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.
After organizing the Grayslake community against massive over development that would have taxed the local infrastructure and school system, Melinda opened a small business and formed the Grayslake’s Downtown Merchant’s Association fighting for downtown revitalization.
The land she fought to preserve as open land land is now the Rollins Savanna – where Melinda served on the design committee. The Rollins Savanna is the second largest forest preserve in Lake County and a top birding site in Illinois.
In 2008, Melinda felt her community was being underrepresented and ran to advocate for her neighbors on the Lake County Board. Working with local business leaders, Melinda brought the FedEx Facility to Grayslake and 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.
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. 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 currently serves as Chair of the Senate’s Environment & Conservation committee.
She lives in Grayslake with her husband, Andy. Her son, Chris Willen, is a professional fly fisherman based out of Hayward, Wisconsin.