News & Events

June 5, 2019

Reflections from the past week:
Freedom across a river :
In the past week the Democrat controlled Illinois House and Senate passed an abortion rights bill that greatly strengthens the personal rights of women in our state. This welcome action comes at a critically important moment in America as a reactionary minority is doing everything it can to erase those rights. I congratulate our Illinois legislators for taking a stand to protect women within our borders. The bill now awaits Governor Pritzker’s expected signature.
The stated purpose of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) is to preserve a woman’s control of her reproductive health as a “fundamental right.” It repeals a 1975 Illinois law that included a range of restrictive elements such as requirements for spousal consent and criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions. The RHA also contains language that treats abortion as a personal matter of health care.
The contrast between what has just occurred in our state legislature and what recently took place across our southwest border in Missouri is stark. Their legislature has decreed that Missouri women will now have virtually no voice in critical decisions involving their reproductive systems. Basically, the instant an egg is fertilized the state controls the outcome.
Witnessing such a radical reduction in the freedom of people living just across a river from us reminded me of one of my favorite books, “Huckleberry Finn.” Huck and his slave friend Jim lived in a slave state within sight of a free state. By simply crossing the Mississippi River from Missouri into Illinois a slave could gain the right to be in control of his or her own body. – History sure does take some strange turns.
Illinois is hemp country :
Another hot topic in Springfield has been the further legalization of hemp production in our state. Illinois already had a 2018 Industrial Hemp Act legalizing its growth. Now the legitimization of hemp production in all of its forms opens up further opportunities for Illinois’ farm incomes. — Hemp loves Illinois’ climate and its soil.
But what intrigues me the most about this new acceptance of hemp farming is not the cannabis aspect. It is hemp’s potential for producing paper. Many years ago in America, hemp was a major source for our paper needs. In fact, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are printed on hemp paper. Its use faded for a number of reasons, not the least of which was pressures from timber interests.
Today, the positive long-term impact of hemp paper production on our environment would be tremendous. One acre of good old Illinois hemp could produce as much paper as 4 to 10 acres of trees over a 20-year cycle. Hemp stalks take just four months to mature, compared to years for even the softest of trees. Hemp paper also does not require any bleaching, so its production doesn’t poison the water with dioxins or chlorine like tree paper mills do. The reduction of environmental damage connected to logging would be one more plus.
And here’s a nice side benefit. The Koch Brothers and Wisconsin’s Uline family, two of the biggest conservative names in dark money sourcing, have made billions from paper products made from the thousands of acres of trees they harvest. Wouldn’t it be nice to know your future paper towels came from a farmer’s field in Illinois instead?
William Happer and Gen Z :
The other day I heard a couple things on NPR that, although not on the same show, had a depressing connection.
The first item was a profile of William Happer. He’s the scientist who now serves on the National Security Council as President Trump’s deputy assistant for emerging technologies. Mr. Happer is an outspoken critic of anyone who says increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are having an impact on the earth’s climate. (His doctorate is in physics, not climatology.) The coal and oil billionaires love and support this guy, but he is the last person our world needs talking into the ear of Donald Trump.
The other NPR report covered the varying levels of concern toward climate change held by America’s different generations — Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, etc. As you might expect, the younger generations are the ones expressing a greater sense of urgency as they look forward to an increasingly inhospitable environment. The youngest of these groups is Generation Z (anyone born in the last years of the 20th or first years of the 21st centuries.)
Gen Zs will be the middle-aged men and women striving to ensure a secure life for their families in the 2040’s and 2050’s. And unless serious action is taken now to slow down or even halt climate change, their world will be, at the least, a miserable place and possibly on the brink of collapse.
Today, smug self-deluding sellouts like William Happer hold influential positions that push us toward that scenario. Which leads me to this thought: What if labeling our newest generation with the last letter in our alphabet, “Z”, was a prescient act, also labeling it as the last generation to remember the world when it still held hope for its future?
We must not let that happen.

Nels Howard
NTD Member Since 1973
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 Night, 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 .
Tomorrow Night, 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
Tomorrow Night, June 6, 2019: Highland Park Reception With Kirsten Gillibrand

When : Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 6:45pm
Where : Private residence in Highland Park. Address provided upon RSVP
What : Please join Co-Hosts Dana Gordon and Steve Sheffey for a reception in support of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and her 2020 campaign for President.  Link to contribute or RSVP online . For more information or to RSVP please contact Wendy Heltzer at (312) 339-9513 or
This 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
Tuesday, June 18, 2019: Indivisible Evanston’s June Meeting

When : Tuesday, June 19, 2019 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where : Lorraine G. Morton Civic Center, Parasol Room, 4th Floor, 2100 Ridge Ave, Evanston
What : Indivisible Evanston hosts it’s June Monthly Meeting. The topic for this meeting is, “Fighting for election integrity – before it’s too late.” Presenters include: Jay Young, Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois, who will discuss “H.R.1 – A Roadmap for Fairer Elections”; and Georgia Logothetis, Assistant Director of Common Cause Illinois, who will discuss “Money in Elections – Leveling the Playing Field.”
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 .
Thursday, 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 .
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
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 .
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