Sue and her family’s journey is a classic example of the American Dream. Both Sue and her husband, Keith, grew up in families of modest means.
Sue grew up on a small family farm by Geneseo, Illinois where her father, Ken Schipper, farmed a humble 200 acres. Keith grew up in Lindenhurst, and his father was a carpenter.
Sue’s mother, Donna, was a strong example in her life. Her mom drove a school bus to help make ends meet. When Sue was in middle school, her mother went back to college, studied hard and became a teacher. In the early 1980s, Sue remembers her mother typing a lengthy application as part of the nationwide competition to become the first teacher to be an astronaut on the space shuttle.
Her mom went on to become a school principal, and later after attending graduate classes at night, became a superintendent. Her mom’s example showed Sue that regardless of one’s age or background, anyone can achieve their dreams.
Sue went to Augustana College, where she met her husband, Keith. They have now been married 34 years and have four adult children. After paying his own way through college and medical school, Keith went on to become an orthopedic surgeon.
As a graduate of Augustana College, Sue earned a degree in International Business and Political Science with a minor in Hispanic Studies. For the past 20 years, Sue helped manage her and Keith’s investments in commercial real estate.
In the 1990s, Sue won election to serve on the Nettle Creek School Board. In 2010, she challenged incumbent Democrat State Representative Careen Gordon and defeated her in a tough Tier One race. Sue has since won reelection as State Senator three times — two of which were also Tier One competitive races. As a State Senator, she serves as the Deputy Minority Leader.
Sue is also a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.
Sue’s family success story was made possible by education, hard work, and the bountiful opportunities for the middle class in our country. Those opportunities are now under threat from both misguided domestic policies and tough international challenges.