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If you’re a little rusty on your definition of the word motivated, look up Alexandra Eidenberg up in the dictionary. This Chicago small business owner is currently actively campaigning for Illinois’ fourth congressional district – while running her own small business - while nine months pregnant…with twins.

I spoke with Eidenberg about what she plans to change about this nation’s political climate and why Illinois needs an outspoken woman to give it its voice back.

What inspired you to run for Congress?

I’ve been a small business owner for the past nine years and I noticed that whenever there was a legislation or tax change, it hurt me. With the importance of small businesses in creating local jobs and community growth, I never understood why small businesses would always be the ones to take the biggest hit.

I began thinking about running for office when I looked at the small business sector of elected officials and there were no small business owners on any of these committees – and specifically no women business owners. How were these elected officials ever going to make responsible decisions that impacted our community when we didn’t have a voice at the table?

I knew I wanted to serve and represent small business owners and women, but I decided to run for Congress in the Illinois 4th district after taking the time to become very familiar with our long-term incumbent Congressman’s positions on several issues important to me and my community. After seeing those in black and white, I knew our families and our small businesses deserved a better choice.

 

 

What led you to the small business world?

My parents are both entrepreneurs, and I got my degree from Columbia College in Small Business Entrepreneurship. As soon as I graduated I headed for the corporate world.

I was not planning to open my own company. I didn’t like the uncertainty of small business—the ups and downs were not for me. I threw myself into my job and was climbing the corporate ladder when I got burned at my job. That’s when I took a step back and reevaluated the big picture; my parents were always happy, and my parents were able to get back what they put in to their businesses, which is not something you can always say when you work for someone else.

What is the hardest thing about juggling your pregnancy and your career?

First of all I have to say that I couldn’t do it without a fantastic team – starting with my amazing husband at home and my terrific staff at my office. But the hardest part is definitely not being in control of my own body – that’s a new one for me. Pregnancy has it’s challenges, for sure, but I cannot wait until the twins get here—I’m looking forward to the new challenges of motherhood and am completely confident in my ability to juggle my family and my career. 

 

 

What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs?

Three things: firstly, surround yourself with the right people. Hire the right CPA, the right lawyer and the right insurance agent. Without a great team behind you, it will be difficult to run your business safely.

Secondly, pick the right strategic partner. That’s crucial. Collaborate with people that are interested in the same target markets and that you know will make good business partners.

And finally, just be you. Women often hold back in business, but the biggest thing anyone has to offer is being themselves.

Why should you win this Congress seat?

If we want to change what’s coming out of Washington we have to change who we send to represent us. It’s time we had more small businesses owners and more women making the decisions impacting our families and our communities. Beyond being a normal, common-sense person born and raised in Chicago – like so many of us, I approach the challenges facing Chicago, Illinois and the rest of our country from a pretty conservative fiscal angle.

As a business owner I look at the way our nation is spending money and think, “If this were a business nobody would ever sign off on these budgets.” If our country were a company, we’d be running it into the ground.

I’m not running for Congress out of ego or to push a specific agenda. I’m naturally a consensus builder and a listener. If I’m lucky enough to earn the support and votes of Chicago families, my job will be to take their values and their dreams to Washington, period. I know the thought that our member of Congress is supposed to be our community’s voice is a little antiquated and old-fashioned to some. But I believe that’s only because we’ve allowed long-term incumbent politicians to convince us of that.

We should have someone fighting to create more good jobs, not their own job. We should have someone dedicated to moving all Chicago families and businesses forward – not one political agenda. I think that’s completely possible, and I’m looking forward to spending the next year reminding Chicagoans that we can achieve anything we set our minds to.

 

 

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