The newly renovated Governors Mansion
Yes it’s that time of year again. Running from event to event as we prepare for yet another election season, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and sometimes even burnt out. But right now I’m feeling energized by all the positive things happening as we try to provide ever-better leadership in our community and across the state. Even tonight, as I finish one event (more on that next week) and prepare for more, I want to share what kept me busy last week.
This year as a new board member representing Will County on the Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association Leadership Circle, I have had the opportunity to share the concerns of the Democrats in our community with state-wide party leaders. It is also a time to reflect, most recently last Wednesday as we gathered during the state fair in Springfield. I didn’t make this trip alone or on the train, like my last trip downstate. This time, I took the former DuPage Township Chair Norman Brown along with me, and we talked at length about issues of concern here in Bolingbrook. We talked about how the election didn’t end last April when the votes were counted – because the platform that Bolingbrook United ran on continues to go unaddressed; we discussed that many here in Bolingbrook are just learning about the issues we raised in the election, but once they know and understand them, they are behind us on those issues.
I asked Norman why he was interested in coming to Springfield for Democrat Day, and he shared that he wanted to get fired up for November and the possibilities that election offers. Now, “all work” doesn’t make for a fun trip to Springfield, so we also did a little touring on the way. Stopping in Atlanta for a slice of coconut pie at the Palm Cafe was a highlight of the trip down. Sitting with Norman at the counter – watching him sipping his Root Beer soda the old fashioned way, out of a bottle – we fueled up for the day ahead.
I stayed at an Air B&B, which offered low cost and lots of charm. The owner was a Naval Reservist, younger than I would have expected for how much he has accomplished. I loved hearing the owner’s story about reclaiming the home from foreclosure and lovingly restoring it to its former glory. They just don’t make homes like his anymore and it was a privilege to be his guest.
I attended several events on Wednesday evening and saw lots of old and new friends. I heard many remarkable speeches, and a few of the highlights are below. At the end of the day I think Norman got his spark back; he commented that it is true, you need to be the change you want to see.
It’s time for Democrats to stop treating the presidency as if it’s the only office that matters. Republicans figured this out long ago; we need candidates for every office: school board, park board, and we need the party to support them.
Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker told us: “Illinois is ready to turn the page. We have some real challenges. Democrats will confront these challenges unafraid. We know the promise of Illinois outweighs the problems of Illinois. We have to fight to put Springfield back on the side of working families.”
Lt. Gov. candidate Juliana Stratton shared: “This election is about more than Bruce Rauner. It’s about who we are … the things we will fight for and the things that we care about as Democrats. And do you know what we care about as Democrats? We care about people!”
Comptroller Susana Mendoza also spoke: “As a woman in charge of paying the state’s bills, I know the numbers don’t lie. They tell the true story of the destruction” to social services and other state programs exacerbated by the mismanagement of the last four years. We literally can’t afford it any more.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who stepped in as headliner after former VP Joe Biden called in sick, continued this theme: “When the governor was handed lemons, he miraculously took those lemons and turned them into a dumpster fire.”
The people of our country have everything to do with making America Great – and nothing to do with “again” – because we are and have always been a great country.