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Hands Off Our Health Care

By Barbara Altman

The Republican Party is poised to turn back the clock on the American healthcare system. It’s wrong and we can’t let it happen. Here’s just some of what’s at stake if Republicans have their way:

  1. Preexisting conditions. Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan want to take us back to the bad old days when health insurance companies could delve into individuals’ health histories and use what was disclosed (or not disclosed) to deny coverage.

  1. Preventive care. No-cost preventive care helps keep people healthy and also helps keep overall costs lower.  After all, it’s far less expensive to cure cervical cancer discovered by a Pap test than to treat a patient with terminal cancer.

  1. Protection against crushing costs. Right now, there are certain limits on how much patients can be forced to pay out-of-pocket annually. Similarly, insurance companies can’t deny payments once somebody’s costs reach a number made up by the insurance company. Americans should be protected against losing their homes because of one catastrophic illness, and insurers should not be  allowed to withdraw benefits when they’re so badly needed.

  1. Medicaid. Health care for pregnant women, children, the disabled, the working poor, and older Americans is essential. We can’t turn our backs on each other.

As a volunteer navigator who has helped citizens enroll in health insurance plans since the first open season in 2013, I know these key features must be preserved if we’re going to save lives and prevent long-term harm. It’s the right and responsible thing to do. Republicans in Washington either don’t understand or don’t care.

Local Democrats Accepting Summer 2017 Internship Applications

Contact: Lauren Beth Gash
Phone: (847) 266-VOTE (8683)

Deerfield—The Illinois Tenth Congressional District Democrats (Tenth Dems) is now accepting applications for its Summer 2017 Internship Program. The internship is a substantive program designed for high school, college, and graduate students seeking an opportunity to become deeply engaged in the political process.

Tenth Dems is a grassroots political organization that helps mobilize voters and interest groups in one of the most widely watched and intensely contested congressional districts in the country.

Interns work some more

This is the ideal time to complete a political internship as candidates begin preparing for the 2018 mid-term election. Assignments include staffing of events and issue forums, door-to-door canvassing with candidates, working in campaign offices, and conducting research. In the past, Tenth Dems interns have staffed events for candidates and elected officials up and down the ballot, including then Senator, now former President Barack Obama and Senator Dick Durbin, among others. Tenth Dems has also held events featuring frequent cable news contributors John Nichols and Karen Finney. Interns may also choose to complete specialized assignments in new media, IT management and political outreach.

Internships are unpaid, educational positions; however, course credit is available from some high schools and colleges.

“This is an opportunity to learn about a grassroots political organization and to develop important skills,” said former State Representative Lauren Beth Gash, a Tenth Dems leader. “Many of our interns have gone on to law school or other graduate programs, as well as paid political positions with local campaigns, and jobs in Springfield, Washington, and with national not-for-profit organizations.”

stevenson interns

Acceptance into the program is selective, competitive, and contingent upon an interview. Applicants do not need to reside in the 10th District; however, applicants must have an interest in electing Democrats, be able to travel to our offices, and devote a minimum of 16 to 20 hours per week to the internship. Applicants should submit a brief paragraph explaining why they would like to be part of the program, along with a resume summarizing their educational background and activities. Neither need be formal.

To apply or request more information, email Lauren Beth Gash at, or call (847) 266-VOTE (8683). You can also “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@tenthdems).

Tenth Dems Prominent Host at Women’s Power Lunch

L. to r., former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Tenth Dems Founding Chair Lauren Beth Gash, Professor Allison Gash, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

Tenth Dems’ good neighbor, 9th District Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, hosted her annual Women’s Power Lunch on Friday, May 5, at the Chicago Hilton.  Tenth Dems showed up in full force, filling a block of five tables, while many more of our members could be found at other tables all across the massive grand ballroom.

The room was packed, with our own Congressman Brad Schneider among the many elected officials present.  Illinois Senator Dick Durbin spoke briefly, sharing his concerns about the dysfunctional Trump administration and its Republican enablers. 

As always, the program was extraordinarily energizing.  Jan’s Keynote Speaker, the dynamic former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, was amazing as she spoke of importance of protecting our environment, even as the Trump administration threatens to undermine existing protections.  “Pollution is not partisan. Everyone’s lungs need to be protected,” Administrator McCarthy proclaimed to a fired-up audience.  Alluding to rumors that the Trump administration is planning to close the EPA’s Chicago Regional Office, McCarthy exhorted these dedicated public servants (her “peeps,” she called them) not to give up, to stay with the EPA and continue to fight for our planet.

A video of the lunch is available here.


When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go to Mar-a-Lago

By Steven Gan

Do you remember the knee-jerk call and response at Trump rallies? Trump would yell out several times to his supporters, “Who’s going to pay for the wall?”  Raising fists, the crowd would shout with one voice, “Mexico!”

That Trump would bring the Mexican government to its knees and make it pay for his big, bad, beautiful wall was just one of the fantastical promises that propelled him to the presidency.

In view of Trump’s 100 days of failures, reversals, and flip-flops, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that we don’t hear much about Mexico paying for the wall anymore, let alone how this monstrosity is even going to be built. Note that Trump never did explain exactly how we were going to force Mexico to foot the bill. But to Trump’s supporters, these annoying details were beside the point. All they cared about was the anti-immigration sentiment behind creating an impenetrable fortification.

Although it was fun while it lasted, now, as the rubber meets the road, some cold hard facts are coming into focus.

One of these facts, ironically, relates to statements by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who is backing off Trump’s promise to build his version of the Great Wall of China. “You see, the border is complicated,” Zinke said back at the end of March when speaking to the Public Lands Council.  He elaborated:

“The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall? We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”

And then there’s the annoying fact that most of the land in Texas that’s along the Rio Grande is privately owned.  The folks who own the land are not planning to sell cheaply, and they won’t allow the government to take their property (through eminent domain) without a fight that could take years.  A number of these landowners, some of whose families have owned land bordering the river since the 18th century, are vowing to stand firm no matter the legal costs.

And did we mention the cost of the wall itself? Trump claimed at first that he could build the structure, everything said and done, for less than $10 billion. Now it’s estimated at $25 billion. But even if it’s $100 billion, don’t worry, because the Republicans will cancel social programs like Meals on Wheels that feed and support millions of poor Americans in order to pay for it.

Speaking of high costs to the government, let’s not forget Trump’s weekend jaunts down to the “southern White House” to escape from a week of dealing with all the world’s problems that he bragged only he could fix.  As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough go to Mar-a-Lago.

But those of us opposed to any investment in an expensive new border wall can take heart.  So far, Trump has reversed course on the importance of NATO, U.S. involvement in Syria, whether China is a currency manipulator, and more, so it’s likely that in time his grandiose border wall, with all of its immense challenges, will become just one more forgotten promise.

Young Authors Inspired by Theme of Service

By Jeanine Chyna

From Dr. Seuss and Chance the Rapper, to the TV series Shameless, the high school students who participated in the 7th Annual Tenth Dems Poetry & Prose Contest found their inspiration for the theme “Service” in a variety of sources. At this year’s Awards Night, held on April 18, some of the more than 120 high school students from Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion who participated in the contest read their original poems and essays to an audience of family, friends, and other members of their communities.  Congratulations went out to the students whose work placed first, second, and third, earning them awards of $250, $150 and $100, respectively, as well as to the six students who earned honorable mention and received $10 gift cards.

See all photos on Facebook.

The Poetry & Prose Contest and Awards Night exemplify Tenth Dems’ belief that politics is about more than just elections and that Democrats’ goals of improving our community, our state, and our nation can be achieved in a variety of other ways—including nurturing the talent of our youth.

Most of the 12 student authors whose work was recognized as outstanding by the judges were present on April 18 to read their prize-winning works and accept framed certificates and cash awards.  Several other students also came to the microphone to read the poems and essays they submitted to the contest, including Ada Rios, a 9th grader at Cristo Re Saint Martin High School in Waukegan, and Rita Adejudge and Hans Richardson, both 10th graders at Waukegan High School.

Waukegan Park District Commissioner Marc Jones, a member of the Waukegan community whose resume reads like the embodiment of this year’s theme of service, was the emcee.  As he introduced each student reader, Marc put them at ease with his warmth and natural charm.  Taking his own turn to read, Marc shared a poem attributed to Mother Teresa that includes the following inspirational lines:

“The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.”

The evening began with brief opening remarks by Elizabeth Albert, a Tenth Dems volunteer and poet who was a driving force in organizing the very first Tenth Dems Poetry & Prose Contest seven years ago, and Barbara Altman, Managing Vice-Chair of Tenth Dems, followed by a warm welcome from Waukegan’s Mayor-elect, Sam Cunningham.  Next, poet and author Jacqueline Harris, who led the judging of this year’s prose, introduced 10th District Congressman Brad Schneider.

Congressman Schneider commended the young authors and their families for their creativity and participation before he, too, read a poem, “No Man Is An Island” by John Donne.  Lines like, “No man is an island entire unto itself” and “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am a part of mankind” from this 17th century work spoke directly to our 21st century ideas of service.

Asked later about the evening, Congressman Schneider said, “The annual Tenth Dems Poetry and Prose Contest in Waukegan is a great event, and I’m so glad I could join this year. At a tumultuous time when so many critical issues are at stake, it was great to hear thoughtful and inspiring original works from our young people on the theme of service. A big thank you to the Tenth Dems for organizing this night.”

Congratulations to all who participated, and to this year’s awardees, listed below:


1st place, Alanna Phillips,”This Strange Work”

2nd place, Bianka Lewis, “7:15 Every Morning”

3rd place, Jared Medina, “Stained Glass”

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order):

Joshua Avila, “Looking for Help”

Lily Holevoet, “Ice Cream Truck”

Dominic Nelson, “Life as we know it”


1st place, Kasandra Camarena, “The Girl Without Service Hours”

2nd place, Iris Sanchez, “Knowledge is Hope”

3rd place, Ranee Sanford, “Servitium”

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order)

Jennifer Aguilera, “A Helping Hand”

Julissa Medina, “Our Future”

Michelle Unda, “Importance of Service”