Shawn Donnelley, on leave from her position as manager of political affairs for R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Chicago, announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
Donnelley, who is the great-great-granddaughter of R.R. Donnelley & Sons founder Richard Robert Donnelley, was chairwoman of the Direct Marketing Association’s political action committee until Nov. 1. She also worked with the DMA for passage of the Internet Tax Freedom Act and to have business leaders represented on the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce.
She is running as a Republican for the 10th Congressional District seat, which covers the North Shore District of Chicago as well as the area between Evanston, IL , and the Wisconsin border. John Porter (R-IL) retired last month after representing the district for 11 terms. There are three other announced Republican candidates and two Democratic candidates. The Republican primary is March 21.
Donnelley plans a pro-business platform and to bring a greater understanding of the direct marketing industry to Congress.
“There needs to be somebody who has a strong understanding because the issues that direct marketers are working on right now are issues that people across the country are concerned about,” she said.
“Look at the issues we look at everyday, such as privacy issues. There is a lack of understanding in Washington of exactly how direct marketers use that information and why it’s just as important to direct marketers to keep the information private as it is to citizens who want it private.”
Congressmen who understand direct marketing, Donnelley said, include Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Sens. Joseph Leiberman (D-CT) and Judd Gregg (R-NH).
“There are a lot of members of Congress who are very good on direct marketing issues, but they’re not direct marketers,” she said.
Although she has not run for office before, Donnelly has volunteered for campaigns and worked for Massachusetts’ Gov. William Weld. She said her experience representing Donnelley’s 31,000 employees and families in Washington qualifies her to represent the constituents of the 10th District.
Direct mail would be “be a big part of this campaign,” she said. “When you look at the Chicago media market, going on Chicago television is just incredibly expensive. And, as a direct marketer, I realize you have to target your audience, and one of the best ways I see to do that is with a direct mail campaign.”