April 26, 2023
In this Issue: It’s Official! Biden’s Running ● Waukegan Voters Preserve Neighborhood Representation ● Autism Awareness Month: Support Persons with Autism and Developmental Disabilities ● 3 Things to Know about Becoming a Deputy Voter Registrar ● From the Lake County Democratic Chair: Democratic Boot Camp Starts, May 20 ● Earth Day Was Front and Center Across Lake County ● Pritzker Praises Mikva Challenge in Waukegan ● College of Lake County Trustees Sworn In ● Donkey Pins are Great Gifts for Mother’s Day ● You’re Invited: Jan Schakowsky’s 2023 Annual Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch ● Summer Internships ● Volunteer Spotlight ● ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) ● Upcoming Events
It’s Official! Biden’s Running
Go to JoeBiden.com to watch President Biden’s announcement video.
Signs in both English and Spanish encouraged voters to oppose the referendum.
Waukegan Voters Preserve Neighborhood Representation
Right-wing voter suppression and other attacks have prompted many of us to be laser-focused on preserving democracy. With everything going on in the April 4 elections, you may have missed a crucial victory for democracy in Lake County.
At the Lake Dems general membership meeting March 9, Waukegan Democrats made a motion that Lake Dems oppose a ballot referendum that would have dramatically changed the way that City Council members are elected. The ballot measure would have replaced the current system whereby each of the nine wards elects their own council member. The referendum would have diluted local community voices with a system of at-large council members.
As the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “…adoption of a system of at-large voting in lieu of district-by-district voting” means that “…the overall majority could control the election of each city council member, effectively eliminating the potency of the minority’s votes.”
After significant discussion, mostly by Waukegan residents, a vote was held. The proposal to oppose the referendum passed overwhelmingly, with 100 percent of everyone who voted voting to oppose the referendum.
Shortly thereafter, Lake County Dems and others formed the Save Our Wards Coalition. Eleanor Murkey, the revered longtime dean of the College of Lake County Lakeshore campus (now retired and namesake of the new CLC Eleanor Murkey Community Center), agreed to chair the group. The coalition of clergy, residents, and activists distributed yard signs, phone-banked, canvassed door-to-door, and held a press conference to raise awareness of what was at stake. To watch the press conference, visit this site.
Their hard work paid off, as the referendum was defeated, with 55.08 percent voting “no” and 44.92 percent voting “yes.” Congratulations to all who worked so hard.
Support Persons with Autism and Developmental Disabilities
By Lisa Kennedy of Libertyville, parent of an autistic child
April is Autism Awareness Month. One in 36 kids in the United States is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, with boys four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. Autism can take many forms along the spectrum, from moderate symptoms to severe intellectual disabilities. While many people with milder symptoms need accommodations at work or in public, those on the more severe end of the autism spectrum require extensive supports, often needing help for many decades with all activities of daily living.
Sadly, regardless of the level of care our loved ones with autism and other developmental disabilities may require, many of their needs are not being met in Illinois. Despite all that we have accomplished here, there are still very few options for adults who need support to live in our communities after they leave school at age 22. While federal law requires school services, there are no similar mandates for adults if a state chooses not to provide enough supportive housing or community services. States also determine how much the workers in this field are paid. Right now, that pay is lagging behind retail and fast food work. But caring for our loved ones can be much more challenging.
We who are parents and caregivers are physically and emotionally exhausted. Because of the lack of outside help, we often provide upwards of 80 hours per week of nursing-level care and we experience high levels of emotional and financial stress.
Some other states provide better professional and financial support for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Here in our area, we are lucky to have many great Democratic leaders who recognize this and fight for our cause. But we need more of their fellow state senators and representatives in Illinois to look out for us in this year’s state budget. This is why we are asking everyone to support HB3569, so that caregivers for adults with developmental disabilities can earn a competitive living wage. It’s the only way to stop a looming disaster, as more people leave these jobs and fewer consider doing this challenging work.
What better way to celebrate Autism Awareness Month than by taking practical steps to help people in need? Please support HB3569 today. Click here to learn how.
3 Things to Know about Becoming a Deputy Voter Registrar
Are you interested in registering people to vote? It’s a great way to get involved:
- The Lake County Clerk’s office has published the dates and times of their upcoming classes to train Deputy Voter Registrars.
- You must take the class in the same Illinois county in which you are registered to vote.
- Once you have become a Deputy Voter Registrar you can help people register to vote in any county in Illinois.
Lake Dems is sponsoring volunteers to become Deputy Voter Registrars. The training seminars will be conducted by the Lake County Clerk’s office, and once you complete the session you can register others to vote in Illinois. You must be 18 and registered to vote in Lake County. Please fill out a Deputy Voter Registrar Class form only for yourself, and forward this article to friends and family if they are interested.
To sign up for a class, click on the date you want:
From the Lake County Democratic Chair:
Democratic Boot Camp Starts, May 20
By Lauren Beth Gash
Executive Board Member, IDCCA
As we head toward the 2024 election, it’s important to continue to fight off right-wingers. Whether you want to help Democratic candidates as a campaign volunteer, as a leader in our area, or as a candidate yourself, you should know about a great program that can help you develop the skills you need to succeed. Anyone interested in playing a significant role in Democratic politics should consider attending this training, like Lake County State Representative Joyce Mason did (see below).
The Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association (IDCCA) and the National Democratic Training Committee will hold the 2023 Boot Camp on Saturday, May 20, in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Three tracks are available — one for candidates, one for local leaders, and one for campaign staff. Those who attend will learn about voter contact, fundraising, messaging, and digital outreach. You can register at traindemocrats.org/event/idcca-bootcamp-5-20-2023. Carpools from our area will likely be available.
Representative Mason said, “I attended the very first IDCCA Candidate Boot Camp back in 2017, and it gave me the tools and support I needed to win my election and become the first Democratic State Representative ever elected to the 61st District. Today, as a member of the IDCCA Leadership Circle, I know the training has only improved year after year. I highly recommend it to any candidate considering running for office.”
This Boot Camp has trained more than 1500 individuals and almost 300 candidate-track participants have been elected to public office, including a State Senator and eight Illinois State Representatives. Representative Mason is right about its value, and I hope you’ll think about attending.
Earth Day Was Front and Center Across Lake County
From a park clean up in Waukegan and a road cleanup in Round Lake to Island Lake’s Earth Day Celebration, Lake County Dems — candidates, elected officials, township organizations, and volunteers — were out in force doing their part.
Pritzker Praises Mikva Challenge in Waukegan
Gov. JB Pritzker toured the Lake County Mikva Challenge Issues-to-Action Showcase at Waukegan High School on April 21, chatting with students to learn about their wide-ranging projects.
“Great to kick off my day at Waukegan High School to learn about the students’ policy proposals,” the Governor tweeted. “It’s always a pleasure to meet the next generation of leaders and see them taking charge!”
The event brought together high school students from area schools including Waukegan, Mundelein, North Chicago, Libertyville, and Stevenson. Participants touted their research and proposed solutions on an array of important community and school-related issues.
The Lake County News-Sun covered the event and asked Gov. Pritzker for his reaction. “First of all, so impressive, the range of projects and the focus on issues that really matter in the community,” the newspaper reported. “Mental health, substance (abuse) treatment, trying to address the problem of needing a new high school and some support for renovating the whole campus here. I’m very impressed with the civic-mindedness and how smart these kids are. Just a terrific day,” the Governor added.
The late federal judge and Chicago Congressman Abner Mikva created the Mikva Challenge to develop youth to be empowered, informed, and active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society.
Governor Pritzker (center) gets a close look at high school students’ efforts to research and find solutions to school and community challenges.
College of Lake County Trustees Sworn In
Newly-elected College of Lake County trustee Allena Barbato, left, was sworn in by her father, and newly-elected student trustee Daniel Blaine was sworn in by his grandmother at a ceremony on Tuesday, April 25, at the college’s Grayslake campus.
Donkey Pins are Great Gifts for Mother’s Day
These sparkly silver-tone and rhinestone donkeys make great gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, or any day for that special person in your life — or for you!
Don’t just give flowers … order your pins today. Available for a $20 donation (additional donations always welcome), pick-up available or we mail for a small fee.
You’re Invited: Jan Schakowsky’s 2023 Annual Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch
Personal Invitation from Lauren Beth Gash, Lake Dems Chair
Jan’s 2023 Annual Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch, always an amazing event, will be held on Friday, May 5, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel at noon. Join us!
Jan was my seatmate in the state legislature many years ago. I just love her and was so honored to be one of the two co-chairs of her wildly successful (and sold-out) 3,000-person Annual Power Lunch featuring Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi right before Covid.
Attendees will hear from Congresswoman and Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, who was recently elected as the first Black American woman Mayor of Los Angeles. We’ll also get to hear from Congresswoman Katherine Clark, the Democratic Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. And there may be others.
Join Lake Dems, Tenth Dems and me at our tables for this inspiring event! Click here to join us, and be sure to put Lake Dems, Tenth Dems, or Lauren Beth Gash in the invited by field when you register.
The number of candidates who have expressed an interest in becoming a Tenth Dems intern is impressive. And applications are still being accepted! Please forward this information to your child, grandchild, classmate, or sibling.
To apply, please submit a brief paragraph explaining why you would like to be an intern, along with a resume summarizing your educational background and activities. Neither needs to be formal. Submit your application via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “internship” in the subject line. To learn more, click here.
Lake Dems is grateful for our many active volunteers. Click here if you’re interested in helping.
Peggy Bassrawi is a valuable volunteer who is willing to do anything she’s asked. A former school nurse who lives in Vernon Hills, she brings a bright and cheerful presence to our office. Peggy always has a friendly word for everyone, and we are pleased to spotlight her.
ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)
TUESDAY, MAY 2
Lawyers for Choice Discussion on the Texas Ruling with Attorney General Kwame Raoul. 5-6:30pm, Chicago. More.
THURSDAY, MAY 4
North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic Annual Spring Event 2023. 6:30pm, Northbrook. More.
How Do I Join Lake County Democrats?
Lake County Democrats is made up of people like you, people who are passionate about building better communities and a better world. We’re a grassroots political organization, working with Democrats in all parts of Lake County – from Antioch to Highland Park, Libertyville to Waukegan, Barrington to Zion. Become a member online now, (individual: $35/couples $60 – though more is always appreciated), or send a check payable to Lake County Democrats to P.O. Box 671, Lake Zurich, IL 60047. Questions? Contact email@example.com.