News & Events

June 19, 2019

Keeping your post office
your post office.
Today, I read an article about a proposal announced by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The Postmaster General has a business plan draft that will be asking Congress to help the Service balance the agency’s books by making significant cuts to employee benefits for its 500,000 workers.

The proposal would trim paid leave, raise workers’ share of pension contributions, and shift new employees into less secure 401(k)-style retirement plans. The changes would amount to a cut in take-home pay for hundreds of thousands of workers while saving an estimated $18 billion on employee compensation over ten-years.
The proposal would also expand its “non-career workforce" -- temporary workers who are not eligible for the same pay and benefits as permanent employees. This would mean a further reduction in job opportunities that have long been steppingstones to the middle class for many Americans.
The article interested me for a couple of reason. First, I’ve used America’s postal service for a long time. I’ve appreciated their work since the days when I was mailing in cereal box tops for decoder rings and receiving envelopes filled with colorful foreign stamps, for my boyhood collection. I know I’m only speaking from my own experience, but postal workers have always come through for me. I think they earn what they’re paid.
The other reason I was interested in today’s USPS news item dates back to 1971. That was the year I had the experience of working on an ad campaign introducing the public to the “new” United States Postal Service. Until ‘71, the U.S. Post Office Department had operated purely as a government branch with all the sclerotic bureaucracy you’d expect in a system that originated with Benjamin Franklin. 
The old Postal Department became the new USPS, to be organized and operated like a business. Management responsibilities were tighter. New profit center development was encouraged. Postmaster promotions would no longer be political. If you proved you skills as a postmaster in a small town, you could set your sights on eventually moving up to a larger post office with more responsibilities and higher pay. Your progress up the career ladder would be based on merit.
Perhaps I was caught up in the hype, but as I visited a variety of postal operations, including Chicago’s gigantic post office spanning Congress Street, I felt I could sense a level of enthusiasm for the changes and modernization being introduced. My assignment lasted less than two years but I came away from it with a respect for how seriously postal workers take their jobs. --- That “neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow,” slogan rings true for me, much more so than any slogan General Electric or Chase Bank has ever thrown at us.
Nearly 50 years have gone by since the new USPS was introduced. During that time we’ve seen the arrival of computers in every home, and the Internet, email, electronic documents, cell phones, texting -- all alternatives to letter writing. We’ve also seen FedEx and UPS expand their services in profitable areas. Meanwhile, our nation's Postal Service has been required to deliver your letters and packages for the same rate whether it’s to Kankakee, Illinois or Kaklovik, Alaska. None of this has made operating like a “profitable” business any easier.
Bur here’s what has really made things tough. In 2006, under the Bush Administration, a new federal law forced the agency to set aside billions annually in advance funding for retirees’ health benefits, a federal agency requirement unique to the Postal Service. (Private sector companies generally fund retiree health care on a pay-as-you-go basis.) In fact, in 2015 the Obama Administration’s Postmaster, Megan Brennan, testified that the majority of the agency’s net losses over the previous years stem from that requirement.
For 36 years (1970-2006), the USPS paid its current retiree health benefits out of pocket without incident. The 2006 crippling of the Service’s ability to steady their finances was greeted with approval by many Republicans in and beyond congress – especially those who never saw a government privatization plan they didn’t like.
Today, in researching this subject, I quickly found several treatises saying the USPS was doomed with the only solution being privatization. Not surprisingly, the sources for those opinions included the Cato Institute and Forbes Magazine. Right now, Republicans like Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio are clamoring for a plan that would privatize our U.S. Mail.
But such an outcome is far from a fait accompli. Even the proposal to slash USPS worker benefits is still being debated. Nevertheless, Republican eagerness to see our government's Postal Service fade out of existence, replaced by a privatized for-profit postal system, has been around for years and will not go away. Will it ever happen? I hope not. But then, I never imagined we’d see so many American prisons privatized, and you can be sure Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wouldn’t mind a few thousand more privatized schools. – These folks will never give up on their vision for America. We must keep pushing back with ours.

Nels Howard
NTD Member Since 1973
Congratulations to
NTHS Senior, Alexandra Gjaja,
2019 Crowley Award Recipient
New Trier High School senior Alexandra (Alex) Gjaja of Wilmette received the ninth annual Wilbert F. Crowley Citizenship Award for exemplary community awareness, involvement, leadership and scholarship. The non-partisan honor is named for retired New Trier Township Democratic Committeeman Wilbert “Bill” Crowley and was presented by Dean Maragos. 

Alex Gjaja has among the highest ratings in grade point average, ACT and SAT, is a National Merit Scholar and will attend Princeton University this fall. She attended New Trier at Oxford to study Shakespeare, traveled to six continents, rowed on the Women’s Crew Team, sang in the school choir and plays piano and guitar. In addition, she was National Spanish Award Recipient for three years and won the gold medal. 

Because the Crowley Award acknowledges exemplary public service, Dean Maragos cited her involvement with the Wilmette League of Women Voters in interning and being an Emerging Leader, strengthening the chapter, registering students to vote and planning to create other chapters at Princeton and nearby universities.

Advisors, teachers and Crowley Award reviewers were highly impressed with her qualifications and spirit.  
New Trier Democrats' Events
Visit New Trier Democrats this Summer at Area Sidewalk Sales

Visit us at the upcoming Glencoe, Winnetka and Wilmette Sidewalk Sales. We would love to see you – whether to chat politics, sign up to become a member, check out local volunteering opportunities or fill out a political survey.

Glencoe Sidewalk Sale: June 29, 2019 from 9:00am to 3:00pm

Winnetka Sidewalk Sale: July 19, 2019 from 9:00am to 3:00pm

Wilmette Summerfest & Sidewalk Sale: July 20, 2019 from 9:00am to 3:00pm
July 22, 2019: New Trier Democrats’ Annual Meet & Greet

When : Monday, July 22, 2019 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
What : It’s our Annual Meet & Greet at Avli! We will have delicious Greek nibbles, refreshing drinks and lots of liberal conversation with fellow Democrats, office holders and candidates. This is a great opportunity to see your local representatives in person, as well as candidates running for office. Don’t miss this event!
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, June 20, 2019: LWV of Glenview/Glencoe’s Lunch & Learn on Gun Violence

When : Thursday, June 20, 2019 from 11:30am to 1:00pm
Where : Hackney’s, 1514 E. Lake Avenue, Glenview
What : Join the League of Women Voters of Glenview/Glencoe for an informative presentation, “Educating the Public On Gun Violence – How to Become Active in Prevention and Status for Legislation,” with speaker Sara Knizhnik from Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence Coalition. The cost is $20 per person, payable cash or check at door. Guests are always welcome. Questions? Contact Jane Ballengee at For more information or to RSVP,  visit their event page . Please RSVP by June 14.
Tomorrow Night, June 20, 2019: MWRD Commissioner Debra Shore’s Summer Solstice Celebration

When : Thursday, June 20, 2019 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Where : Erie Café, 536 W. Erie, Chicago
What : Come celebrate the Chicago River’s continuing revival at Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Commissioner Debra Shore’s Summer Solstice event. Free valet parking. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online .
Monday, June 24, 2019: IDCCA’s Second Annual Summer Brews

When : Monday, June 24, 2019 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Where : District Brew Yards, 417 North Ashland, Chicago
What : The Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association (IDCCA)  hosts Summer Brews, a Meet & Greet for Young Professionals. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online  or email Dan Kovats at or call 217-753-3380.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019: An Evening at the Chicago Cultural Center With Toni Preckwinkle

When : Tuesday, June 25, 2019 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Where : Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St, Chicago
What : Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President, hosts an evening at the Chicago Cultural Center. For additional information or to RSVP, email
Thursday, July 4, 2019: March in Local Parades with Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz

When : Thursday, July 4, 2019: Glenview 10:45am to noon; Skokie 11:45am to 1:15pm; and Evanston 1:45pm to 3:00pm
Where : Glenview, Skokie and Evanston
What : This year Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz will have the honor of marching in 4th of July parades throughout the 17th District. They would love to have you march with them as they celebrate America’s birthday! They will be marching in the Glenview, Skokie and Evanston parades this year, and would love to have you join Jennifer and her family at one or all of these parade locations. If interested,  please complete the RSVP to receive parade day details.
Bob Morgan
Tuesday, July 9, 2019: Rep. Bob Morgan’s Summer Kickoff

When : Tuesday, July 9, 2019 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Where : District Brew Yards, 417 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. Street parking off Ashland Green & Pink Line Station and the Ashland & Grand bus stop.
What : Kick off the summer with an evening in support of State Representative Bob Morgan. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online  or contact Joey Slater at 312-448-8014 or email
Wednesday, July 10, 2019: State Sen. Gabel’s Chief of Staff Available for Assistance

When : Wednesday, July 10, 2019 from 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Where : New Trier Township Hall, 739 Elm St., Winnetka
What : Robyn Gabel’s Chief of Staff, Karen McCormick, will be available to answer questions about State of Illinois services. Township residents and neighbors are encouraged to drop by during the scheduled office hours.
Tuesday, July 16, 2019: Rooftop Reception For Robyn Gabel

When : Tuesday, July 16, 2019 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Where : Five & Dime Rooftop, 1026 Davis St, Evanston
What : Join Robyn Gabel, Illinois State Representative for the 18th District, for her Annual Summer Reception. To RSVP or for more information contact Katy Langenfeld at 312-600-9496 or, or  register online .
Thursday, July 18, 2019: Youth Brain Trust’s Launch Party

When : Thursday, July 18, 2019 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where : Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N. Dunton Ave, Arlington Heights
What : The Youth Brain Trust is a progressive, student run non-profit focused on increasing civic engagement among youths. On Thursday, July 18th, The Youth Brain Trust will be officially launching at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Arlington Heights, IL. The event will take place from 7-9pm on the second floor. Free parking will be available downstairs. Speakers list will be released soon. For more information,  please visit their event page .
Need help contacting your
representatives in government?

Visit our website for a complete list of everyone who represents the residents of New Trier Township - from Federal to Village level - and links to contact them.
Still not a member of the New Trier Democrats?
Your participation in grassroots political action
will make a difference. Come join us!

When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process by: participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, and playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain  free admission  to select forums and events throughout the year.    

Come be a part of New Trier Township's grassroots political community.    
New Trier Democrats memberships are on a calendar year basis. We encourage our members to renew their dues annually every January.
Paid for by the NTDO-FED and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available on the Board’s official website ( or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.