Illinois Staff

Jessica Handy

Government Affairs Director

Jessica’s professional endeavors have focused on improving the structures and systems which shape lives.

As Stand’s Government Affairs Director -- a job she loves and has held since 2010 -- Jessica helps set the policy priorities for Stand Illinois and direct its political strategy. She heads Stand’s Springfield office and manages its legislative affairs and lobbying. She has helped champion significant policies, including ending the inequitable practice of pulling Title I dollars away from classrooms of low-income students and enacting a new, evidence-based school funding formula. Jessica is an appointed member of the Illinois Professional Review Panel (to review the new school funding model), the State Assessment Review Committee, and the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council. She has played a lead role in several policy reports and frequently testifies at the state Capitol.

Before joining Stand, Jessica spent five years in a variety of capacities for the Illinois Senate Democrats, including as their Policy and Budget Analyst for the Education and Pension Committees.

Jessica has a B.A. in Spanish and history from Millikin University and is on her way to earning her master’s degree in history from the University of Illinois. She is an avid baker and past winner of the Springfield Museum’s annual gingerbread decorating contest. Her cake decorating prowess was featured in the must-see “A Better Recipe” video in which she co-starred and co-produced. Inspired by the support that her parents provided when she was a teen-mom and the joy of raising her amazing, now young-adult daughter, Jessica is fostering a teen-mom who has two young children.

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