Hello and welcome! Thanks for taking some time to get to know me and what our campaign is all about.
I am a fifth generation Illinoisan, who was born, raised, and now lives in Petersburg, a mile from where President Abraham Lincoln first entered politics. Lincoln has always filled my imagination as our nation’s greatest political example of moral leadership, and I am running for Governor because our state should be exceptional, but our politics are terrible – I want to make Illinois a “shining city on a hill” that Lincoln would be proud of.
Growing up working on our family farm as one of 8 Sullivan kids (and many more cousins), I learned the values of hard work, faith, family, and service – the priorities of my life.
Faith is at the core of who I am, and it is what is calling our family to take on this newest challenge. My primary mission in this life is to know, love, and serve God. True success in this life is to have the discipline to discern the will of God, and to have the freedom to follow it.
The greatest treasure God has given me are my wife and children, my parents, my siblings, and my extended family. It is my responsibility and my joy as husband, father, son, brother to love, protect, and help them grow in faith, love, and character. My wife Monique and I live in my hometown of Petersburg where our four young children (with a fifth on the way!), who are being raised with the same deep-rooted Illinois values that I was raised with. We are foster parents to two teen girls and help other families who are involved in the foster care system, which has taught me just how broken our system is, and how much work we have to do to make it easier for young mothers to bring children into the world.
I got my middle name, William, from my grandfather, Bill Sullivan, who was a 16-letter varsity athlete for Western Illinois University and a professional baseball player with the St. Louis Browns. Grandpa taught me from an early age that to whom much is given, much is expected. I’ve certainly been blessed beyond what I deserve. To love my neighbor in need through service is my vocational calling. This has taken many forms through my career.
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, I served as Special Assistant to the Haitian ambassador, advising on US humanitarian assistance and aid to the country. My experiences there shaped my view that job creation, not free assistance – at home or abroad – are the keys to sustained economic growth.
I served as a Human Terrain Team Analyst on counterinsurgency operations in Helmand Afghanistan. I know firsthand why a strong national defense is essential to our ability to thrive- and why a strong economic growth is the key to human flourishing at home and abroad. I carry the same sidearm here at home that I carried abroad, and understand that the second amendment is an important piece of our national identity.
My experiences abroad led me to found Alter Global, a venture capital firm that finds and scales the best companies in emerging economies around the world, to reduce extreme poverty and spread the benefits of the new, innovation economy to the developing world. Through Alter, I’ve partnered with 25 game changing entrepreneurs across 14 countries, from Nigeria to India, Mexico, and the American heartland. Jobs, not entitlements, are the foundation of prosperity – at home, and abroad.
I am the son of a public school teacher, and education has always been paramount for me. I went to college close to home at St. Louis University. Thanks to the Rotary International Scholarship, I was fortunate to attend Oxford University for a Master’s in Global Governance & Diplomacy and play varsity basketball. I also attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business for a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), where I received the Arjay Miller Social Change Leadership Award.
I share these experiences because they reflect the kind of bridge builder I hope to be, as a candidate, and as your Governor. I grew up on a farm, hunting and fishing and am as “downstate” as they come. At the same time, I’ve had the privilege of going to top schools at home and abroad, and I understand the global nature of our financial system — enough to know that smart policies in Springfield can help Chicago become the financial capital it should be. Our politics and generations of corrupt politicians are standing in the way.
I am running to fix the broken politics of Illinois, and to take back this state’s government from self-interested politicians who don’t know the people they represent. We deserve a state that attracts business, not repels it. We deserve a state that cuts taxes, not that raises them. We deserve an education system that empowers our children, not that fails them. We deserve a safe state, where our kids can play outside and we can start businesses without fear of crime. Illinois over Party.