News & Events


March 6, 2019
The Importance Of Elections
Next week, the League of Women Voters of Wilmette will host its “Municipal Candidate Election Forum” on Saturday, March 16 from 9:00am to 1:30pm.  The League invites all candidates running for office in contested races to participate and, following the forum, the League will host a “meet and greet” for all candidates running in uncontested races. 

The League doesn’t identify with any political party and describes itself on its website as “a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government.” And the local candidates who will be at the forum and “meet and greet” are all running for non-partisan offices. As chance would have it, the upcoming forum will be on a Saturday when I’ll be out of town. So if I’m not going to attend this event, and if it isn’t connected with the Democratic Party in any way, why am I spending time talking about it in this newsletter?

Glad you asked.


Throughout the more than 50 years of the New Trier Democratic Organization’s existence, the NTDO has maintained a “hands off” policy toward involvement in the many local non-partisan elections held in New Trier communities. We’ve refrained from officially endorsing local candidates and have never organized our members for precinct work in those local contests. Our organization has always felt that adding the heat of partisanship to local elections would likely be more polarizing than productive. And in our present hyper-divided times this position appears wiser than ever.

However…accepting the wisdom that local contests should stay non-partisan doesn’t mean that those of us who identify ourselves as Democrats or progressive Independents shouldn’t pay close attention to these local elections.

Every day, we’re exposed to media reports on issues at the state and federal level. But unless you’re personally focused on a specific aspect of our community life, — our zoning…our infrastructure…our parks…our schools — chances are the work being done by our locally elected boards isn’t on your radar. 

And that’s how we all like it. Yes, there are weekly community newspapers where we can check on how things are going. But most of the time, there are no issues generating serious controversy. In fact when things are running smoothly, our local boards becomes nearly invisible to a lot of us. That’s one big reason why local elections virtually never draw the same number of voters as state and federal contests.

Nevertheless, it’s seriously important that we pay attention to who we elect to these boards. 

Of course it would be foolish to seek-out local candidates who have identical philosophical profiles, people who will vote in lockstep on every issue. A diversity of sensibilities and experience in the makeup of our local boards is a healthy situation for shaping the smartest policies. But there are certain priorities and personal values that we should be looking for in every candidate we encounter. -- There are good reasons for this.

The potential always exists for a local board to be asked to vote on a policy that could affect the very fabric of the community. That may sound like hyperbole, but such situations do arise when a community’s most basic values — personal freedoms, human rights, elemental fairness — are put to the test. It might involve policy set by a village board, a school board, a library board; freedom and justice are key elements in virtually every aspect of an organized community. 

I imagine that’s why the League organizes its forums before every local election. Perhaps they recognize that there is always a danger that local government can be used as a starting point for the erosion of our nation’s most cherished principles. (It’s a tactic the far-right likes to use.) The best defense against that is knowledge about every candidate. Although the NTDO will not be participating in any local campaigns, we completely agree.

So mark your calendar for March 16. Set aside that morning and early afternoon to meet some of the women and men vying to take on the local responsibilities that make our North Shore communities great places to live.

Nels Howard 
NTD Member since 1973
Other Events of Interest
Inclusion in our "Other Events of Interest" List – whether it’s a fundraising event for a specific candidate or an event concerning a particular issue – does not mean that the New Trier Democrats have endorsed that candidate or adopted that position on an issue. 
Tomorrow, March 7, 2019: Celebrating Women of Illinois – Past, Present & Future

When : Thursday, March 7, 2019 from 11;30am to 1:30pm
Where : 65 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago
What:  The Union League Club and the Chicago League of Women Voters host Rebecca Sive, author of  Vote Her In . This widely praised book demonstrates how to break down the last barrier standing between American women and girls and their ability to fully realize their dreams of leadership. For additional information or to purchase tickets,  register online .
This Sunday, March 10, 2019: Go Green Wilmette’s Environmental Fair

When : Sunday March 10, 2019 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Where : Michigan Shores Club, 911 Michigan Ave., Wilmette
What:  Go Green Wilmette’s premier environmental fair draws more than 1,400 participants from twenty communities. Their theme this year is “Waste Not, Want Not,” and exhibits will help people learn about consuming wisely and wasting less. Explore more than 100 exhibits on: plastic solutions; saving energy; transportation choices; green landscaping; growing your own food; connecting to nature; protecting precious places; green home design; safe home & body products; solar energy; recycling tips and so much more. Find out how schools, park districts, libraries, congregations, village governments and environmental groups are all working together to make our communities and the world a more sustainable place to live. A special feature of the event will be the SkyDay Project, a creative initiative that turns photographs of the sky into engaging and interactive citizen art. Created by renowned artist, and Wilmette resident, Ben Whitehouse, the purpose of this project is to bring people together in support of our one, shared sky. For more information or to volunteer, visit  gogreenwilmette.org .
This Sunday, March 10, 2019: Winnetka Reception for Senator Dick Durbin

When : Sunday, March 10, 2019 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Where : Winnetka address provided upon RSVP
What : Bill Brandt and Patrice Bugelas-Brandt are hosting a reception for Senator Dick Durbin, who is running for re-election in 2020. You may click here to make your donation online or you may send your contribution to: Senator Dick Durbin, Durbin Victory Fund, 101 W. Grand, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60654. Please RSVP by March 7th to Nancy Kohn at nkohn@kohnconsulting.com or 312-527-3667.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019: Wilmette for Marie Newman Fundraiser

When : Tuesday, March 12, 2019 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Where : 631 Central Ave., Wilmette
What : Marie Newman has opened her Exploratory Bid for the Congressional 2020 race in IL-3. This event is a fundraiser for her in Wilmette. For more information or to RSVP, please visit this webpage .
Friday, March 15, 2019: ACLU 2019 Annual Lunch

When : Friday, March 15, 2019, 11:00 Registration and Reception; 12:00 to 1:30 Lunch and Program
Where : Hilton Chicago International Ballroom, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : The annual Chicago luncheon of The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). This year’s guest speaker is Vanita Gupta, former attorney at the ACLU and NAACP, and leader in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division under President Obama.  Purchase your tickets here .
Saturday, March 16, 2019: League of Women Voters of Wilmette’s Municipal Elections Candidates Forum

When : Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 9:00am to 1:30pm
Where : Wilmette Village Hall, 1200 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette
What : The League of Women Voters of Wilmette is hosting a Municipal Elections Candidates Forum. The schedule is as follows:

9:00 – 10:10am Village of Wilmette Board of Trustees
10:20 – 11:10am Wilmette Park District Board of Commissioners
11:20 – 12:10pm Avoca School District 37 Board of Education
12:30 – 1:30pm Meet & Greet Candidates in Uncontested Races (Invited candidates: District39 Board of Education, New Trier Board of Education, Wilmette Public Library Board of Trustees)
Monday, March 18, 2019: JStreetPAC Luncheon in Support of Sen. Dick Durbin

When : Monday, March 18, 2019 at 12:00 noon
Where : Kirkland and Ellis LLP, 300 North LaSalle St., 7th floor, Chicago
What : JStreetPAC hosts a luncheon honoring U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online  or email Taylor Onderko at taylor@jstreet.org.
Monday, March 18, 2019: Reception for Rep. Brad Schneider

When : Monday, March 18, 2019 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Where : The Highland Park home of Rebecca and Jon Carson, address provided upon RSVP.
What : An evening reception in support of Congressman Brad Schneider. The event promises an evening of conversation related to clean energy, climate change, and how we can move forward to tackle this critical issue. For additional information or to RSVP email Emanuela Frankel at Emanuela@schneiderforcongress.com or call 312-213-3588.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019: World Water Day Warm-Up Fundraiser for MWRD Commissioner Cam Davis

When : Wednesday, March 20, 2019 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Where : Sidebar, 221 N. LaSalle St., Chicago
What: From the event's organizers: “Help Cam launch his 2020 CAMpaign! Hons. Toni Preckwinkle and Karen Yarborough, Jack Darin of the Sierra Club and Bob Reiter Jr. of the Chicago Federation of Labor will serve as honorary co-hosts. We’ll toast with water and share some of our favorite write-in names from last year’s historic race as we get ready to run again, this year for a full six-year term.” For more information or to RSVP,  register here .
Saturday, March 23, 2019: How Fascism Works – The Politics of Us and Them

When : Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Where : Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave., Evanston
What : United for Democracy Now and the Chicago Chapter of Refuse Fascism sponsor Yale Professor Jason Stanley discussing his book,  How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them.   The presentation will be followed by audience Q&A and a panel discussion of strategies to stop this trajectory. Books will be available for purchase. Free admission with refreshments and free parking. For more information or to RSVP,  register online  or email March23HFW@gmail.com.
Monday, March 25, 2019: “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” Film and Discussion

When : Monday, March 25, 2019 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where : Northbrook Public Library, Auditorium, 1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook
What : A powerful documentary that tells the story of the everyday women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. A discussion will follow the screening.
Saturday, March 30, 2019: Personal PAC’s Spinning for Choice Fundraiser

When : Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Where : SALT Fitness Chicago, 1714 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago
What : Unique and entertaining fitness fundraiser encourages supporters of choice to join fellow spin enthusiasts to protect reproductive rights for the women of Illinois.  Please use this link to register .
Tuesday, April 2, 2019: Municipal Election Day
Remember to Vote!
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