Tenth Dems Founding Chair Lauren Beth Gash Honored with Democratic Party Builder Award in Springfield

By Randi Kugler

Attending the annual Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association (IDCCA) brunch on Thursday, August 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield was truly a wonderful and exhilarating experience.  This brunch is usually the year’s largest gathering of Illinois Democrats; this year’s crowd of more than 1800 set a new record. And the highlight for me was when our Founding Chair and former State Representative Lauren Beth Gash accepted the Party Builder Award.  This annual award recognized Lauren’s efforts to build Tenth Dems, Democratic township organizations, and other Democratic infrastructure that do grassroots politics, knock on doors, register voters, and get voters to the polls; the types of activities that help Democrats win on Election Day!

Hon. Lauren Beth Gash addresses the record crowd while accepting the Democratic Party Builder Award from the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association.

Accepting this prestigious honor, Lauren talked about Tenth Dems, and you can watch her give her speech here. Lauren noted that Tenth Dems recruits, energizes, and empowers volunteers who do the not-always-glamorous but highly consequential work of grassroots politics like organizing phone banks and canvasses, deploying an election protection team of attorneys to polling places, hosting expungement and sealing seminars, presenting knowledgeable speakers on a variety of political issues and also arranging informal discussions of such issues, sponsoring training for deputy voter registrars, showcasing local high school student authors in an annual poetry and prose contest, and much, much more.

Along with the rest of the Tenth Dems team, I am so proud of Lauren, a leader who has helped build a solid Democratic infrastructure in a once-red part of Illinois and a person who inspires with her passion and skill.

In addition to Lauren, speakers at the brunch included Keynoter Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth; and several Illinois elected officials.  All of the Democratic candidates for Governor of Illinois also attended the brunch.

I found the speeches to be inspiring and empowering as speaker after speaker reaffirmed our Democratic values. We are united and dedicated in working together to fight the good fight. All commented on President Trump’s failure to provide moral leadership and several said they were sickened by his lack of integrity in not calling what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, truly what it was—a rally of white nationalists and supremacists with intent to incite and cause havoc.

The Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association, a most important statewide organization for Democrats, was formed over 50 years ago to support the values of the Democratic Party through grassroots organizing at the local level. Their Democrats’ To Do List consists of expanding health care, investing in public schools, protecting reproductive rights, ensuring a living wage, fighting for organized labor, guarding civil rights, and electing a Democratic Governor of Illinois.

I am so proud to call myself a Democrat!  And I am especially proud to be a part of Tenth Dems!

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