Democrat Lauren Underwood, 32, running for Congress in the far western suburbs of Chicago, has exaggerated her nursing career, pretending to work as a nurse, when she’s never been one, a local newspaper reported on Friday.
The Kane County Reporter dug into Underwood’s claims and found that while she had studied nursing and was registered to practice nursing, “she never has, in Illinois, nor anywhere else.”
“ICU (intensive care unit) or mother-baby, like that just wasn’t my interest,” she told former Obama campaign staffer turned podcaster Ravi Gupta on his show, “The Arena,” back in April. “I always knew that this policy space was where I would land.”
Instead, once Underwood completed her education, she worked for the Obama administration on Obama’s rollout – a project that was a complete disaster when it launched in 2013. (Underwood now admits it was “not perfect”):
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“The Affordable Care Act is not perfect and I support policies that will improve the law, including:
**Stabilizing the health insurance marketplaces by providing a long-term commitment to cost-sharing reductions, and an incentive for all Americans to maintain insurance coverage
**Properly funding risk pools so that more insurers will offer plans on the marketplace
**Helping more middle class families afford coverage by expanding eligibility for tax credits and cost-sharing reductions
**Reigning in the soaring cost of prescription drugs
**Investing in comprehensive mental health coverage.”
She continued to work for the Obama administration until the end of his term in 2017, then collected unemployment benefits before she decided to run for Congress and challenge incumbent Republican Randy Hultgren.
Underwood presented herself as a working nurse in her campaign advertising and it appears that the media swallowed the story whole.
A report by ABC News on October 26th presented her as “a nurse who worked on the Affordable Care Act.” Time magazine reported on Friday: “Lauren Underwood’s Unlikely Congressional Bid Is All About Health Care.”
But that claim is just “part of the act,” according to the Kane County Reporter:
“That Underwood never actually worked as a nurse— in college or after graduation— might come as a surprise to voters in the 14th Congressional District, now familiar with the torrent of television advertisements depicting her with a stethoscope serving patients.
She told Now This Politics, that, “as a nurse, I have looked into my patients’ eyes when giving discharge instructions knowing they cannot afford the prescription that we’re handing to them.”
According to her own biography, Underwood has never worked as a practicing nurse in a hospital, or in any setting where she would be discharging patients.
In her television advertisements, she has been regularly portrayed in “hands-on” nursing situations— ones her own biography also makes clear she has never experienced.”