I want to let our Tenth Dems family know that one of our founders, Nancie Blatt, passed away. Nancie and I were very close, and I loved and will miss her very much.
I send condolences and love to her daughters, Lauren the First (I’m the Second) and Stephanie.
Services were held on Monday, February 27, at Weinstein & Piser Funeral Home, 111 Skokie Blvd., Wilmette.
Because Tenth Dems was such an important part of Nancie’s life, her daughters have asked that contributions in her memory be made to the Tenth Dems Nancie Blatt Memorial Fund.
Nancie and I worked together on Democratic campaigns and attended numerous fundraisers, rallies, etc. over the years, and we shared family events. I enjoyed our regular trips to Kankakee to visit one of her daughters, Susie, who sadly passed last August. These trips gave us time to talk, but we also planned meetings, phone banks and the like during the drive. It was time I treasured.
I first met Nancie when I was walking door-to-door in one of my early campaigns for State Representative. I knocked on her door, and she told me that she’d been meaning to call me because she wanted to volunteer in the campaign. I was so relieved to find an enthusiastic supporter and immediately asked if I could use her bathroom, which she agreed to (whew). Sorry for that detail, but it’s really true! 🙂 The next day, she started to work with us, and quickly became one of our best volunteers. She later worked in my State Rep office helping with constituents and administration. Nancie was a very valued member of my staff, as well as a very cherished friend.
A few of us talked about starting a group like Tenth Dems, and we consider our “formal” beginning to be on October 14, 2003, when ten of us met in a living room in Highland Park. That living room was Nancie Blatt’s. We were ten people who were not happy with the direction in which the country was going, and we wanted to do something about it.
We came up with a name, came up with a logo, started a website and a newsletter, and with that, we were ready to recruit others. Our mission was (and still is) to elect Democrats at all levels of government. We sure have grown from that time — into a “real group,” as some of us have said — and Nancie was a critical part of that growth. She organized volunteers, served as our Treasurer, and helped us with, well, everything.
We are a grassroots group with tons of volunteers. We set up Tenth Dems University to train volunteers and candidates and to educate voters. In our Let’s Talk Politics sessions we give voters a chance to sit down and talk and plan about the issues of the day. Our motto is that politics is not just about elections, but about making our communities and the world a better place. We do job interview workshops, provide meeting space for community groups, and hold a Poetry and Prose Competition for high school students.
We’re proud of the fact that hundreds of volunteers we brought into the political process are working on making the world a better place in political campaigns, serving as precinct committeepeople and as Democratic township chairs. Some have run phonebanks. Some have managed political campaigns. Some have run for political office…and some have won. We are building the Democratic Party in this area from the grassroots up.
This has been a hard week for me. As some of you know, I lost my mother-in-law, Estelle Garmisa, with whom I was very close. I was fortunate to have her for all 33 years of my marriage, until last Sunday. At 93 years old, Estelle canvassed with me for Hillary in Wisconsin last year. Losing Nancie, another mother to me (who was also a partner over numerous campaigns for so many candidates and causes), in the same week is tremendously painful.
I’ve lost a great friend and someone I considered a family member with Nancie’s passing. Tenth Dems has lost a foremother who helped build what we are today. In her honor, especially at this time in our history, we will redouble our efforts to fight on for our shared Democratic values.
Nancie, I love you. Very very much.
Lauren Beth Gash
P.S. Because Tenth Dems was such an important part of Nancie’s life, her daughters have asked that contributions in her memory be made to the Tenth Dems Nancie Blatt Memorial Fund.