The 2018 Election cycle is well underway in every county in Illinois. You can see it in every county as volunteers are going door to door to get signatures to help get candidates on the ballot.
The energy is infectious. You can’t help but feed off the optimism from a first-time candidate. Learning from the grizzled veteran as they masterfully walk their precinct pointing out where the Democrat doors are. Seeing an energized base of Democratic voters coming together to resist Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump.
We know that the time to sit on the sidelines has past. Each of us must play a more active role in helping to build the Democratic Party. We must knock on some doors, make a couple of calls to our neighbors or host a meet and greet for local candidates. We can no longer sit back and think that someone else will do it. We’ve got to get involved.
A large part of how we build the Democratic Party is with down ballot candidate recruitment. Every County Chair must play a central role in year-round recruiting of potential candidates. Currently we should have petitions out for County Clerk, County Treasurer, Sheriff, Regional Superintendent of Schools and County Board. If you don’t have candidates in for these races, please let us know immediately so that we can assist with recruitment.
The office of Democratic Precinct Committeemen will also be on the Democratic Primary ballot in 2018. Currently we have over 8,000 Precinct Committeepersons statewide but close to 3,500 remain unfilled. Every County Chair, elected Democrat, Labor leader, Resistance volunteer and activist should be helping to find candidates to run for these offices. Precinct Committeeperson is the most important elected position in politics because these are the people who want to build the Democratic Party.
We also cannot forget about the 2019 Municipal Elections. These are the lesser known but arguably more important School Board, City Council and Park Board races. County Chairs should be identifying potential candidates now so that they are starting to lay the ground work for a campaign in the future.
No Republican in Illinois should go unchallenged in the upcoming elections. There are too many energized Democrats in every county for that to happen.
We also must be more than just anti Bruce Rauner or anti Donald Trump. We must stand for something and show voters that we are going to fight to change things. A great example of this was the school funding bill (Senate Bill 1) that was signed into law this summer. Democrats led the way to ensure that public school funding is based on the needs of the community and not the zip code. Our children will have the resources and funding no matter if they live in Barrington or Bartonville.
Democrats also helped to protect a women’s right to choose (House Bill 40). With a mad man in the White House and an unpredictable Supreme Court, Illinois Democrats took the lead to make sure that women will still have access to safe, legal reproductive healthcare.
Bruce Rauner has also vetoed the Debt Transparency Act (DTA) that was supported by Comptroller Susana Mendoza. This legislation calls for State Agencies to report what unpaid bills they have on a monthly, instead of yearly, basis. This isn’t a partisan issue and has broad support on both sides of the isle. Democrats have led this effort to bring more transparency to state government and I’m confident they will override this veto.
I hope you are excited about the 2018 Election. We have a lot to be proud of as Democrats and we will be out there talking with our neighbors about what we stand for. I hope you’ll join us.