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Colleen Callahan

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Colleen Callahan

Colleen Callahan is an agribusiness news reporter and Illinois Director of USDA Rural Development. She was the Democratic nominee for Illinois' 18th congressional district in 2008.

Callahan grew up on a farm near Milford, Illinois and graduated as salutatorian from Milford Township High School in May 1969.[1][2] After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1973, she moved to Peoria to work for WMBD (AM)[3] until 2005.[2] She was also the agribusiness reporter for WMBD-TV and WCIA from 1974 to 1997.[2]

In 2003, she went on a study trip[2] to Afghanistan and Iraq, paid for at her own expense, at the invitation of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.[3] She started her own business, Colleen Callahan Communications, in 2003. At the beginning of 2003, she changed employers from WMBD in Peoria to WGFA (AM) in Watseka, Illinois; she has been agribusiness director at both stations.[2]

In 2008, she ran for U.S. Representative for Illinois' 18th congressional district, a seat open by the retirement of Ray LaHood. She won the Democratic nomination, but lost the November 4 general election to Republican Aaron Schock, 59% to 38%, with 3% going to Sheldon Schafer.[4]

On 13 June 2009, Callahan began work as United States Department of Agriculture Illinois State Director of Rural Development.[5]

Callahan and her husband Dick Burns live on a farm near Kickapoo, Illinois, between Brimfield, Illinois and Peoria, where they raise purebred Angus cattle.[1][3] They have a grown daughter who is a practicing attorney in Chicago.[3]

Civic participation

Callahan has served on the boards of many local organizations, including:

She has also served as a member of the St. Francis Medical Center Women's Health Services Public Relations Committee, and is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Callahan has been heavily involved in the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB), was its first female president, and was chairman of the NAFB Ethics Committee.[1][3] She has also been active in local Catholic schools, serving on the education board at St. Mary's grade school in Kickapoo and assisting Peoria Notre Dame High School.[1]

Her family has long been active in Illinois politics. Her father, Fran Callahan, was Iroquois County Democratic Chair. Her grandfather, Joe Callahan, was an Illinois State Representative. Her uncle, Gene Callahan, was the Administrative Assistant and Press Secretary for Lieutenant Governor Paul Simon (before he became a United States Senator) and Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Alan Dixon.[3]

See also

References

External links

  • Colleen Callahan for Congress — official campaign website
    • Colleen Callahan's blog
    • YouTube
  • Project Vote Smart
  • Federal Election Commission
  • OpenSecrets.org
  • DMOZ
  • Colleen Callahan Communications — business website
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