Sean Tenner

A native of Naperville, IL and a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, Sean Tenner has nearly 20 years of political campaign management, issue advocacy and non-profit/foundation consulting experience.

He has worked for some of the most prominent elected officials and organizations in Illinois and Washington, DC – including President Barack Obama (US Senate Primary and General Elections, 2004 and Presidential Campaign, 2008), Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the Illinois House of Representatives Democratic Majority, Washington, DC City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Evanston (IL) Mayor Steve Hagerty and Aurora (IL) Mayor Tom Weisner.

He has helped elect numerous members of the Illinois judiciary, the Illinois legislature, the Chicago City Council and the Washington, DC City Council.

News outlets have touted Tenner’s enviable record of success in the judicial campaigns he’s quarterbacked.” and in the 2018 Democratic Primary alone Tenner and the KNI team led six judicial candidates – Judge Robert Harris, Judge Kent Delgado, Judge Jeanne Wrenn, Judge-elect Lindsay Huge, Judge-elect Kevin Cunningham and Judge-elect Jamie Shapiro to strong victory margins in competitive races.  He served as lead consultant on the successful 2018 campaign of Cam Davis, President Obama’s Great Lakes protection lead, who won the largest number of write-in votes in modern Illinois history – beating a state record previously held by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In Chicago’s most recent municipal election cycle (2015), Tenner managed Alderman Michele Smith’s victory in one of the city’s most high-profile runoff races. In 2011, he led Alderman Joe Moore’s campaign which increased its percentage of the vote from 51% in 2007 to 72% in 2011. Moore was named the “Most Valuable Local Official” in the United States by The Nation magazine. Tenner also served as a lead consultant to Alderman James Cappleman in his double digit 2011 victory in their home 46th Ward.

Tenner was appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in November 2012 – and reappointed in 2015 – to the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission following years of human rights work. On the Commission, he works alongside sitting legislators and other state leaders working to develop standards for holocaust and genocide education and coordinate related initiatives. He was profiled by CNN for his work founding the Abolition Institute, which successfully advocated for $4.5 million in federal funding to fight modern day slavery in West Africa.

With expertise in health care issues, Tenner has worked with breast cancer advocacy organizations and leaders like State Representatives Greg Harris and Mike Smiddy to pass four landmark pieces of legislation in the Illinois General Assembly: requiring insurance coverage of breast cancer screenings recommended by physicians (2015), requiring insurance coverage of medical costs related to cancer clinical trials (2011), establishing numerous crucial new state programs to fight breast cancer through the “Reducing Breast Cancer Disparities Act” (2009), requiring insurance coverage and state standards for potentially lifesaving clinical breast exams (2007). All four pieces of legislation passed with overwhelming majorities in both chambers.

Tenner also specializes in running issue and electoral campaigns highlighting important criminal justice and public safety issues. With experience conducting assessments on criminal justice issues for major national foundations including Pew Charitable Trusts and Open Society Foundations, he uses his expertise in this field to help elect ethical, qualified Judges and law enforcement officials in Illinois.  He also helps the Midwest Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center – one of the world’s leading anti-hate organizations – coordinate state legislative priorities through his work on their Advisory Board.

Honored as one of Chicago’s “Top 35 Under 35” by the Community Renewal Society for his philanthropic and issue advocacy work, Tenner serves in leadership positions in the following organizations:

The Abolition Institute
Co-Founder

Profiled by CNN, the Chicago-based Abolition Institute works with escaped slaves and their support organizations in the West African nation of Mauritania.  Mauritania is known as Slavery’s Last Stronghold because the practice was only criminalized a decade ago, with race and descent-based slavery still widespread.  Working with elected officials and advocates, the Abolition Institute helped win millions of federal dollars for anti-slavery programs in West Africa.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Chicagoland Affiliate
Board of Directors and Public Policy Chair
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest breast cancer organization.

Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission
Appointed as Commission Member in November 2012 by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn; reappointed in 2015

Simon Wiesenthal Center, Midwest Office
Advisory Board Member
Named for the world’s foremost Nazi-hunter, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is a global human rights organization researching the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context. The Center confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism and promotes human rights and dignity worldwide.

Illinois Patriot Education Fund
Advisory Board Member
The Illinois Patriot Education Fund is one of the largest private providers of scholarships for Illinois active duty and veteran military families.

Obama Legacy Initiative
Co-Founder and Member of the Board of Directors
The Obama Legacy Initiative provides technical support to organizations throughout the United States seeking to honor President Obama’s legacy through a variety of community initiatives.

Keep On Keeping On Foundation
Board of Directors
Front page Chicago Tribune story
The Keep On Keeping On Foundation assists those born with severe physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.

Sudanese Community Center / Sudanese Community Association of Illinois
Senior Advisor
The Sudanese Community Center and the Sudanese Community Association of Illinois help Chicago area refugees from the genocide in Darfur and the civil wars in Sudan.

Asian Human Services / Passages School 
Advisory Committee Member
Asian Human Services, which runs Passages School on Chicago’s North Side, provides social services for immigrants of all backgrounds in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.

Hope for the Day
Board of Directors
Hope For The Day is an innovative Chicago-based organization focusing on youth suicide prevention and mental health education through self-expression.

Georgetown University
Alumni Admissions Interviewer
Conducting admissions interviews for high school students in the Chicagoland area who wish to attend Georgetown University, one of the nation’s top ranked universities for government, political science and foreign service programs.

Color Me Africa Fine Arts
Board of Directors
Working with South African artists whose work and views were suppressed under the Apartheid regime. Color Me Africa Fine Arts helps to bring South African artists and their “protest art” to a new global audience and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve for their talent and courage.

Irish Famine Education Institute
Board of Directors
Tenner, who owns a home in the historic Falls Road neighborhood of Belfast, Northern Ireland, has spoken at numerous educational conferences on the public policy lessons of the Irish Famine, a preventable tragedy which had a profound impact on both Ireland and the United States.