I scream, you scream for Lauren Underwood

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream owners scoop up congressional candidates with new flavors

 Congressional candidate Lauren Underwood, a registered nurse, is getting scoops of support from the owners of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. (Flickr)

Congressional candidate Lauren Underwood, a registered nurse, is getting scoops of support from the owners of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. (Flickr)

By Ted Cox

A suburban Chicago congressional candidate is getting scoops of support from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream in the form of a new flavor to be named in her honor.

Naperville’s Lauren Underwood is one of seven national congressional candidates chosen for the publicity boost by owners Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, working in conjunction with the MoveOn.org political organization.

Underwood is a registered nurse who decided to run against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano in the 14th District after she said Hultgren reneged on a promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions by voting against the Affordable Care Act. Underwood, who served in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration, has made the issue personal, pointing out that she could potentially be denied health care for a pre-existing heart condition.

Health care, in fact, drew Cohen and Greenfield to Underwood as a candidate, as they issued a statement along with MoveOn saying: “We need a Democratic majority to check President Trump’s unrestrained power. And we also need to send progressive champions to Congress who will fix our health-care system with Medicare for All, protect clean air and water, and get big money out of politics.”

Underwood said Monday she was surprised by the announcement and honored to be included in the hand-picked group of Democratic candidates. “I love Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Who doesn’t?” Underwood said.

Cohen, Greenfield, and MoveOn are soliciting names for her flavor. Deadline for submissions is midnight Friday, with decisions rendered Oct. 7. Cohen is slated to serve the new ice cream himself the next day in a campaign event for Underwood at a location to be chosen in the 14th District, which stretches across the far western suburbs from the Wisconsin state line south to Aurora, Naperville, and Shorewood.

“My favorite flavor, hands down, is Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch,” Underwood said. “An ice-cream flavor inspired by my campaign would have to celebrate our beautiful 14th District. We're one of the largest producers of corn in the country, and I bet Ben and Jerry's could make a delicious ice cream inspired by our community's amazing caramel corn. One of my favorite name ideas so far is 'Health Caramel for All,' a suggestion from one of our volunteers.”

The other congressional candidates chosen for the new Ben & Jerry’s flavors include Jess King in Pennsylvania, Aftab Pureval in Ohio, J.D. Scholten in Iowa, Ammar Campa Najjar in California, Stephany Rose Spaulding in Colorado, and James Thompson in Kansas.