Posts tagged ‘Illinois’

Matt Brolley IL-14 Candidate Revisited

by , posted on Friday, April 28th, 2017 at 2:55 pm

On Tuesday I attended the monthly Kane County Democrats meeting and unexpectedly encountered two candidates, Matt Brolley and Victor Swanson running for – or in Brolley’s case still considering running for – Congress in IL-14. Since I know there’s a lot of interest in who might run against Hultgren, I’d previously profiled Jim Walz, and had previously heard these two had addressed the McHenry County Dems meeting, I quickly took out my cell phone, captured video, and posted about Brolley on Wednesday and Swanson on Thursday.

Almost immediately after I put up that Brolley post I received an emailed tip to the effect that Matt Brolley does not live in IL-14. He resides in IL-11, and that he pulled Republican ballots in 2010, 2014, and 2016. The tip had included some pretty strong evidence, but I wanted to investigate a bit further, at least to the extent that I gave Brolley a chance to respond.

I emailed Brolley at his Village of Montgomery email address, but because I am aware that elected officials can’t use municipal email or resources for campaign-related reasons, and I was concerned an inquiry about his voting record might fall under that category, I also went looking for another contact, preferably a campaign-oriented one. All I was able to find was this Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Brolley4Montgomery/

I didn’t think it ideal to send such an inquiry via Facebook message, but I did, and as it turns out it really is ideal, because Facebook messages have this handy “seen” feature.

So, while I have not received a response to my detailed inquiry to either Brolley’s Village email address, or the Facebook message, I know that the Facebook message was seen on Thursday at 11:10 a.m., precisely nineteen minutes after I sent it.

As it is now well more than 24 hours later I have to conclude that I can expect to receive no response. I had asked for verification of both facts – residency and the history of voting as a Republican – in both of my inquiries, as well as inviting Brolley to offer any comment he might have to make. As I have seen some pretty solid proof and he isn’t responding I have to think this information most likely is true.

If so, it’s giving me pause for thought. Much pause.

The IL-11 bit does not bother me all that much, frankly, as the last redistricting drew many, many people I knew out of IL-14, including a lot of them who worked like crazy on John Laesch’s candidacy in IL-14 in two successive elections. Hell, it drew John Laesch out of the district, Bill Foster promptly moved out of it to run in IL-11, and for all we know the next redistricting (coming right up!) is going to draw them both right back in.

Considering how that line is wobbling I don’t really think being out of it this year is any more of an ethical disqualifier than it is a legal one, which is to say it is not at all. I haven’t looked at it since it was redrawn, but if my memory serves me correctly I myself could move across the street and be out of IL-14. Nothing to say someone that close can’t just move back in, which doesn’t even strike me as nearly as egregious as Foster moving from Batavia to Naperville to get into the better district that was custom drawn for him.

The Republican ballots are another issue. Sure, living in this sea of red in an open primary state I know Dems who pull Republican ballots in primaries because there are no Dem candidates on the ballot, and because they think they can do more good as Dems by weighting a Republican primary one way or another. Could be the case in Montgomery most years.

But 2016? Really? Anyone else remember how tight and hotly contested the Bernie/Hillary contest ended up being here? What’s that you say? All of you? Right. I know I worked my tail off for Bernie in Kane County. So, yeah, I have a hard time buying Brolley pulled a Republican primary ballot in 2016 and is nevertheless a Democrat, much less a progressive.

But since Brolley isn’t responding, I guess we will all just have to draw our own conclusion. I know what mine is.

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Victor Swanson IL-14 Candidate 4.25.17

by , posted on Thursday, April 27th, 2017 at 2:46 pm

The other candidate I heard speak at Tuesday night’s Kane County Dem meeting was Victor Swanson. Swanson is a teacher in Batavia, and is, as far as I know, the only Dem candidate who has actually declared. The others I’ve encountered are still hedging a bit with statements to the effect that they are very near declaring. You can find Swanson’s website here.

As was the case with Matt Brolley, Swanson briefly addressed the Kane Dems monthly meeting on Tuesday night. As was also the case with Brolley, I approached Swanson after the meeting to ask my two-question progressive litmus test.

I found Swanson to be much more eloquent in a one on one conversation than he had been in his two-minute speech, which encourages me to believe he will become more polished in his public appearances as he goes through the campaign. He strikes me as intelligent and well-spoken, well able to think on his feet. Swanson immediately indicated he is a single-payer advocate, and in fact spoke passionately about relatives with pre-existing conditions.

When asked whether he would accept corporate donations, Swanson instantly responded “I know the answer you want to hear, but I can’t give it to you.” He went on to say he’d read my post about Jim Walz and knew from reading it that I wanted to hear that he would not accept corporate donations, but felt he could not make such a commitment, as Hultgren had spent half a million dollars during his last race.

Well, he’s right, I did want to hear that he would reject corporate donations. I am still waiting to hear that from an IL-14 candidate. And while I’ve noted that it’s my progressive litmus test to seek a candidate who is more interested in representing me than corporate America, I am of the opinion that taking that stand will come with it’s own set of advantages. Not least of these is the simple fact that the Dem who takes IL-14 will have to fight an uphill battle against the district’s demographics, so will need all the help he or she can get taking Independents and even making inroads into Hultgren’s Republican base.

I keep hearing that “the energy is so high” and I acknowledge that, but am also very aware that IL-14 was drawn – by Democrats – as a Republican vote sink. The Dem who takes IL-14 away from Hultgren is going to have to figure out some common ground to appeal to Independents and Republicans, without bursting that balloon of Dem energy.

I can’t think of a better issue to do that with than an opposition to corporate money in politics. It’s about the only issue I can ask all my friends and neighbors – apolitical, Independents, Republicans, Democrats, Progressives, Tea Partiers, you name it – about and hear in answer “yes, I want my representative to represent me.”

Best way I can think to pull Independent, and even some Republican, votes over is to take a strong “I’m only accepting donations from individuals, I want corporate money out of politics and that begins with a strong stand on that in my own campaign” position. Followed quickly by a lot of finger-pointing at Hultgren’s corporate masters, naturally.

I think it’s a strategic error for any Dem running in IL-14 to act otherwise as, barring some major Hultgren scandal, it’s about the only issue all sides routinely agree – fervently – upon, and you can’t win with Dem votes alone here – not even if your high energy turns out 100% of them.

So, yeah, I’m still waiting for that progressive candidate who can take advantage of that issue to turn IL-14 blue.

Meanwhile, here is the video of Swanson’s remarks:

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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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School Board President Annette Johnson verbally abuses District 131 Staff

by , posted on Monday, April 18th, 2016 at 5:48 am

This is an audio file of District 131 President Annette Johnson verbally assaulting and threatening district employees.  When I was elected, I had heard rumors of this kind of behavior, which Annette’s supporters call, “passionate.”  But, this smoking gun proof is downright scary.

There should be no room for bullying – students bullying each other, teachers bullying students, administrators bullying staff and, the board bullying either staff or administration.

Please sign my petition calling for Annette Johnson to resign.

Sadly, District 131 has had enough bad ink spilled over Ms. Johnson’s antics.  And, my preference was to resolve this issue quietly.  I asked Ms. Johnson to resign.  She said that she would not. So, our only hope now is that we put enough community pressure on her to vacate her position on the board.

Annette is a lawsuit waiting to happen.  Worse yet, if District 131 board members are serious about finding a new administrator that can move the district forward, they need to recognize that it will not happen as long as this reckless behavior is driving the district’s decision-making.  For the good of the district, I will happily remove this post when she resigns.

People gave me a hard time when I called on Denny Hastert to resign in 2006 after he covered up sexually inappropriate behavior between Representative Mark Foley and a young male page.  I know that where there is smoke, there is typically fire.  It turns out that I was right about Denny Hastert.

And, I am confident that the tape recording of Ms. Johnson is not an isolated incident.  If you have witnessed this kind of behavior with Ms. Johnson, feel free to leave an anonymous post.  If you have the courage to share it with the rest of the board, better yet.  I recognize that Johnson uses terror-tactics to drive fear into those she seeks to control.  Indeed, she verbally assaulted me one night after I voted against her wishes over the expulsion of a kid.

Or, feel free to contact me or any other board member if you have experienced this kind of behavior – 630.878.7454.

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Challenging the right to work for less in Oswego

by , posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 at 8:29 pm

On Tuesday night, March 31st, the people showed up to participate in the democratic process in Oswego. The Village President put a resolution on the agenda for discussion to support Mr. Rauner’s so-called “turn around”

agenda. The 100 plus people in attendance were not pleased that the Village President would want to support this anti-worker policy. Most of the comments related to Mr. Rauner’s right to work for less zones euphemistically called “enterprise zones”.

Ten to fifteen spoke on the issue and not one supported it. Many were from Oswego but citizens came from all around. DuPage, Will, Lake, Cook, and Kane counties were represented. There were at least twenty unions represented by some seventy union members which shows that the unions know how much damage Mr. Rauner wants to do to the working people of Illinois.

Some comments touched on the illegality of local right to wage slavery zones. Others talked about Mr. Rauner’s stated desire to destroy Unions. Still others talked about the value and importance of a decent middle class wage to stimulate

and strengthen the economy. If middle class wages are destroyed from whom will Oswego collect tax dollars? If middle class wages are destroyed who will shop in Oswego’s stores? Contrary to the common rhetoric the true job creators in America are working people that have money in their pockets to spend in their community.

Pay attention this resolution will be coming to a town council, county board, school board, etc., near you. Stand up and fight back against this unbridled attack on the working people of Illinois.

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Dennis Anderson begins string of town hall meetings in bid to win U.S. House seat in IL-14

by , posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 at 8:25 pm

To unseat what essentially is a ghost incumbent in the 14th district of northern Illinois, Democrat Dennis Anderson has decided to take his message to the people of the district by holding 20-25 town hall meetings. In St. Charles on Tuesday, Anderson said the only thing that will prevent more meetings is securing venues to hold them.

This is Anderson’s

second run for this office and he feels he learned a lot from the previous loss to make him a much stronger candidate. Anderson, who is now retired, said he is not looking for a career in politics. He vowed to do his best to address the issues of the day and if the voters of the district liked his accomplishments they would return him to office. With approximately fifty voters in attendance, Anderson limited his opening comments to a brief history of his past. After that he began taking questions regarding his views on every possible issue facing the nation today.

Here’s a synopsis of issues raised and his view regarding them:

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Dennis Anderson for Congress “Town Hall Tour” Stops in St. Charles

by , posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Baker Community Center is Site for Open Public Forum on Tuesday, June 3

Dennis Anderson, Democratic Candidate for Illinois‘14th U.S. Congressional District, will hold a public town hall forum on June 3rd from 7:15 to 8:30 PM at The Baker Community Center, 101 S. 2nd Street. All constituents in the Tri-Cities are invited to attend and encouraged to bring questions for the candidate.

The Anderson Campaign is observing

the time-honored American tradition of the open political town hall forum as a highly effective way for candidates to directly talk to constituents regardless of party affiliation. The St. Charles Town Hall is open to all and scheduled in the evening to meet the needs of working constituents. The campaign will hold town hall meetings throughout the District for the entire the campaign season.

Throughout the country – including here in the Illinois 14th – we’ve seen a reluctance on the part of incumbents to participate in unscripted public forums with constituents, particularly in joint forums with their challengers. The Anderson Campaign believes that town halls are a valuable opportunity for candidates and constituents to meet and to hear from one another.

Upcoming town hall tour stops include Sandwich, Antioch, Warrenville, Elburn, Gurnee and Plainfield. For more on future town hall dates, go to: http://www.dennisanderson14.com/calendar_of_events

A resident of Gurnee, Illinois, Dennis Anderson is the Democratic candidate for the United States Congress for Il-14, a seat currently held by Republican Randy Hultgren.

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Thanksgiving Walmart Solidarity Action at Aurora Walmart – Pay a Living Wage

by , posted on Friday, November 29th, 2013 at 8:20 am

About 35-40 activists braved the cold on Thanksgiving evening at the Walmart on the corner of Butterfield Rd. and Kirk Rd. in Aurora, IL.   Thanks to the Northern Illinois Light Brigade (NILB), we had beautiful, lighted signs that shoppers and ongoing traffic could see.  The signs read, “Living Wage Now!” and “Fight for $15”  You can check out some of the photos that will eventually be loaded to the NILB Facebook page.

The action was peaceful and our really cool lighted signs earned a number of honks from holiday travelers.  There was a bit of controversy when we approached the Walmart store.  A number of security guards attempted to stop us from taking up a spot in front of the store and told us that “we had to leave now or they would call the police.”  We stayed for 3-5 minutes and chanted, “Low Pay is not OK” and “hey-hey, ho-ho, the poverty wages have to go!”

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Unions of Illinois Unite–Our Families Are Counting on You

by , posted on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Okay Union leaders, Union members, Everybody and Anybody else who cares about Illinois families, get out of your comfort zone and get to work. The time for sitting on the sidelines is over.

We need to endorse another candidate to run for Governor. Quinn/Vallas would be a disaster. A Republican would be a disaster. We can no longer fear what traditional Democrats will think–or what traditional Republicans will think–if we ‘rebel’ against our ‘traditional’ party lines. They have both abandoned us in support of a corporate-driven tax loophole culture which is cannibalizing our schools and our state. We need to think of our children and their future in Illinois. Our kids are counting on us.

All of us who care about the education of our children, our tax burden, and the maintenance and structure of our beautiful state’s infrastructure need to open our eyes. We have a real crisis brewing and we cannot live in denial any longer.

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Quinn Picks Republican Running Mate

by , posted on Saturday, November 9th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Who will you vote for on Nov. 5, 2014 if you are given the choice between voting for a Republican (pick one) and a Republican (Paul Vallas)?  Yep, Pat Quinn picked a Republican as his running mate, further alienating working people, minorities and women from the Democratic Party.

Four years ago, Vallas told host Jeff Berkowitz on the Public Affairs cable TV show that he’s now a Republican.

VALLAS: “I would take a Republican primary ballot.”
BERKOWITZ: “Do you think of yourself as a Republican?”
VALLAS: “I’m more of a Republican than a Democrat.”
BERKOWITZ: “If you run again for office you’d be running as a Republican?”
VALLAS: “I would, yes, yes.”

It gets better

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