Very sad News.
Yesterday I received the news that Sharon Pietrzak-Suzda, our NTDO office manager had passed away. Sharon had been battling lung cancer for the past year and amazingly until just a few weeks ago was still holding the office operation together remotely from her home. On hearing the news of her passing, Bill Crowley, former New Trier Democratic Committeeman said, "I was particularly touched by both her strong conviction and her serenity." -- That goes double for me.
Sharon's strong belief in the underlying values of the Democratic Party, something she held throughout her life, made her a vital part of the NTD organization. As a kid, she grew up on Chicago's Southeast side, among steelworker families. So at a young age, she was involved in political and public activities in support of working people. Her lifelong feelings about such issues came through in the many conversations I had with her. When she saw examples in the news of inequity, hypocrisy, selfishness it made her blood boil.
Sharon became our office manager in September of 2014. Her studies in business management and sociology and her years of experience in the workplace, including a number of years as office manager for State Senator Jeff Schoenberg, made her more than equipped to handle any crazy situation that might appear in our political operation.
Personally, Sharon was a giving, caring person. And no doubt she and her husband Frank passed those values on to their son and daughter who Sharon always spoke of with pride.
Although Sharon was a salaried employee of the NTDO, she provided an equal amount of her time as a volunteer. In recognition of that, last year at the NTDO Annual Dinner Sharon and Frank jointly received the New Trier Democrats' Volunteer of the Year Award. Sharon Pietrzak-Suzda will be missed by all of us who knew her. In the NTDO office, she will never be completely replaced. And she will always be remembered as an inspiration to the NTD Executive Board as we keep trying to improve our organization's capabilities to the level she believed was possible.
for the NTDO Exec. Committee
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings to interview Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee to be our next Supreme Court Justice. I confess I have watched very little of those hearings, actually before the first hour was finished, I was finished watching. Of course, having public hearings is certainly better than holding secret hearings, or none at all.
The Senators sitting on the panel were elected to represent their constituents in this very important vetting for a lifelong Supreme Court appointment. So we all should have access to these proceedings. But in my naïve view, I wish it wasn't such a pro forma partisan "dance." Lots of heartfelt statements from Senators, pro and con, for the record back home. Lots of non-answers and generalities from the nominee so there's no honest picture of what America can expect. And at the end of the dance, Judge Gorsuch will in all likelihood get the votes he needs.
True, over the years there have been serious debates among the Senators over whether or not a nominee would be a bad choice to sit on the SCOTUS. Clarence Thomas made it onto the Supreme Court despite an undistinguished judicial record and believable evidence that he was ill-equipped to deal with any issues concerning the opposite sex (let alone the sharing of his Coca Cola). While Robert Bork, missed getting onto the Court because enough Senators were convinced that his "originalist" view of the Constitution took him outside acceptable modern day parameters (like ruling a poll tax in the south was still okay).
Those past close calls or outright rejections have educated both Republican and Democratic strategists to make sure today's nominees do not have a skeleton in a closet and do have the presentation skills to avoid being goaded into saying anything controversial in any imaginable area. Of course, if you're a nominee like Judge Merrick Garland when the Senate Majority Leader is Mitch McConnell, a clean record and sterling qualifications -- or words in the U.S. constitution -- mean nothing.
So anyway, the Neil Gorsuch hearings are continuing without me as a viewer. I did, however, learn something yesterday that told me virtually all I need to know about where Judge Gorsuch will stand as the replacement for the late Justice Scalia. I believe it should tell you a whole lot too.
Judge Gorsuch has been a longtime member of the Federalist Society. This is the same Society that Chief Justice Roberts (and the late Judge Bork) also viewed as a philosophical guide.
Here is some of what The Federalist Society states on their web site as Their Purpose: "...
It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution..."
They further state
"it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities."
Now, it seems to me that "what the law is" is a comfortable philosophy for those folks happy with "what the law is. But if you were an African American in the South in 1955 when "the law" kept you from voting, or a single woman in 1965 in the early stage of an unwanted pregnancy, or a gay man in 1975 who was basically forbidden to admit his own "existence," you might be skeptical that lawmakers would ever get around to changing "the law" without someone seeking a court ruling that eventually prodded change.
The Society's website also speaks to a long range plan to "fix" today's America.
They say that today's "Law schools and the legal profession are currently strongly dominated by a form of orthodox liberal ideology which advocates a centralized and uniform society." - That sound a little like those Seminar Day alarmists and the radio loudmouth Dan Proft doesn't it?
So, to turn things around the Federalist Society advocates a long-term approach: "This entails reordering priorities within the legal system to place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law. It also requires restoring the recognition of the importance of these norms among lawyers, judges, law students and professors. In working to achieve these goals, the Society has created a conservative and libertarian intellectual network that extends to all levels of the legal community."
Maybe the Senate Judiciary members have already asked Judge Gorsuch what I am suggesting here. I'd like to know if any Senator has read the Federalist Society's statement of purpose aloud to Judge Gorsuch and ask him if he agrees with each part of that document.
What the Federalist Society proposes for the future of America is basically a plan to turn back the clock, away from the tolerant, inclusive, optimistic America that I have seen grow throughout my life, thanks in no small part to court decisions. The Supreme Court has Roberts and will soon have Gorsuch. Both whip smart, handsome guys with pleasant demeanors and philosophical roots that say America needs to put the brakes on all this "court ruled" social change.
Of course, I could be wrong. Chief Justice Roberts has ruled favorably in some cases that were socially liberal. Some think he is sensitive to his place in history. Perhaps a Justice Gorsuch will have similar concerns. Still, I think the Federalist Society is warning us what we should prepare for. How do we counter that? We must take back both houses of Congress in 2018 to create good future laws. That way Judge Gorsuch and his allies can just sit back, follow their beliefs and leave those laws alone.
NTDO member since 1973
These are the two websites I implore you to visit before you leave this newsletter. They will give you a a much clearer picture of what is going on behind the unusual local election campaign being waged in New Trier:
The first website
was created by
"The Wilmette Friends."
It has a clear (and short) explanation of why these local residents are supporting specific candidate slates. It also offers information on each recommended candidate, a list of the supporters and an invitation to join them.
To visit that website
The second website has a compelling trailer to a crowd-funded film now in production titled "New Trier - Tip of the Spear."
(It should be appearing at the Wilmette theater soon.) The trailer does a fascinating job of connecting the dots between what may be dark outside money and our local community elections. It's only about 3-minutes long but it packs a wallop.
To visit that website click here.
Don't Forget -- April 4 is
New Trier Township Election Day!
On Monday, our State Senator Daniel Biss declared his candidacy to be the next Governor of Illinois.
Senator Biss made his announcement on Facebook Live
and has since sent
out messages to the many people who regularly receive his emails. Much of his video included his answering of questions from constituents on a wide range of subjects.
I won't attempt to reproduce any of that dialogue here. However, I can report the gist of Senator Biss's campaign is the need to turn things around in Illinois by repairing a broken system. The past arrangements in our state that gave the majority of power to political forces and the wealthiest citizens must change if we ever expect to get out of the mess Illinois is in.
Senator Biss has proven himself to be a smart, imaginative and energetic State Senator. Because it is early in the gubernatorial season, the NTDO has not yet held a membership endorsement session. All of that will take place sometime in the future. Between now and then, the New Trier Democrats urge you to get to know more about Daniel and any of the other candidates who will be vying in next Spring's Democratic Primary for a number of offices. You may want to get involved early.
Here is the link to Daniel's candidacy announcement video and a link to his campaign page.
Have you visited Senator Biss' website "The Road Back" --
click on the link to his video -- then, throughout the summer follow his plan's development on the website.
Daniel explains a lot about how Illinois got where it is today and how we can begin the journey on the road back toward achieving our state's tremendous economic potential.
Other upcoming events and news items:
Thursday, March 30 in Chicago -
Tell Gov. Rauner: "Do Your Job!"
Thursday, March 30, 2017 from 5:00 - 8:00pm
Where: Hilton Chicago Hotel, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
What: Protest hosted by Illinois Working Together, AFSCME Council 31, SEIU, Citizen Action/Illinois and other groups at Rauner's "Governor's Dinner" fundraiser for himself and other Republican politicians.
For more information or to RSVP register online
Sunday, March 26 in Libertyville - Gun Laws and Community Violence Discussio at Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy.
: Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 2:00pm
Where:The Stevenson Center on Democracy,
25200 N. St. Mary's Rd., Mettawa (Libertyville).
Colleen Daley, Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, discusses current Illinois gun laws and citizen actions to decrease gun violence.
For additional information or to RSVP, register online or call 847-816-7433.
Thursday, April 6 in Winnetka --
a Chelsea Clinton Book Signing
When:Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 6:30pm
Wherer: The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka
What: The Book Stall presents a book signing with Chelsea Clinton to celebrate the paperback release of Ms. Clinton's New York Times bestselling book for young people, It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! This is a ticketed event. Purchase of the book is required to enter the signing line. For additional information or to RSVP, register online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-446-8880. If ordering online, add "Attending the April 6th event." in the Comments field
Wednesday, April 19 in Chicago -- ICPR Presents
the Peoples Climate March on April 29 in Washington D.C.
the Mikva Award to Hon. Adlai and Nancy Stevenson
ICPR Presents Mikva Award to Hon. Adlai and Nancy Stevenson
: Wednesday, April 19, from Noon - 1:30pm
: Petterino's, 150 N. Dearborn St., Chicago
: Judge Mary Mikva will join The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) to present the Stevensons with The Mikva Legacy Award For Truth and Justice for their extensive work in Illinois through advocacy, public service, and the Stevenson Center on Democracy.
You can RSVP online or call ICPR at 312-436-1274 for questions.
Start making plans now for
On Saturday, April 29 in our nation's capital and across the country, marchers will stand together to demand that Donald Trump act in a meaningful way to address the climate crisis and stop attacking the hard-won protections for all our communities, especially people of color, indigenous people, women, and more. Together, we can show the world that we demand climate action. To sign up for the Washington march click here. -- (More details for events across the country to follow.)
When: Saturday, April 29, 9:00 AM -3:00 PM
Where: Washington D.C.
who represent New Trier Township in
Washington, Springfield and Cook County
You'll be hearing a lot from these exceptional public servants. --
And they want to be hearing a lot from you.
The fact is, they need to hear from you and want to hear from you in order to represent you most effectively. So, the first thing you can do is get to know who these people are. The links below to their campaign websites are a good place to start.
, 9th U.S. Congressional District Representative
and Chief Deputy House Democratic Whip. The new Ninth District boundaries include all of New Trier except for Glencoe.
, 10th U.S. Congressional District Representative which includes a number of precincts in Glencoe.
Julie Morrison, State Senator for Illinois' 29th State Senate District
State Senator for Illinois' 9th State Senate Distric
t.The Ninth District includes all of New Trier Township.
. The district includes New Trier's northernmost precincts.
IL 18th District State Representative
. The 18th District includes much of New Trier up to Hazel Avenue and Dundee Road.
, IL 17th District State Representative.
The 17th District includes the East Glenview and West Wilmette areas of New Trier Township.
IL 58th District State Representative.
The 58th District includes the northernmost precincts in Glencoe.
Larry Suffredin, Cook County 13th District Commissioner. The 13th District includes all of New Trier, Evanston and Niles Townships.
Dear Fellow Democrats,
If you are not already an NTDO member, and enjoy our Newsletter, we hope you consider joining us as a dues-paying member. NTDO is a not-for-profit political action organization. We depend on our membership dues to support our Democratic causes and candidates.
There are two options for dues payments: by check or credit card.
By Check: Make check payable to NTDO and mail to our office:
800 Oak St., Suite 112
Winnetka, IL 60093
By Credit Card: visit our website by clicking here
Click on the "Get Involved" tab
Find the link for "contribute with ActBlue"
or go directly there by clicking here.
|Still not a member of the New Trier Dems? 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; participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, 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's grassroots political community.
The New Trier Democratic Organization is made up of hundreds of grassroots volunteers dedicated to advancing progressive ideals through the political process. We welcome your participation.
Dean T. Maragos, Committeeman New Trier Township
We are located at 800 Oak Street in Winnetka, IL. Ph: 847-446-8030
*This Internet communication paid for by the New Trier Democratic Organization and not authorized by any federal or state candidate or campaign committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available for purchase from the State Board of Elections in Springfield, Illinois.