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Tenth Dems on Hand to Celebrate Life and Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Barbara Altman

On January 15, Waukegan Township hosted its 16th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dreamers’ Breakfast at Lakehurst Banquets in Waukegan. Proud to be one of the sponsors of the event, Tenth Dems hosted three tables. Many more friends of Tenth Dems were seen at other tables throughout the crowded venue.

Food for the soul at the breakfast included both speech and music. Elected officials, clergy, artists, and others, gave inspiring speeches, including the 10th District’s own Congressman Brad Schneider. Hon. Marc Jones, Director of the Eddie Washington Center and Waukegan Park District Commissioner, spoke movingly about Dr. King’s life and legacy. Prominent Waukegan attorney Jed Stone, one of the leaders of the Tenth Dems legal team that monitors polling places every Election Day to ensure that everyone eligible to vote is allowed to vote, gave a rousing speech about inequities in our justice system.

The musical program was equally inspiring. Singers, dancers and drummers, and a gospel choir were among those who entertained.  All present also stood and sang together—first “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and later, with joined hands, several verses of “We Shall Overcome.”

Waukegan Township Supervisor Patricia Jones kept the program moving, and people left the banquet hall with the sense of community and fellowship that Dr. King’s life and legacy inspire—and the renewed hope that we shall overcome someday.

Meet State Representative Laura Fine (17th District)

By Mark DeBofsky

Laura 1Representative Laura Fine, who has served the 17th Legislative District as its representative since 2013, has long had an interest in politics.  Before taking the plunge and running for public office. Representative Fine was teaching political science at Northeastern Illinois University.  She then attended the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership, a program started by Loretta Durbin, which teaches the nuts and bolts of running for public office.  Other alumni of IWIL include Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), three other women who serve in the Illinois General Assembly, and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering.  Representative Fine was energized by her IWIL experience to seek elective office, and she first ran for Clerk of Northfield Township in 2008, a race she won. She is now the Democratic candidate for the Illinois State Senate District 9 position in the November 2018 election.

What really launched Representative Fine’s elective career, though, was a tragedy that hit close to home.  Her husband, Michael, was involved in a serious car accident, and the experiences that he and their family had in collecting their insurance following the accident focused Representative Fine’s interest in fixing Illinois’ broken Insurance Code. When Jeff Schoenberg decided not to seek reelection and Daniel Biss moved to the Illinois Senate, it left an opening in the 17th District, and Laura Fine won the seat.  Her goal in seeking the seat was to make changes in legislation regarding insurance and help others so that they did not have to go through the same experience that she and her family had to endure.

Representative Fine has taken on a heavy load in the General Assembly.  She chairs the Insurance (Health & Life) Committee in the Illinois House of Representatives, is Vice Chairman of the Mental Health Committee, and serves on the Appropriations, Higher Education, Human Services, and Insurance (Property and Casualty) Committees.

One of Representative Fine’s major accomplishments since her election was increasing mandatory automobile insurance liability limits from levels at which they had been frozen since the 1980s.  Because of legislation that she spearheaded, Illinois residents are required to have a minimum of $25,000 in insurance coverage for injury or death of one person in an accident, $50,000 for injury or death of more than one person in an accident, and $20,000 for damage to property of another in an accident.  Representative Fine has also passed legislation to curb delays in filling prescriptions while health insurers decide whether specific prescribed medications are covered.  She has also lowered barriers to obtaining prescriptions that necessitate trials of less expensive pharmaceuticals before a specific prescription is covered by insurance. Another legislative accomplishment of hers is mandating insurance coverage for necessary sedation to allow dentists to treat children with developmental disabilities who are under the age of 19.

Insurance issues remain Representative Fine’s principal focus.  She is concerned about the absence of support for pro-consumer legislation by the Illinois Department of Insurance, and the power of the insurance lobby to influence legislators to vote against critical legislation.  In the current term, Representative Fine plans to work for expanding insurance coverage for treatment of eating disorders.  She is also trying to implement meaningful rate review for proposed health insurance premium increases.  Currently, the Illinois Department of Insurance receives notification of proposed premium rate increases but lacks any power to curb excessive increases.  Representative Fine is also seeking to incorporate key provisions from the Affordable Care Act that are not already the law in Illinois into the Illinois Insurance Code so that those protections remain even if Congress repeals the ACA.

On the non-insurance front, Representative Fine is working on changing laws that regulate condominium associations.  She is also an environmental advocate and is seeking a statewide ban on the use of coal tar sealants because of very high levels of carcinogens in those products.  Coal tar has damaged our lakes and streams and exposure to this substance has caused deaths.  While several municipalities such as Highland Park, Wilmette, and even Milwaukee have banned coal tar sealants, a statewide ban is the only effective way of protecting the environment.  The American Medical Association has listed banning coal tar sealants as a priority, along with underage drinking and distracted driving.

With respect to Illinois’ budgetary problems, Representative Fine pointed to a “lack of trust.” She believes that the House and Speaker Madigan have been wrongfully blamed since they have passed budgets that Governor Rauner has vetoed.  While Governor Rauner publicly expressed his support for a “grand bargain” that would enable the passage of a budget, he blocked a vote to pass it.  Representative Fine also criticized Governor Rauner for claiming that he wants to work with the Democrats while he repeatedly refuses to do so; instead, he’s “all or nothing and the state is suffering as a result.”  Representative Fine added, “His [Rauner’s] two years of inaction have done more damage than the past 40 years to the state.” She also observed that Governor Rauner fails to understand that “government and business are different things.” The General Assembly “doesn’t work for him [Rauner]; they work with him” and serve as coequal branches of government.

Focusing on the future, Representative Fine is trying to make a positive difference.  Her philosophy is you “hang your hat on any progress you can make and hope that what you’re doing is going to help other people.”

Representative Fine is proud to serve her constituents and applauds other hard-working elected officials who represent constituents within the 10th Congressional District.  She also expressed her support for and gratitude to grassroots organizations like the Tenth Dems that help office-holders deliver “what’s best for our community.”

 

Deputy Voter Registrar Training in Libertyville

When: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 6:00pm

Where:  Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W. Winchester Rd., Libertyville

What: A training for Deputy Voter Registrars will be held.  Participants must be at least 18 years of age and registered to vote in Lake County.  The event is open only to Lake County residents who are interested in helping to register new voters.  Deputy Registrars must be trained in the county in which they live, but once trained, can register voters anywhere in Illinois.  Training takes less than an hour.

This training is being held through the County Clerk’s office and is free of charge.  Sign-ups will be taken up to 5 hours before the class starts.  In most cases, late sign-ups will not be added to the class.

For additional information or to RSVP, register online, e-mail volunteers@tenthdems.org, or call 847-266-VOTE (8683).

Watergate Prosecutor and MSNBC Contributor Jill Wine-Banks to Keynote Local Democrats’ Annual Awards Dinner

Deerfield, IL — The Tenth Congressional District Democrats (Tenth Dems) will hold its Annual Awards Dinner on Sunday, December 17, at 5:30 pm. There will be a buffet dinner for the event that will be held at the Hyatt Regency Deerfield, 1750 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield (I-294 at Lake Cook).

The Keynote Speaker will be Jill Wine-Banks, prominent Watergate prosecutor and frequent MSNBC contributor. Wine-Banks also led an effort to improve the military’s handling of sexual assault cases.

During the Watergate hearings, Wine-Banks played an integral role in questioning the events surrounding Richard Nixon’s secret tape recordings.

On cable news, Wine-Banks provides viewers invaluable insight into how a case can be built against a president and his aides, whether Nixon in the 1970s or Trump today.

In addition to the Keynote Speech, the Annual Awards Dinner will honor contributions to the group over the past year. The Mikva Leadership Award will be presented to Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

Tenth Dems is a grassroots organization that works to elect Democrats at all levels within Illinois’ 10th Congressional District, traditionally one of the most closely-watched districts.

For more information about the Annual Awards Dinner, go to www.tenthdems.org/jillwinebanks, email events@tenthdems.org, or call 847-266-VOTE (8683).

Lake County Republicans Raffle Assault Rifle to Finance Campaigns

By Lee Goodman, organizer, Peaceful Communities

Less than two weeks after the shooting massacre in Las Vegas, the Lake County Republican Party raffled off an assault rifle and other guns in order to raise money for their campaigns. More than 100 outraged residents showed up in the Village of Kildeer on very short notice to protest this grotesquely insensitive disregard for public safety. When a reporter asked whether the protest was partisan, my response was “No.” I explained that if the Democratic Party had held a similar event, I and many others would be at that protest, too. But, I added, the Democratic Party in our area does not give guns out to whoever holds a winning ticket, and I feel confident that it never will. The Democratic Party is in touch with the desires of the vast majority of Americans here and all over our country who want fewer guns in circulation and more effective laws to prevent gun violence.

Immediately after the worst mass shooting in recent history, the White House and the NRA were quick to say that we should not talk about solving the problems that guns cause in America. They said that it would be politicizing the tragedy. But their own Republican Party had no hesitation to go ahead with its gun raffle to raise money for political campaigns. Despite a public clamor to cancel the raffle, they persisted. The chairman of the Lake County Republicans told reporters that he believed, as the NRA does, that there is no way to prevent shootings.

In the Trump era, many Republican voters like to pretend that they are more moderate than their party is. But the leadership of the Republican Party in Lake County has, by their intransigence on the issue of guns, shown that it is solidly aligned with the anti-social policies their party promotes at the national level. It would have been easy to cancel the Lake County raffle, but they refused.

Some people question the value of protests. In this instance, the protest attracted the attention of virtually all area news outlets. The result was that the Republican Party had to publicly answer for its actions, on the record. Voters who care about the damage guns are doing to our country now have the facts, and they can be expected to hold accountable all Lake County Republican candidates, because all of these candidates are benefiting from and supporting a party that auctions off guns like carnival prizes.