Mark Calonder Bio

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Although I have lived a number of places, my roots are in the 10th District where my ancestors immigrated in 1890 and where I call home today. Chicago is one of the finest cities in the world and we need to ensure that the city and state that attracted so many in years past remains a leader in all the right categories. Today, Illinois leads the nation in unemployment, taxes, unfunded pension liability and debt and we need to change that.

As a business owner, I know how to get things done and bring people together. I learned the value of a good work ethic and the importance of giving back from my parents. My father spent his career teaching in the Chicago Public Schools, often in the most troubled districts. My mother worked part time at a drug store and spent the rest of her time raising five kids and volunteering at the local schools. They created an environment where I and my siblings were expected to contribute, work hard in school and enjoy life. We learned to value and enjoy the simple things in life.

I knew early on that I wanted to go to college and I made that happen without having to burden my parents with the cost. I made that happen by working hard and saving my own money. Taking that initiative to my first job as a sales person at MCI, I won a number of sales awards and was ultimately the Salesperson of the Year. When asked about the secret of my success, I responded that there is no secret, just hard work and doing the right thing. I live by that philosophy today and will take it to Springfield as the 10th District Representative.

Of the challenges I set for myself, one was to own my own business. I have been able to accomplish this goal and this experience highlights the need for better leadership in Springfield. Managing my own business and working with clients to set up telephone and computer systems, I have experienced firsthand the complexities and uncertainties of doing business in Illinois. I know I can do better.

I will apply the same values and life skills that helped me succeed in business to make a difference for the 10th District and Illinois.

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