UPDATED: Matt Brolley IL-14 Candidate 4.25.17

by , posted on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 at 3:05 pm

UPDATE: Please see the Brolley post subsequent to this one for more – and critical – information. You can find it here.

Two potential Dem Candidates for IL-14 spoke at the Kane County Dems monthly meeting last night. I don’t want to lump them into one post, so taking them in the order they spoke, I’ll post the video of Matt Brolley tonight, and will get to the other candidate tomorrow.

Matt Brolley is the current mayor of Montgomery, just re-elected and starting his second term. Brolley seems quite at ease with public speaking. He was brief, to the point, was a little funny, spoke about his background, and, it should be noted, said he is considering a run, rather than stating he is running.

Because I am trying to determine in my own mind who in the (ever growing) Dem field is progressive, I’ve come up with something I guess you could call my own personal two-question litmus test. I didn’t really plan those two questions out, by the way, they just happened to be the two issues I questioned Walz about, and in the interest of consistency, and comparing apples to apples, I thought it fair to stick with them. As he didn’t answer my questions with certainty during his brief remarks, I spoke with Brolley after the event and asked him my two questions.

In answer to my first question Brolley, who had mentioned healthcare for all as an issue he cares about, confirmed that he is a single-payer advocate.

In answer to the second, he said he had not yet thought about whether he would accept corporate donations, and then noted IL-14 is likely to be a two or three million dollar race, so it is something he feels he need to think through, as it would be tough to get to that kind of dollar amount. Not a definitive answer, one way or the other, but it seems to lean toward yes.

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Jim Walz at Indivisibles Joint Meeting – 4.23.17

by , posted on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 at 8:42 pm

Indivisible Fox Valley and Indivisible Kane County held a joint meeting today at The Finery in St Charles. They invited Jim Walz, 2016 Democratic Candidate for IL-14, and Corinne Pierog, 2016 Democratic Candidate for State Senate to speak.

I went to the meeting primarily to hear where Walz is on the issues, as I’ve now heard more than a few people propose him as the candidate most likely to take on Hultgren in 2018.

Although she spoke second, I think I will get to Corinne Pierog first. Pierog did not seem to be making a case for a next election so much as she seemed to be giving a bit of a primer for how it feels to run for office. She went over her several races and offered some advice for those thinking about running. To be honest, she lost me at “you have to get to the center” once you’re in office. I get her point – that a representative has to represent all of her constituents, once elected. I just disagree that you do that best by getting to the center.

Besides, as I said, I went mostly to try to get an idea of where Walz is on the issues as most people I know seem to think he will be running against Hultgren again, and most seem to think he will be the likely nominee. I think that remains to be seen, as I have now heard of three other candidates by name, and today heard a rumor of a possible fourth, with no name attached. I’m confident this would be an additional candidate, as the four I’ve heard named (if we include Walz) are all men, and this new rumor was about a woman candidate.

In any case, with this many names floating about this early, it appears as if it may be a very crowded primary field. I’m not ready to pick a candidate yet, but today I began to try to get a grip on who stands for what. Walz did not disappoint me, although I think it should be noted he stated he is not quite ready to declare. I think Walz is pretty reliably progressive on the issues. He only had two things to say that I questioned.

The first being that he indicted he would take a gradual approach to Medicare for all without expanding on how he’d bring that about. I had a chance to ask him after the event and he said he’d like to see the age lowered each year until everyone is covered. I think that’s a not unreasonable course, particularly if we were to immediately lower it for those 55 and older, as that’s precisely the group who are driving up the cost of Obamacare.

But it troubles me because I think at some point, while we are age-lowering, we are likely to once again see branches of government in control of those who’d like to stop that absorption of the entire population into Medicare. I think the process would always be in danger of being stopped by the next congress or the next administration.

The other item that troubled me was his statement that he would not decline all corporate contributions, but would rather decline selected ones, such as contributions from big pharma, oil companies – he managed to list virtually any corporation a progressive would have trouble with him taking cash from. Walz also committed to return any corporate contribution that slipped through his net of those deemed acceptable.

It may be unreasonable of me to think so, but I really do want to support a candidate who will refuse any corporate donations outright. I don’t want a representative who is only beholden to good corporations, I want a representative who is only beholden to his or her constituents. I think it’s very hard to get to be that rep if you accept corporate cash.

Still, I was, for the most part, pleased by Walz’ positions on the issues.

You can watch his remarks in three parts on YouTube, via the links below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

I will do my best to capture remarks from the other potential candidates as the opportunity arises. I want to thank Kane County and Fox Valley Indivisible for making this one possible!

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Science March – Tri-Cities – Earth Day 4.22.17

by , posted on Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 at 4:12 pm

I was at the Tri City version of today’s Earth Day Science March. It started at 11:00 a.m., stepping off from the Metra station and going to Island Park.

The first thing I noticed when I got to the assembly at the Metra station was the size of the crowd. I had honestly expected it to be thinner as many people I knew were planning on going into Chicago for that march.

If I had to estimate, I’d put the crowd at 500 plus.

The second thing I noticed were the dogs. There were many there, several sporting signs,

or t-shirts.

I took more than a few photos of signs, but here is one of my favorites on this Earth Day:

It was definitely a family affair. Lots of kids, in and out of strollers.

I am pretty sure I know this good reverend, but as I don’t think he recognized me, and I could have been wrong due to the sunglasses and hat, I didn’t press it. But I loved his sign anyway:

I took this shot of the March heading up Third Street in Geneva. From this vantage point it stretched three or four blocks ahead and at least three behind.

I took the video linked here on YouTube as we approached IL Route 38. The Geneva Police Department kindly blocked traffic to allow the march to cross. I still don’t know whether those who were honking were doing so in support of the Science March, or to object to the delay. I put the March at about six blocks long, so the lights cycled more than a few times before we all made it across, and we were crossing busy IL-Route 38, the only river crossing in Geneva. We definitely held up traffic.

We headed across the bridge and down the stairs to the bike trail leading to Island Park. If you’re not familiar with it, it is so named as it is an Island in the middle of the Fox River.

I took this brief video of some of the speakers before we all started to disperse.

As we were dispersing I met Katie, who is a science educator. I was speaking to John Rice, one of the leaders of Fox Valley Indivisible and she stepped up to us to ask him for information about how to get involved with that effort. I offered to text her info later, in exchange for a photo of her sign, which she graciously agreed to. Her sign is one of my favorites.

Most importantly, I see Katie’s desire to get connected to more ways to be involved is a sign that despite many predictions that the protests will peter out it’s still growing a movement out here. People really want to take back control of their democracy. It shows, again and again and again, in march after protest after meeting.

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Hultgren Q&A

by , posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2017 at 3:11 pm

I was at the Hultgren Q&A session at the Arcada on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. I actually went to the rally across the street, organized by Progressives of Kane County that was scheduled before the event, held a sign for a while, and really appreciated the passing cars honking in support. There were lot of attendees there from Fox Valley Indivisible, Action 14th District IL, Kane County Indivisible, and more, so i hope I have the actual organizer right. The rally was the only real opportunity the evening afforded to speak up – and appropriately and accordingly named the Hear Our Voices Rally – because the rules of the Q&A specified that only Hultgren was allowed to speak.

There were some really interesting speakers at the rally. Perhaps I should have been taping all of them, instead of holding a sign, but by the time I thought of that we were down to the last speaker and I just managed to catch the tail end of her remarks. You can watch that here on YouTube.

I was wavering about whether or not it was worthwhile to attend the Q&A where the rules allowed Hultgren six minutes for opening remarks, then three minutes to answer each question, but allowed the attendees to do nothing more than write questions down on cards. It was really more of a one-sided debate than anything, which may have been inevitable as it was coordinated by those perennial debate organizers, the League of Women Voters.

As the rally was winding down and while I was still trying to make up my mind, I thought I’d wander across the street and take some photos of the line, which I could see from my position across the street had already stretched around the corner and out of my sight.

I ended up taking video as I walked the length of the line as well. It’s here on YouTube.

After I had walked to the end of the line taking that video, I walked back to the front of the line, saw them say people could start going in, and walked back to the end and got in line. When I eventually passed in through the doors, they were telling us we could go up to the balcony if we chose. That caught my attention, as the theater seats 900, but the advance notices had said they would seat up to 800. As the advance notices also said the balcony would not be opened I figured that accounted for the difference. As you can see from this photo, the place was packed and the balcony was indeed occupied.

By the time the event started I could not see a single open seat, so I’d say there were at least 800 in attendance, and we might even have hit that 900 capacity.

I recorded the whole thing, with the exception of a minute or two dropped out due to inadvertently powering down my cell phone.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Again, I really think this was mostly just a one-sided debate. Audience members did provide the questions, and I want to give the LWV credit for choosing good ones out of the more than 400 they estimated were written. Once or twice they did do follow up questions as well, but for the most part it gave Hultgren all the opportunity he needed to recite his talking points. He did exactly that, often going off on tangents that were semi-related to the question, without answering the actual question.

I think it’s important that this event happened though, as there were several points where Hultgren was induced to give an answer about a position or a potential vote that we now have on record, such as the question about budget cuts wherein the moderator asked him for a straightforward yes or no answer to potential cuts to various programs.

In the meantime, I’d encourage everyone to keep calling, emailing, faxing, writing, doing whatever you can to push Hultgren to conduct an actual Town Hall. His contact info is here.

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Still No Hultgren – But Lots of Protests

by , posted on Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at 11:11 pm


This morning between 10:00 a.m. and noon I attended a healthcare rally. It was a little bit different than your standard protest. Rather than standing in one spot, groups of us were assembled on all four corners of Route 64 and Randall Road in St Charles, and when we had walk signals several of us would cross to another corner.

The ability to keep moving was an advantage in keeping our energy up, and in making sure those in cars stopped for the light got a good look at our signs, but it also helped to keep us warm. I had a lot of layers of clothes on, topped with my longest and warmest coat, two hats, two pairs of gloves, and was still freezing. I really think the fact that a couple of hundred of his constituents would spend their Saturday morning freezing to try to a message across would give Randy Hultgren pause for thought.

It was nice to see news crews from the Chicago stations, and photographers from local papers there, but I think the most encouraging part were the honks of support from passing motorists. They were constant. And I had not previously considered whether the majority of truckers were ACA supporters. Now I’m convinced of it.

Today’s healthcare rally was planned by Indivisible Illinois Congressional District 14…I think. I say that because there are so many of these groups mushrooming up that when I attended a meeting for Indivisible Fox Valley last week there were people there from two other groups and at one point we were discussing coordinating between the groups and it was decided that someone would first have to make a chart to figure them all out. And all of the groups I’m aware of have future rallies and protests planned. All of them.

I’ve named just two of the groups that I’ve interacted with in this post, but I know there are more, and I keep running into people I know, but not from any previous political effort of mine. Today I ran into a former co-worker. Last week I dog-sat for my downstairs neighbor so she could go to a rally at Trump’s place in Chicago.

I really don’t think these Republican constituent dodgers have any idea what they are up against. Their bubbles are thick indeed.

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Missing: Hultgren IL-14

by , posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Not that long ago I wrote about my Congressman’s attempts to kill me.  Since then I’ve joined in an ongoing game of “Where’s Randy?” with many — oh, so many — of my fellow residents of IL-14.  We’ve been calling his office, we’ve been visiting his office, we’ve been relentlessly commenting on his Facebook page with several concerns, but one unified message:  When’s your town hall Randy?

There has been a deafening silence in response to all of our Facebook pleas for a town hall.  Our calls to his office have yielded an array of answers from “no news on a town hall yet,” to “we’re looking for a venue, just let me take your name and number and we’ll get back to you when it’s scheduled,” to (and I am NOT making this up) “he’s leaving the country.”

Just now Randy the Elusive took the cowardly step of posting a recorded video to his Facebook page saying “I’m answering your most pressing healthcare questions from your recent phone calls, emails and meetings with me. Take a look.”

Yes indeed, please do take a look at the soon to be former Congressman Randy Hultgren reading cherry-picked letters and spouting vague talking points.

When you’re done with that, and if you are at all near the Chicagoland area, please do clear your calendar for this event on the afternoon of March 3.    

Guess Randy will be back from Africa by then.  We are working on a way to, er, greet Randy appropriately without disrupting this event for the Veterans attending, so if you think you can make it, please say so in a comment, or message me and I’ll respond with information about that.

Meanwhile, beyond spreading word of Randy’s cowardice I’m at a loss for how to get him to face his constituents, so any suggestions would be welcome.

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When your Congressman Tries to Kill You

by , posted on Saturday, January 14th, 2017 at 11:08 am

then sends you a perky email asking hultgren-200how you feel about that, I think it only courteous to respond.

Click below to see the text of my emailed response to Randy Hultgren:
Read the rest of this post »

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For Tom Hayden

by , posted on Friday, November 11th, 2016 at 10:36 am

Coming of age in the wake of Watergate, in the waning days of the Vietnam War, the student movement of the Sixties made a great impression on me, even if only a bit after the fact. Contrary to conventional wisdom, that

generation of activists was still very much on the scene as I began to become politically active myself in the mid-Seventies. And as I learned about that recent history, it was the founding generation of SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, that I identified with most. Tom Hayden, especially

Read the rest of this post »

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Superdelegates and the DNC Unity Reform Commission: An Outsider’s Inside Perspective

by , posted on Saturday, August 13th, 2016 at 2:21 pm

20160723_202251On the first day of the Democratic National Convention, the rules committee co-chairs, Barney Frank and Leticia Van de Putte, announced the creation of the Unity Reform Commission to the delegates of the convention.  Van de Putte indicated that this commission “received overwhelming support from all members of the rules committee.”  This was followed by glowing endorsements of the commission by Clinton delegate and DNC-appointed rules committee member Wellington Webb and Sanders delegate Diane Russell.  The message portrayed to the delegates in the convention and people watching at home was that the democrats were unified under Clinton and that the superdelegates would definitely be reduced by a full 2/3 in accordance with the will of the voters.  However, this glorified commercial left out important details of the commission and the process which produced it.

I was one of the three rules committee members from Illinois selected to represent Bernie Sanders.  At the rules committee meeting, 25 members were DNC-appointed (equivalent to the “superdelegates” of the rules committee).  The rest were apportioned by state according to the presidential share of the vote.  There should have been 187 total members, but some of them appeared to be missing as the total number of votes never approached this number.

All proposals were submitted by Sanders-appointed rules committee members.  The majority of us are lifelong democrats who wanted to improve our primary process for the future of the Democratic Party and believed strongly in the concept of one person/one vote.  Many devoted a large amount of time to preparing for the rules meeting and writing proposals for various rule changes.  There were about 50 proposals in all.  I myself submitted 8 proposals with the help of two separate groups of dedicated delegates and activists who contributed to background research on historical rule changes and also to the writing of some of the proposals.  So when I arrived the day of the rules committee meeting, I felt a real responsibility to accomplish significant change.  Clinton rules committee members and DNC members did not propose any rule changes.

Eliminating the superdelegates was the top issue for most of the Sanders rules committee members.  We knew this proposal might not pass in the rules committee.  However, if we submitted a minority report, we could have a debate and floor vote on this issue on the convention floor.  We already had the signatures we needed for the minority report.  It was important to do this to give this undemocratic issue a spotlight at the convention.  Also, if the proposal to eliminate superdelegates passed at the convention, it would then require only a majority vote of the DNC committee (rather than the normal 2/3 vote) to amend the Charter of the Democratic Party, fully eliminating them.  We wanted to fight for our delegates and our voters to have a voice. Read the rest of this post »

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