Meet Illinois' New State Comptroller, Leslie Munger

Illinois' new Comptroller, Leslie Munger, came to occupy her office in a very different way than the other constitutional officers in the state.

Munger, a longtime executive at Helene Curtis, ran unsuccessfully in November 2014 for the 59th District Illinois House seat against incumbent Democratic State Rep. Carol Sente. She later applied to be a member of Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's transition team. Then, in December, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka died unexpectedly.

Much to Munger's surprise, Rauner offered her the comptroller's post on the condition that she run for re-election at the end of her two-year appointment in 2016.

Until her run against Sente last year, Munger was a political unknown. And while she now controls the state's checkbook, she remains the lowest profile of the state's six constitutional officers.

We sat down with Munger this week in her office in the Thompson Center in Chicago to discuss her approach to her new office, her business career and her nascent second career in politics.

A few things you may not have known about our comptroller:

  • While at Helene Curtis, Munger oversaw the company's Suave brand. After dropping the price of Suave products by a nickel, improving quality and replacing screw-on lids with flip-tops, profits increased 80 percent.
  • She's been a board member for 15 years at the Riverside Foundation, a Lincolnshire facility for the developmentally disabled. She says her involvement there makes her especially attuned to the concerns of similar non-profits who provide services for the state and suffer hardship when the state is late in paying its bills.
  • Both she and her husband John, a patent attorney, are University of Illinois alumni. They met after college at an alumni event.

Check out a few more facts about Munger at Reboot Illinois, including her favorite book, what kinds of pets she has and her favorite movie of all time.

And get to know even more about Munger by watching this video: