Executive Board

2016 IFRW Executive Board


Susan Wynn Bence


Phone: 815-278-1513

Email: susan.w@ifrw.org


Susan Wynn Bence has worked in Social Services and Education for most of her professional career in both the United States and Europe. Most recently Susan served as the Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for former State Representative Josh Harms and Chief of Staff to State Representative Thomas Bennett. Susan began a new chapter in her professional career this past year when she was named the Springfield Director for Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti.

Elected three times to Iroquois County Board, Susan served 10 ½ years before resigning to accept her position with the Illinois Lieutenant Governor. While serving as an elected official she was a member of the Tax, Health, and Finance Committees. She has also served as the chairman of the Judicial and Public Safety Committee. Susan is also a former Republican Precinct Committeeman.

Susan’s leadership characteristics are evident throughout her community. She is actively involved and has served on many different boards including: East Central Illinois Community Action Agency; University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Unit Council (Past President); Iroquois County Historical Society; Watseka First Christian Church (Past Chairman of the Board); Kiwanis International; and Pledge for Life Partnership. Susan was recently chosen to serve on the Illinois Rural Health Board and the Illinois Rural Partners Board of Directors.

Susan has received numerous professional and community service awards however the honors that she is most proud were received while living and working in Europe; she was honored by the United Service Organization (USO) as an outstanding volunteer. She was also honored with the 6th ASG Commander’s coin for her dedication and work supporting the “Military Child.” Susan is an overachiever who is always willing to go the extra mile and has an exceptional reputation as a successful fundraiser and grant writer.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Theatre (concentration in Public Speaking) and Physical Education from Eureka College and a master’s degree in Education from Olivet Nazarene University. Susan also had the privilege of attending and graduating from the Illinois Leadership Academy and the Academy of Municipal Excellence at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois.

Susan’s interest in politics began while a student at Eureka College in the late 70’s when she met and became inspired by the college’s most famous alum, Ronald Reagan. Susan joined the Illinois Federation of Republican Women in late 1990’s and has been significantly involved ever since. She is the past president of the Iroquois County Republican Women’s Club. She is also the past membership chairman for the IFRW.




1st Vice -President — Sue Hamilton
Sue Hamilton 2015 picture


Phone: (618) 681-0070

Email: sue.h@ifrw.org

Sue grew up in Danville, Illinois and attended college at Western Illinois University. While student teaching in Herrin, IL, Sue met her husband and settled in Southern Illinois for most of the past 40 years. Sue received a bachelor’s degree in education at Western Illinois University (1976), a master’s degree in education at Southern Illinois University (1988), and second master’s degree in educational administration at Eastern Illinois University (1997). She has worked in the field of education for more than thirty-four years, in roles that include teaching, supervision and technical assistance, and assistant director. Sue retired from her position as Assistant Director at Wabash & Ohio Valley Special Education District on June 30, 2013.
Sue Hamilton currently serves as Chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party, 1st Vice President of the Illinois Federation of Republican Women, Treasurer of the Illinois Republican County Chairmen’s Association, Treasurer of the newly formed Illinois Republican Women PAC and a member of the Herrin Civic Center Board. Sue recently graduated from the Illinois Lincoln Excellence in Public Service Series. She has many years of experience in working in politics, coordinating her own race as the nominee for a regional office, managing local campaign races, hosting events to promote the Party and our candidates, organizing fundraisers and many other responsibilities that are expected of those that serve in the role of Precinct Committeeman and leader in the Williamson County Republican Party.
Sue is married to Chuck Hamilton, also a special education administrator. They have two grown children, Jennifer & Nathan and are blessed with three beautiful grandchildren all residing in Southern Illinois & Missouri.


2nd Vice-President — Jayne Lehman Raef
Jayne 11-1-15



Jayne Lehman Raef (that’s Jayne with a “y”, not just another plain Jane), is the wife of Michael, the mother of Marie and Charles and the grandmother of Reilly, Aiden, and Laurel.
Jayne’s education is Nursing. However she has done many things beyond my brief interlude in nursing.
For a decade, she hired and developed management for a “Fortunes top 500 growing Companies,” company. Her team consistently reached top levels of and she found the competition invigorating – perhaps that is when the competitive political bug bit her?
For the last nine years she has served as a member of the Board of Education in Bourbonnais District 53 where she has been an officer on the board for six years.
With the research aid of District 53s Superintendent and administrative staff, Jayne authored and submitted the Board’s exhaustive entry application for recognition by the Illinois Association of School Boards for the coveted “Excellence in Governance” award. Her Board was one of only eighteen boards to achieve the award in the state of Illinois. Recently, she had a hand in the work of of HB1498 which began as a resolution of the School Board and passed both chambers of the Assembly. On August 3, 2015 the resolution was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner, and became Public Act 99-0235, part of the Open Meetings Act exceptions.
Two years ago she was asked to facilitate the strategic plan for the Illinois Federation of Republican Women, at that time they gave her what she calls “the best job on earth”, and that is the Chair of the IFRW Membership Committee. Jayne was included in the bus tour of state wide candidates which was a landmark event for IFRW and for Illinois. “I am blessed to be traveling up and down and across the state to help women’s groups get off the ground, to energize them, and to challenge wonderful Republican women to function at their fullest using their particular gifts . . . and to let them know how much we love and need them!” Jayne Also serves as 2nd Vice Chair of the newly formed Illinois Republican Women PAC” I have enjoyed my involvement with my home group, Kankakee County Republican Women, and its powerhouse women (and men) that are wholly committed to the growth of women in politics and invested in the betterment of Illinois and the United States of America through the philosophy of the Republican Party. I look forward to the further growth and impact that IFRW will have on Illinois Politics and the State as whole.”
If you are a visitor to this site and are looking for a place to exercise your interest in anything political, humanitarian, and social, please look seriously at IFRW and her County organizations. Don’t hesitate to connect with me, or anyone in IFRW, if you have questions. We want you and need you. Illinois is at a critical juncture at this particular time in her history and YOU CAN make a difference.

 3rd Vice-President–Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti 
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Email: evelyn.s@ifrw.org

Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti of Wheaton is stepping into the 3rd vice president role. A lawyer and Wheaton City Council member, Sanguinetti is a one-time assistant Illinois Attorney General. Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti is the 47th and current Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Her term began January 12, 2015.



4th Vice-President — Linda Brown

Email: linda.b@ifrw.org

Linda has worked as a Certified Veterinary Technician at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for over 25 years. As a CVT, Linda works with livestock on the University farms, assists in teaching veterinary students, and is involved with biomedical and food and fiber research. Some of this research has been published in scientific journals in which Linda has co-authored. Politically, Linda works towards promoting the ideals of the Republican Party and assist candidates with disseminating their message to constituents. Additionally, Linda works toward advocating for livestock production and management practices and hopes to do this on a full-time basis some day. On a personal note, Linda has two grown daughters. Christin (30) and her husband Jon have one son and another one on the way. Alexandria (20) is a Junior at ISU.




Treasurer — Elaine Zannis

Elaine Zannis

Oak Brook







Secretary — Mary Sundermeyer

Mary Sundermeyer Photo


Phone: 309-678-6859

Email: mcsunder@aol.com

Mary Sundermeyer currently serves as the Secretary for the Illinois Federation of Republican Women and as Treasurer for the Peoria County Republican Women. Mary received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Saint Mary in 1982. She worked for over 10 years in the field of wastewater treatment chemistry in St. Louis. She then worked for a consulting firm in Peoria placing engineers and chemists in top-level companies such as Caterpillar, Lucent and Nalco. Mary now works part time in her own business, which leaves plenty of time for volunteering. She has been involved in local politics since 2008 and has volunteered for many campaigns, served as an election judge, been in charge of recruiting Republican Election Judges for Peoria County, organized and trained poll watchers and precinct committeemen for election day as well as helping to staff the Republican Headquarters and helping to organize Lincoln Day Dinners. Mary is married to Jeff, a PhD Research Engineer at Caterpillar. They live in Dunlap, IL a suburb of Peoria.

Immediate Past President–Michelle Buckwalter-Schurman

Mt. Carroll

Phone:    815-244-6619


Education: Graduate of Morrison High School (1988) Bachelor of Science in Political Science from IllinoisStateUniversity (1992) Juris Doctorate Degree from Northern IllinoisUniversityCollege of Law (1995)

Work History: Supervised Senior Law Student Licensed for State’s Attorney Daniel Fish, Lee County, Illinois 1994-1995 Associate in law firm of Weinstine, Shirk, Mellott & Leemon, P.C. from 1995 – 1997 Partner in law firm of Weinstine, Shirk and Buckwalter-Schurman from 1997-2007 Partner in law firm of Nelson, Kilgus, Richey, Huffman & Buckwalter-Schurman from 2007 to present Arbitrator for the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit from 2001 to present Managing Partner in law firm of Nelson, Kilgus, Richey & Buckwalter-Schurman from 2012 to present Family and Divorce Mediator for Fourteenth and Fifteenth Judicial Circuit 2013 Guardian ad Litem for Fourteenth and Fifteenth Judicial Circuit 2000-present

Republican Activities: IllinoisStateUniversityCollege Republicans WhitesideCounty Coordinator for Campaign to Elect John McGehee Circuit Judge of Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Assisted the Committee to Elect John Hauptman for Circuit County Judge, Whiteside County Member of Committee to Elect Michael Albert for Circuit County Judge, Whiteside County Whiteside County Coordinator for Campaign to Elect Stewart “Stu” Umholtz, Attorney General of State of Illinois Parliamentarian for the Carroll County Republican Women 2007-2008 Scholarship Committee Chairperson for CarrollCounty Republican Women 2008-2009 Secretary for the CarrollCounty Republican Women 2009-2010 Secretary for the Illinois Federation of Republican Women 2010-2012 President of the Carroll County Republican Women 2011-2012 President of the Illinois Federation of Republican Women 2012-present Legislative Chair for Carroll County Republican Women 2012-present

Civic Activities: Chamber of Commerce: Board Member and Vice President 1999-2001 Morrison Community Day Care: Board Member and President 1996-2006 Prairie State Legal Services: Board Member 2002-2007 Rotary: Member 1996-2000 Member of SS John and Catherine Roman Catholic congregation CCD instructor for Kindergarten and First Graders at SS John and Catherine Roman Catholic Church 2012-present Member of Carroll County Bar Association 1995-present Member of Whiteside County Bar Association 199¬5-present Founding Member of Whiteside County Women’s Bar Association 1997-present Member of Illinois State Bar Association 1995-present Member of American Bar Association 1995-present Activities Coordinator for Milledgeville-Chadwick Cub Scout Pack: 55 2010-present Judge for Northern Illinois School of Law Moot Court Competition: 1996-present

Awards and Honors: 2003 Prairie State Legal Services Volunteer of the Year Whiteside County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer Project 2003 Volunteer of the Year 1994 Twelfth Annual Prize Moot Court Competition Award for Best Brief 1994 Twelfth Annual Prize Moot Court Competition Award for Best Oral Advocate Final Argument 1994 Twelfth Annual Prize Moot Court Competition Carl W. Cicero Award Winning Team 1994-1995 National Moot Court Team Member 1995 Northern Illinois University Award for Outstanding Woman Student

Significant Cases: Argued before the Appellate Court In re Custody of K.P.L., 304 Ill.App.3d 481, 710 N.E.2d 87 (Ill. App. 3 Dist.1999). In re Marriage of Engelkens, 354 Ill.App.3d 790, 821 N.E.2d 799 (Ill. App. 3 Dist. 2004).

MOST IMPORTANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Married to Tim Schurman Mother to Grant (13); Blake (10) and Olivia (9)


Parliamentarian–Cheryl Towne


Phone:    217-391-6609



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