State of Illinois, fighting tooth and nail to pass laws that make a real impact in Lake County. Melinda counts historic victories on reproductive rights, ethylene oxide regulation, combating the opioid epidemic, gender equality, good government, and preventing sexual harassment among her proudest accomplishments in Springfield. She currently serves as chair of the Illinois Senate’s Environment & Conservation Committee.
Back home, she’s held hundreds of constituent service events (including two job fairs a year) and thousands of constituent meetings – several of which have produced legislation later passed into law.
Melinda lives in Grayslake with her husband, Andy. Her son, Chris Willen, is a professional fly fisherman in Northwestern Wisconsin.