News & Events

May 1, 2019

Tic Tac diplomacy
So yesterday we witnessed a startling political event: A cordial meeting between President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. In fact it was so cordial that reportedly President Trump offered Speaker Pelosi a Tic Tac -- and she accepted!

Does this mean we are entering a new era of bi-partisan cooperation where what’s good for our country comes first? I wouldn’t count on it. The narrowly partisan priorities of Mitch McConnell will likely torpedo any outcome that could reflect even slightly well on Democrats. And who knows where President Trump will stand on all this if he starts feeling too much heat from future investigations.
Nevertheless, Tuesday’s Tic Tac detente could mean that some groundwork is being laid to create greater public awareness of a critically important issue. It’s an issue that, unlike desperate refugee families at our border, truly is a serious national emergency. — America’s infrastructure is in dangerous disrepair and harmfully outdated.
On Tuesday the president, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer arrived at a general agreement to direct two trillion dollars toward updating America’s infrastructure. Their openly worded accord was possible because the three of them know this is an issue that crosses party lines.
Across America there’s not a state, “red” or “blue”, that doesn’t need major infrastructure repairs. It’s been more than half a century since most of our interstate highway system was built and many more decades since our railroad system was at its best. Our highway and railroad bridges are really starting to show their age. (The U.S. rail system has over 100,000 bridges.) We’ve seen several highway- and rail-bridge disasters. The next one is just a matter of time.

The water delivery systems in many of our communities need modernization. It's a matter of health safety.

And our nation’s electric grid is also a big part of this scenario. It is in need of huge upgrades. A few years ago the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the entire energy infrastructure a barely passing grade of D+. With that in mind we should not only face the fact that we need a power grid that is not just more efficient, but much safer from foreign meddling. – After 2016 I don’t think anyone could say such concerns are unfounded.
Modernizing the electric grid will also be needed to modernize our rail system. Sooner or later climate change pressures for cleaner air will force the switching of much of America’s nearly 100% diesel fueled rail system to electric power. And sooner would be better. (Among EU nations the average percentage of railway lines using electricity is over 53%. In some European countries it’s much higher.)
And of course, upgrading our electric grid could and should include raising the percentage of electricity drawn from wind and solar sources. I’m sure this will incite a battle from the carbon lobby but this should be part of the infrastructure package.
Back in President Obama’s first term, in response to the Great Recession, the president proposed rebuilding 150,000 miles of road, laying and maintaining 4,000 miles of rail track, restoring 150 miles of runways and advancing a next-generation air-traffic control system. A Republican controlled congress blocked Obama’s initiative, and I don’t know how much if any of those improvements were ever begun. Now, perhaps some of those promising plans could be pushed in today’s Democratically controlled House.
It is true that the trajectory of economic improvement President Obama initiated has put us in much better shape than we were in 2008. But for a large number of Americans, including, I imagine, virtually every member of congress, an infrastructure initiative today promises lots of potential jobs. Jobs for people who feel the growing economy has passed them by. If it’s done right, infrastructure revitalization can lead to the re-industrialization of formerly productive areas of our country.
It all sounds good, doesn’t it? But success of this initiative faces steep odds. I’d like to think that both the Republican and Democratic Party leaders do want to see a big infrastructure program begun. Sadly, I’m also pretty sure both sides are calculating how this discussion and the disagreements it generates can benefit their candidates in 2020, whether or not anything is enacted.
There is an overabundance of cynicism ruling our national politics these days. (It’s hard to avoid in this Trump era.) But this endeavor should be taken as a serious proposal, worthy of an honest effort. If we do nothing, in the coming years the United States’ position as a world leader will be unnecessarily weakened. Bringing America’s infrastructure up to speed with the rest of the modern world is in our nation's best interests.

Nels Howard
NTD Member Since 1973
New Trier Democrats' Events
Thursday, May 16, 2019: New Trier Democrats’ Spring Networking Pop-Up

When : Thursday, May 16, 2019 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
What : Let’s get together and talk politics! New Trier Democrats invite you to join us for drinks, mingling and conversation. Here’s a great opportunity to network with like-minded people in our area and form connections with other Dems and activists. Drinks will be available for purchase. This event is not a fundraiser – It’s just an opportunity to have fun and meet other area Dems as well as some of our local representatives.
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. 
This Friday, May 3, 2019: Emerge America Candidate Boot Camp

When : Friday – Sunday, May 3-5, 2019. Time provided upon RSVP
Where : Chicago location provided upon RSVP
What : The 2019 Emerge America National Candidate Boot Camp is an intensive three-day program to give women the training they need to run and win campaigns up and down the ballot. Curricula will include the following topics presented by top political strategists and trainers: Developing a campaign plan, Fundraising, Messaging, Communications and Press Operations, Public Speaking, Grassroots Field Campaigns and much more! Tuition covers training, materials and food. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online  or email
This Friday, May 3, 2019: A Conversation With Marqus Cole, Georgia Congressional Candidate

When : Friday, May 3, 2019 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Where : The Anderson residence, 888 Elm Place, Glencoe
What : A fundraiser for Marqus Cole of Georgia. Attend a small gathering over appetizers, drinks, and conversation. Come learn what’s taken Marqus from Lake County to Georgia and what he’d like to do in the U.S. House of Representatives once he’s there. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online .
This Saturday, May 4, 2019: A Safe Place 7th Annual EmpoweRun 5K

When : Saturday, May 4, 2019 (Registration begins at 7:30am; Race starts at 9:00am)
Where : Independence Grove Forest Preserve, 16400 Buckley Road in Libertyville
What: Get your team together and run or walk the scenic trails of the forest preserve. All runners receive a t-shirt, goody bag, and access to family fun activities. All proceeds raised that evening help A Safe Place continue to provide lifesaving services for survivors of domestic violence.  Link to register now.
This Saturday, May 4, 2019: Human Trafficking Community Forum

When : Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 10:00am to 12:00 noon
Where : Evanston Township High School – Upstairs Theater, 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston.  Entrance #2, Parking lot #2
What : North Shore (IL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, hosts a forum addressing how community organizations are working to identify and tackle trafficking channels. The event will feature a discussion with Pamela Young Samuels, attorney and NAACP award-winning author of  Anybody’s   Daughter , a novel   which takes readers inside the disturbing world of child sex trafficking. The event is free and open to the public.
This Saturday, May 4, 2019: CASA Silver Anniversary Gala

When : Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 6:00pm
Where : InterContinental Chicago, 505 Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Lake County holds its Silver Anniversary Gala celebrating the people who helped CASA change the lives of over 2,000 abused and neglected children over the past 25 years. The evening features cocktails, dinner, music, dancing and auctions. Special guest speaker: Alison Myers, former Lake County CASA child. For more information or to purchase tickets,  register online.
This Saturday, May 4, 2019: NAMI CCNS Annual Gala Puts Childrens’ Mental Health First

When : Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 6:30pm to 10:00pm.
Where : Michigan Shores Club, 911 Michigan Ave., Wilmette
What : NAMI CCNS (National Alliance on Mental Illness Cook County North Suburban) holds its annual gala. Guest speaker: AJ Mendez, former WWE wrestling champion and author of the New York Times bestseller,  Crazy is My Superpower . The event features food, music, raffles, auctions and entertainment. Proceeds go to fight childhood suicide and support mental health programs in the Chicagoland area. Meet & Greet AJ Mendez from 6:00 – 7:00pm. For additional information or to purchase tickets,  register online   or call 847-716-2252.
This Sunday, May 5, 2019: The Stevenson Center on Democracy Hosts “Building MLK’s Beloved Community”

When : Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 2:00pm
Where : The Stevenson Center on Democracy, 25200 N. St. Mary’s Rd., Mettawa (Libertyville)
What : A team from the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago will speak about their work building safe, peaceful and just communities. Director of Programs Chris Patterson will describe Nonviolence Chicago’s background and initiatives; Kejuan Scott, a participant, will talk about how Nonviolence Chicago and the READI program have positively impacted his life; and Teny Gross, the Executive Director, will tell us about Nonviolence Chicago’s role in building and supporting the city-wide collaborative architecture of violence prevention and intervention services.  Register here , and for more information regarding this event contact Tara Dabney via email at
Monday, May 6, 2019: Jan Schakowsky’s Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch With Nancy Pelosi

When : Monday, May 6, 2019. Registration opens: 11:30am, Luncheon and program: 12:00 noon to 2:00pm
Where : Hilton Chicago International Ballroom, 720 South Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : Join Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky at her 18th Annual Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as Keynoter.  Register online. For more information, call Sarah Gersten in Jan’s office at 847-424-1998 or email
Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Indivisible Evanston’s May Meeting on Healthcare

When : Tuesday, May 7, 2019 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where : Lorraine G. Morton Civic Center, Parasol Room, 4th Floor, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston
What : Join Indivisible Evanston for its monthly meeting and find out how you can take action to resist the Trump agenda in 2019, as well as how you can help support progressive legislation and candidates for office. Their May meeting will feature an in-depth look into Healthcare with Panel Speakers: Leslie Combs, District Director for Jan Schakowsky; John Berryman, Physicians for a National Health Program; and Graciela Guzman, Protect Our Care IL. All are welcome to come, learn, and to get involved! For more information or to RSVP, visit  their Facebook event page .
Wednesday, May 8, 2019: Rep. Robyn Gabel’s Chief of Staff, Karen McCormick, Available For Assistance

When : Wednesday, May 8, 2019 from 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Where : New Trier Township Hall, 739 Elm St., Winnetka
What : Chief of Staff Karen McCormick will be available to assist township residents and neighbors who have questions about State of Illinois services. They are encouraged to drop by and visit during the scheduled office hours.
Thursday, May 9, 2019: Environmental Advocacy Day 2019

When : Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 6:00am to 6:00pm
Where : The bus is departing from the St. Joseph Catholic Church Formation Center, 112 North Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville
What : Join supporters of the Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club and Faith in Place at The Capitol in Springfield for the 2019 Environmental Lobby Day for an energizing rally with inspiring speakers.  Information Link for Mandatory Registration .
Thursday, May 9, 2019: Women Employed Hosts “The Working Lunch”

When : Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 11:00am to 1:30pm. Networking reception: 11:00am; Program: 11:45am
Where : Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Ballroom, 151 East Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago
What : Come to “The Working Lunch” for an energizing conversation with influential leaders about manifesting and celebrating the power of women from the boardroom to the ballot and beyond. For additional information or to purchase tickets,  register online .
Thursday, May 9, 2019: North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic’s 2019 Spring Event – “Opening Doors”

When: Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 6:30pm
Where: Greenwood Restaurant, 200 Green Bay Road, Highwood
What: Join the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (formerly Highland Park – Highwood Legal Aid Clinic) as they celebrate their 4th Anniversary. Please join them in helping to make access to justice a reality for those in need by supporting their 2019 Spring Event “Opening Doors,” where local business and civic leaders, the legal community and Clinic supporters will come together to celebrate and support the Clinic. The event will include a reception, a featured speaker, raffle prizes and a silent auction. For more information or to register,  visit their event website page .
Friday, May 10, 2019: A Safe Place Hosts Wine Women & Shoes 2019

When : Friday, May 10, 2019 from 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Where : Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, Ten Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
What : A Safe Place hosts its third annual Wine Women and Shoes fundraiser. The event features unlimited wine tasting, a multi-designer marketplace, charming Shoe Guys serving up must-have items on silver platters, raffles, silent and live auctions, and other attractions. Proceeds support the work of A Safe Place, assisting victims of domestic violence. For additional information or to RSVP,  r egister online .
Friday, May 10, 2019: Chris Hayes Headlines Environmental Law & Policy Center Gala

When : Friday, May 10, 2019, 5:00pm: Cocktail reception; 6:00pm: Dinner and program; 7:30pm: Dessert reception.
Where : Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Atlantic Ballroom, 221 N. Columbus Drive, Chicago
What : The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) holds its 2019 Gala with special guests: MSNBC host Chris Hayes and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. For additional information and to purchase tickets,  register online .
Monday, May 13, 2019: League of Women Voters of Cook Co.’s Annual Meeting With Assessor Fritz Kaegi

When : Monday, May 13, 2019; 9:30am: Registration, Coffee/Muffins; 10:00am: Annual Business Meeting; 11:30am to 1:00pm: Buffet Luncheon
Where : University Center, Lake Room, 525 S. State St., Chicago. Directions and parking info at
What : LWVCC holds its Annual Meeting and Luncheon. Featured speaker at noon: Fritz Kaegi, the new Cook County Assessor. All members of Leagues in Cook County (and friends) are welcome. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online  or email or call 312-939-5935.
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