News & Events

May 15, 2019

A statement on abatement
Last week I spent a day in Springfield as part of a group gathered from across Illinois. It was composed of mosquito abatement professionals, university and health department scientists, representatives from respected insect control firms and at least one abatement district volunteer-trustee — me. We were in the state capitol to touch base with our respective state representatives and senators about the serious and continuing need to protect Illinois residents from diseases spread by mosquitos and ticks.

And this week…I’m pretty much doing the same thing for two days in Washington D.C., with a much larger group of abatement advocates from every corner of the United States.

So why am I talking about this in a New Trier Dems newsletter? Well, the other day it struck me that my involvement with progressive politics and my interest in battling insect borne diseases has more in common than I had realized.

The first similarity that I thought of was how often over the years we abatement advocates have had to regularly counter misconceptions and exaggerations about what we are doing. Not too many years ago one of Chicago’s newspapers (you can guess which one) carried several guest editorials about the foolishness of tax dollars being squandered on tiny little mosquitos. — Then Zika came along and the vocal critics apparently gained some perspective. (West Nile should have been their wake up call.)

Misconceptions, exaggerations and downright stupidity have also been an enemy of progressive politics. Remember the “death panel” outcry when Universal Healthcare was proposed years ago? And how about America's measles epidemic? — One more self-destructive result of conservative willful ignorance. Unfortunately, combatting untruthful accusations from reactionaries is a battle progressives are used to. But, as Stephen Colbert has said, “Facts have a liberal bias.”

A second parallel I’ve now perceived is how my political priorities and my mosquito interests share a number of common concerns. I’ll give you three examples.

Climate change: Mosquito abatement is feeling its impact with the appearance of insect-borne diseases in parts of America that were previously untouched. And climate change is also a political issue screaming for progressive legislation.

Health care: It is, of course, important to mosquito abatement; protecting the public’s health is the entire mission. And politically, having a nationwide public health system that can recognize the arrival of new insect-borne threats should be a progressive goal.

Higher education: Our country’s mosquito abatement efforts are going to require more entomologists expert in the study of vector borne disease. And politically, the efforts of progressives to open up education opportunities for thousands of bright young Americans is the obvious solution.

So as you can see, although I’ve been dividing a lot of my retirement years between thinking politics and thinking mosquitos, it hasn’t been a schizoid endeavor. In fact, I’ve concluded that both have been abatement activities. Sure, the targets were different but I think abatement is part of every progressive Democrat’s agenda.

For example, every Democrat I know wants to abate the widening gap between Americans who have no fear for their future and the millions of Americans whose families have lost the sense of security they once enjoyed — America needs Shrinking-Middle-Class Abatement.

And how about abating the stranglehold Mitch McConnell has on our democracy’s throat in 2020. The USA needs MMA! — Mitch McConnell Abatement.

But the best abatement activity of all will be when the role Donald Trump plays in our nation and the world gets reduced to zero. One way or another, I think we’ll see that day and our democracy will be much healthier for it.

Nels Howard
NTD Member Since 1973
New Trier Democrats' Events
Tomorrow Night , 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 Saturday, May 18, 2019: Run As You Are 2019 Candidate Training

When : Saturday, May 18, 2019 from 10:30am to 5:00pm
Where : WeWork, 20 W. Kinzie, Chicago
What : VoteRunLead, in partnership with Facebook and WeWork, holds #RunAsYouAre2019: National Training, a day-long workshop for women who want to run for office and support other women who want to run. VoteRunLead’s “How to Run for Office” trainings will be in 20 cities across the country, led by their nationally certified trainers. Speakers include alums and current elected officials State Representative Joyce Mason and Skokie School Board Member Bushra Amiwala (who is also the youngest Muslim to be elected to public office in the US!). A light breakfast and lunch will be served. For additional information and to RSVP,  register online .
This Sunday, May 19, 2019: Brad Schneider’s “Congress on Your Corner”

When : Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 1:30pm
Where : Highland Park Public Library, 494 Laurel Ave., Highland Park
What : Congressman Brad Schneider will answer questions from constituents and update attendees on his work in Washington. The event is open to the public.
Tuesday, May 28, 2019: Reps. Schakowsky & Schneider Host Hiring Event

When : Tuesday, May 28, 2019 from 10:00am to 1:00pm.  Doors open early at 9:30 for veterans
Where : Oakton Community College, Tenhoeve Room, 1600 E. Golf Rd., Des Plaines
What : U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (IL-10) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) host a hiring event featuring more than seventy local employers with current openings at all experience levels, who will be on-site to meet with job seekers. The event will feature workshops for attendees. Partners include the Illinois Department of Employment Security, National Able Network and Oakton Community College. For more information, including a list of participating employers, and to RSVP,  register online.
Thursday, June 6, 2018: Evanston Fundraiser For Marie Newman

When : Thursday, June 6, 2019 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where : The Home of Candance Chow, Evanston – address provided upon RSVP
What : A fundraiser event for Marie Newman, candidate for Congress in Illinois’ 3rd District. Marie is challenging Daniel Lipinski in the 2020 Democratic primary. For more information or to RSVP,  register online .
Thursday, June 6, 2019: ICHV Race Against Gun Violence

When : Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 6:30pm
Where:  Arvey Field, Grant Park, Chicago
What : Illinois Council against Handgun Violence (ICHV) holds its 5th annual Strides for Peace featuring an 8K run, 5K run, 2-mile walk and Tots for Peace Sprint. Proceeds support ICHV’s mission to stop gun violence. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online or email
Friday, June 7, 2019: End-of-Session Town Hall With Rep. Robyn Gabel

When : Friday, June 7, 2019 from 10:00am to 11:30am
Where : Glenview Park Center, Lakeview Room, 2400 Chestnut Ave., Glenview
What : State Rep. Robyn Gabel holds a town hall meeting to tell what has been accomplished in Springfield this session and all the work yet to be done.
Thursday, June 13, 2019: Jewish Council On Urban Affairs’ Acts Of Change Dinner

When : Thursday, June 13 at 5:45pm
Where : Galleria Marchetti, 825 W. Erie St., Chicago
What : The JCUA holds its 2019 Annual Acts of Change Dinner honoring Rabbi Capers Funnye. For additional information or to purchase tickets,  register online  or contact Jill Katz, Director of Development, at 312-663-0960 or email
Wednesday, June 19, 2019: Sister District Project’s Winnetka Wine, Dessert & Skype Fundraiser With Alex Askew

When : Wednesday, June 19, 2019 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Where: Home of Lisa Flanagan (Address provided after RSVP)
What : Join Sister District Project for an opportunity to learn about the crucial importance of state legislatures, and to meet their candidate,  Alex Askew ! Alex, candidate for the 85th District of the Virginia House of Delegates (Virginia Beach), will join them by Skype at 7:45 pm. Democrats are just one seat down in both the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate. Sister District is helping candidates like Alex win so they can flip both houses of the legislature blue. Virginia is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. The legislature that is elected in 2019 will redraw district maps for the next decade. For more information or to RSVP,  register online .
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