Five questions with Rep. Anne Zerr, R-St. Charles
1. What was your first campaign experience?
I began to get involved in initiatives in St. Charles County, and that was probably my first experience.
I worked [as a] policy director for seven years and was involved in community campaign work too.
2. In what ways have you made a tangible effect on your constituents’ lives during the past legislative session?
In a couple ways, I think. Constituent assistant case management is really rewarding when we can actually help someone with bureaucracy and that’s incredibly rewarding. I made a call, wrote a letter or did something and it fixed someone’s life.
Another thing — the state treasurer has this new unclaimed property program, and we created a list for our district and went through the phone book to find if they live there or where they live and we write them a letter to let them know. People would call and say they got $800 and their car just happened to break down not too long ago. We had quite a few people ask: “Is this for real, is this legitimate?” It’s just so good to hear back from people.
3. Who from the opposing party do you most respect? And your own party?
I respect a lot of [the Democrat representatives] in many ways. Bill Otto is a new representative and this year I saw that he approached policy in a thoughtful, rational way. He’s professional and takes time and researches. He isn’t a really partisan person and I really respect him for the kind of man he is. He seems to have a lot of integrity, and he’s honest and open-minded.
From my side, Jeanie Lauer. I’ve worked with her on the Economic Development Committee — she’s my vice chair — and this last session she has shown me a part of herself that I really was impressed with. She brought out the talents that I didn’t know she had because she hadn’t had the chance to show them yet. I think she’s going to be a star. When we are in a policy situation, she’s always been a great support to me as my vice chair, I was really — she sat down and would say, “Now look, strategically here’s the reality and here are the options I see.” It wasn’t always the easiest solution but it was the right one. Her thought process impressed me. You know, I want this girl on my side. We need to keep our eye on her — like I said, she’s going to be a star.
4. What was your dream job growing up?
My very first dream was to be an astronaut and a scientist, and then I got a little more realistic. I have always loved government. I knew I wanted to be elected some day and I knew I wanted to run for state representative. That was a dream. I didn’t even believe that it could happen, but it’s as easy as standing up when the time is right. I wanted to wait until my kids grew up and after I worked locally.
It worked out perfectly because Tom Dempsey was term limiting out of the House and heading into the Senate. Now, I’m taking a serious look at running for his seat because he will term out the same time I do.
5. What do you most enjoy about the interim?
Being around in the district and listening to people again. I like to have my job but we couldn’t keep that pace up all year. You have to have downtime away from that pace.
For fun, I like to travel and fossil hunting — I like geology.