Laurel Prussing is the current Mayor of Urbana, Illinois, and was the first woman to be elected to the position in 2005. Prussing was a Bernie Sanders delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and was previously a delegate for Barack Obama in 2012.
Prussing has served as a State Representative, was the first woman Democrat elected county-wide as Champaign County Auditor, and was one of the first three women elected as a Champaign County Board member.
Prussing has a B.A. in economics from Wellesley College, an M.A. in economics from Boston University, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in economics (public finance) at the University of Illinois.
She has worked as Legislative Director at the American Association of University Women of Illinois, Downstate Coordinator at Citizen Action of Illinois (where she worked to publicize the global warming issue), Economist at the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Computation, and Urban and Regional Economist at Arthur D. Little, Inc. management consultants in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Prussing currently sits on the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board and the Illinois P-20 Commission, where she represents local government. The commission recommends improvements to education – early childhood through adulthood – to the Governor and the Illinois Legislature.
Current Professional Affiliations include the United States Conference of Mayors (Mayors' Water Council, Energy Committee, International Committee) and the Illinois Municipal League, where she is an elected Board Member.
She has been elected precinct committeewoman, Champaign County Democrats, and has recruited many candidates and worked on numerous local, state and national campaigns. She helped get Barack Obama on the ballot for U.S. Senate in 2004 when he was a virtual unknown, and was one of earliest supporters of Dick Durbin for U.S. Senate in 1996.
Laurel is married to John E. Prussing, professor of Aerospace Engineering, University of Illinois, and has three daughters and four grandsons.
Her awards and recognition include: Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Women, Feminists Who Changed America. “Agent of Change” award, AAUW of Illinois; “Public Official of the Year”, Water Environment Association, state and national levels (for work on water quality); Sierra Club of Illinois “Cool Cities” (for Climate Action Plan).