Ross Outten was born and raised on Long Island, NY, and has lived in Chicago almost his entire adult life. Ross is a chef by training – and former owner of Dolce Casa Café – with a twenty year career in hospitality. He currently works as Director of Development at the Friendship Center, a food pantry serving over 1,700 of our neighbors who are struggling with food insecurity every month on Chicago's Northwest side. He and his wife, Lori, have owned a home for ten years in the Lincoln Square/Ravenswood neighborhood, and are lucky to share it with their dog and two cats.
Running for committeeman in the 5th district is a challenge Ross took on because he believes that before Democrats can defeat Donald Trump and the radical, right wing agenda of the Republican party, they must first make substantive changes and reforms to their own processes and platform. He is proud to join with Melissa Lindberg and committee-person candidates all over Illinois who are standing up for progressive values and vital party reforms.
The 5th district, in particular, is a great place to start: Bernie won big with voters there during the 2016 primary race. Yet despite the strong base of support turned out by the Sanders campaign, the district is represented, at the State Central Committee level, by Cynthia M. Santos and John Cullerton – two rubber stamp votes for status quo leadership and dominance of Mike Madigan over our state party apparatus.
No one committee-person can, by themselves, change the direction of the Democratic party in Illinois. Achieving that goal will require the sustained effort and commitment of a great many people, working together towards a common vision. Ross believes deeply in the vision for the Democratic party and our nation's future laid out by Sen. Sanders during his campaign: a revolution in our broken political system, a restructuring of our rigged economy, and a recognition of the dignity and equality of all people. That's the future Ross is fighting for, and that's what a reformed and energized Democratic party will stand for in Illinois once our slate of progressive State Central Committee candidates arrives in Springfield.