William McNary has been called one of the most electrifying and inspirational speakers of our time. He is the Co-Director for Citizen Action/Illinois, the state’s largest public interest organization working on an ambitious agenda that includes the fight for workers’ rights, advancing public education funding, utility rate and insurance rate reform, environmental safety and protecting consumers from unfair predatory loan practices. He previously served as the Legislative Director for Citizen Action/Illinois.
He is the Legislative Chair of the Responsible Budget Coalition, a coalition dedicated to making the Illinois tax structure fairer in order to provide the revenues needed to create jobs, educate our children, and provide for health care, human services and public safety.
One of the nation’s leading advocates for health care reform, McNary was one of the founding members of Health Care for America Now!, the largest national grassroots health care coalition which led to the successful passage of the national Affordable Care Act that was signed into law by President Obama.
McNary has been appointed by two Illinois governors, the Illinois Attorney General, the Cook County Board President and other state constitutional officers to serve on several state boards, task forces and transition teams. Most recently, Treasurer Mike Frerichs appointed McNary to serve on his transition team where he advocates using state funds to incentivize banks and lending institutions that serve economically challenged urban and rural areas.
McNary served as the founding president of USAction, one of the nation’s largest coalitions of progressive grassroots organizations. He served as a surrogate speaker for President Barack Obama in his first run for President. He was also elected as an Obama delegate and served as Illinois Convention Floor Whip at the Denver Democratic Convention in 2008.
McNary served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Public Campaign, an organization that promoted public financing of elections to fix a broken campaign finance system. He was appointed by former Governor Pat Quinn to serve on the Illinois Task Force for Campaign Finance Reform.
He currently serves on the board of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability an organization that promotes tax fairness. He also serves on the board of the Voter Participation Center, an organization that empowers unmarried women, people of color and other underrepresented groups to participate in the democratic process. He also serves on the board of the Environmental Law and Policy Center which promotes environmental progress through economic development and jobs.
Since 1996, McNary has worked with the Rainbow/Push Coalition where he co-directs targeted voter registration and “Get Out the Vote” campaign efforts.
Julie is the Co-Director of Citizen Action/Illinois. Previously she was a Regional Field Director for USAction, a national organization of 22 state affiliates organizing for power, democracy and social change. Julie has also served as Legislative Director and Policy Director of Citizen Action/Illinois, and on the staff of U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone. She holds an A.M. in Social Administration from the University of Chicago, a B.A. in International Studies from American University and served in the Peace Corps in Thailand. Julie lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters but welcomes any opportunity to use her several foreign languages, at home or abroad, with a preference for beachfront locales.