He was a leader in the design and implementation of positive aspects of Illinois’s new welfare law in 1997, and he spearheaded the statewide efforts in Illinois to create both the FamilyCare program, which provides health care insurance for up to up to 400,000 working poor parents of minor children, and All Kids, the first state plan to extend health coverage to every child. He has consulted and co-counseled with advocates in many states; helped draft numerous pieces of legislation; given hundreds of presentations; published extensively; and served as counsel in numerous federal and state cases, including Memisovski v. Maram, which established substantial reforms in children’s health care in Illinois.
He currently is working on state-based implementation of federal health care reform and leads the Responsible Budget Coalition, an effort bringing together more than 200 diverse organizations to advocate for state revenue and budget reform in Illinois.
Before joining the Shriver Center in 1996, he worked for two decades at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, where he supervised public benefits advocacy. Among his honors, he has received the Kutak-Dodds Prize from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section, Child Health Advocate Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service Award from the United States District Court and Federal Bar Association. A 1975 graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law and former board member of the Chicago Transit Authority, John currently serves on the boards of Illinois Partners for Human Service and the Center for Law and Social Policy, is a member of the National Advisory Committee to the United States Census Bureau on Race, Ethnic and Other Populations, and co-chaired Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's summer 2014 Working Group on the Minimum Wage.