Bill Foster for Congress, a great chance to take the former Speaker’s House seat

On Saturday, March 8th, the voters in the 14th Congressional District will be electing a new representative to replace former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who resigned his seat last year.

Bill Foster, businessman and scientist, will be challenging perennial Republican candidate Jim Oberweis for the seat vacated by Hasert in the 14th.

We strongly recommend Bill Foster in this special election where the winner will immediately be seated in Congress. This will mean that the Democrats will gain one more seat in Congress. For those that reside in the 14th please vote for Foster. If you do not reside in the 14th, you can donate to the campaign, or you can volunteer your time and energy for this great cause.

The opportunities abound this year in Illinois with several long-time Republican seats with a good chance of turning Democratic. The Democrats have an opportunity to capture seats in the 6th, 10th and the 11th Congressional Districts. More about those races later. Reading on Walden Bookstore.

John McCain clumsy attempt to defend Iraq War position

John McCain skewered Barack Obama over Iraq in a pre-election skirmish, in another clumsy attempt to defend his Iraq War vote,

McCain, 71, on Wednesday issued a toughly worded statement accusing Obama of replacing his signature appeal for “the audacity of hope” with “the timidity of despair” when it comes to Iraq.

McCain has steadfastly defended the Bush Administration war agenda. The “Straight Talker” has been fairly consistent on his pro-Iraq War position, although he has occasionally critisized Bush’s handling of the Iraq War. But now he has criticized Obama’s recent statements about the Iraq War situation. Read the rest of this entry »

Mark Pera ran a great campaign but vote total comes up short

Mark Pera finished a strong second in his race to unseat 3rd District Congressman Daniel Lipinski. The Southtownstar’s Kristen McQueary reported:

In the 3rd Congressional District, Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett barely dented the Lipinski campaign apparatus. Bennett, who was fourth on the ballot, was taking fourth place with most of the vote counted.

Lipinski creamed his opponents in the city portion of the district and beat his next competitor almost two-to-one in the suburbs. That showing puts to rest any future whining – from yours truly included – about how the younger Lipinski got into office and the role his father plays in his congressional career. Once again, voters showed they are willing to overlook those issues.

Mark Pera, the second runner-up in the 3rd Congressional District, took about 20 percent of the vote in the city portion of the district and about 30 percent in the suburbs, but Lipinski pulled ahead hard and early. Pera’s supporters from liberal-leaning blogs and online groups are stuck with Lipinski for at least two more years.

While the totals show nearly half of voters in the 3rd District voted for someone other than Lipinski, the four-way race split the opposition and carried him to a third term.

The following results were reported by the Cook County Clerk’s Office with 94.16 percent of the precincts reporting:

Mark N. Pera received 16,708 votes (29.73%), Jim Capparelli received 5,335 votes (9.49%), Daniel Lipinski received 28,494 votes (50.70%) and Jerry Bennett received 5,661 votes(10.07%).

John Presta.

Sticks and Stones thrown by Lipinski – consider the source

The Lipinski campaign is running scared. The word I am hearing is that Lipinski is in constant contact with the various ward organizations. Why else would they encourage the release of the document on the right. To read the entire text of this document, check out our friend kos at the DailyKos.com. The document accuses Mark Pera of being “supported by left-wing extremist political groups.” Well if being part of a left-wing extremist group means that I want out of Iraq, health care for all (not just Congressman), support stem cell research and oppose drilling our natural resources for oil in Alasksa’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, then I am proud to be called an extremist. Then I ask the author, why aren’t you a left-wing extremist.

Electing Mark Pera would do a number of things. It would take the wind out of the sails of all those party bosses that voted to approve Bill Lipinski unethical and undemocratic maneuver to assure that his son succeeded him as Congressman from the 3rd District of Illinois. The anointing, it was called. be sure to vote Mark Pera. And call a friend. John Presta.

This urgent message from our friend Mark Pera – he needs you

Mon Feb 04, 2008 at 11:56:30 AM PST

Dear Friends —

We received a tremendous response again this morning from voters across the district. Our volunteers and I, as we have been for many weeks, were out early greeting commuters at Metra train stops as they headed into the city. I can’t tell you how many people said, “You have my vote,” or, better yet, “I early voted for you!”

I have a great feeling about tomorrow.

While we were working this weekend to get out the vote on Tuesday by running phonebanks and canvassing door to door, Dan Lipinski was trying desperately to make up for lost time by taking cheap shots at our campaign and our supporters, volunteers and staff.

To me, it’s shocking that a sitting Democratic Congressman would attack the people — including hundreds of constituents — who have sacrificed to support us.

My campaign is focused on the issues that are important to mainstream Democrats: the war in Iraq, the economy, energy and the environment, choice, embryonic stem cell research, immigration and ethics and corruption and good government. Lipinski’s failure to provide true Democratic leadership — and his propensity for voting with Republicans — on these issues is at the very center of our campaign for change in Congress.

Rather than respond to my opponent’s attack line by line, I want to take this opportunity to tell you my thoughts about the people who are supporting my campaign.

Sandra Verthein is an organizer with Northside Democracy for America (DFA). Many months ago, I met with DFA and told them about my vision for representing this district. I told them that this campaign against a sitting incumbent was going to be a tough slog. DFA endorsed my candidacy and asked how they could help. We assigned them to Chicago’s 11th Ward — the home of the Daley family and my Chicago White Sox. Through the entire winter, the snow and near-zero temperatures, Sandra and her fellow volunteers walked the ward, street by street, and knocked on over 4,000 doors.

Ahlam Jbara
is a Bridgeview resident, a parent of two young children and an Arab-American. She is the field director in our Palos Hills office and is in charge of our outreach effort in the Arab and Muslim American community that is such an important part of our district. Last week, Ahlam and some 75 volunteers sent out nearly 5,000 hand-addressed letters to voters throughout the district.

Howard Handler is the chairman of the Jewish Political Alliance of Illinois (JPAI), which was an early endorser of our campaign. He has been a tremendous supporter and he’s helping coordinate our Election Day plan.

Peggy Peterson is a volunteer for my campaign. She serves on a local school board. On Sunday afternoon, she brought her teenage daughter into the office to show her a little bit about campaign work. At 6:15 a.m. this morning, she was at the La Grange/Stone Metra Train Station passing out our literature to commuters.

Trevor Montgomery is a member of our campaign staff, an Iraq war veteran and an active member of the Illinois Air National Guard Reserve. He’s been my right-hand man at churches every weekend and he’s been with me every morning for many weeks at train stations from Berwyn to Beverly.

Betty Gutierrez has been a member of St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church for more than 25 years. She is a resident of the district, a mother and a grandmother. Before she retired, she fought predatory lenders and assisted first time homebuyers as the deputy director of the Greater Southwest Development Corp. Betty spends four nights of the week in our Chicago campaign office, calling voters to tell them why they should consider voting for Mark.

Dave Atwood
has worked for months on our behalf in his home ward — the 19th Ward — through rain and snow. We’ve walked precincts together and he’s come out morning after morning to meet me at train stations in the beautiful Beverly and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods.

These are my supporters, I’m proud of them and I’d jump into a foxhole with any one of them any day.

Our contributors are also a microcosm of America. We’ve received hundreds of contributions from the hard-working people of Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. We’ve also received contributions — more than 4,000 in all and averaging $70 each — from all 50 states in the Union.

Dan Lipinski has received just nine contributions from his home district in the last six months. The majority of his cash was delivered to him by PACs and special interest groups at a per contribution average of more than $1,000. You can draw your own conclusions about who’s running the real people-powered campaign here in Illinois’ 3rd District.

Our campaign listens to the people that the current Congressman has ignored. We’re the campaign with an office in two suburban communities and the city.

The best way you can push back on this attack on good people like Sandra, Ahlam, Peggy, Trevor, Betty and everyone else who has helped out is to spend some time during the next 16 hours before the polls open up to get the word out about our campaign. Tell people why it’s so important that we realize change here in Illinois’ 3rd District. Tell people that you’re tired of business as usual in Chicago, Cook County and Washington D.C.

You can also contribute to our campaign via ActBlue.

If you live nearby, or if you know someone who lives in the district, there is still time to get involved in our Get Out The Vote effort. If you’re interested, call our campaign offices at (708) 579-2834 and ask how you can help.

I’ll be at Union Station in Chicago greeting commuters around 4:30 p.m. this afternoon if you want to join us. Tomorrow, we will have more than 250 volunteers working across the district, but we can use more.

Thanks for your time and your support.

Sincerely,

Mark

Debra Shore endorses Larry Suffredin

Our dear friend Debra Shore, Commissioner for the MWRD, sent us this note of endorsement for her friend and mentor, Larry Suffredin.

Down to the Wire – Suffredin for State’s Attorney
I hope you will join me in voting for Larry Suffredin for Cook County State’s Attorney in the Democratic primary (#59). Larry will bring much needed change to Cook County by controlling the proliferation of guns and fighting political corruption. Throughout his career, Larry, an independent on the Cook County Board, has been a leader in advocating for stricter gun control laws, passing the Cook County Assault Weapons ban, and has served on the board of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence since 1982. On the county board, Larry has fought waste and corruption and against Todd Stroger’s tax increases. As a public defender and private attorney, he acquired extensive federal and state trial experience and appeared before the United States and Illinois Supreme Courts.

Larry has been endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Pioneer Press and by numerous other organizations, including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization.

His commitment to reform has earned the endorsement of U.S. Representatives Jesse Jackson, Jr., Jan Schakowsky, Luis Gutierrez, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Cook County Commissioners Forrest Claypool, Mike Quigley, and Roberto Maldonado are just a few of the reform-minded leaders in support of Larry Suffredin for State’s Attorney.

After the debacle of the Burge torture cases and the more recent cases of unprosecuted police shootings, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office needs a leader with a vision, a skilled negotiator, who can restore public confidence in our justice system. For more information or if you are interested in getting involved, I encourage you to contact the campaign at (312) 836-4073 or visit suffredinforstatesattorney.org.

Race for Cook County State’s Attorney Undecided

As Rich Miller aptly points out on his blog, the race for Cook County State’s Attorney is up for grabs. I do not find this hard to believe since I have received numerous emails and telephone calls from friends and family asking “Who looks good in the Cook County State’s Attorney race?”

And my answer is Larry Suffredin.

As I wrote on January 22nd that for Cook County State’s Attorney, support Larry Suffredin. He is the real deal. Sometimes you meet a person that is a perfect fit for a job. I felt that way about Senator Barack Obama. I thought, “He’s going to be President of the United States.” When I met Debra Shore it was clear she was perfect fit for MWRD and is proving us correct everyday she serves there. Alexi Giannoulias is a perfect fit as Illinois State Treasurer as he would be a perfect fit as Governor of Illinois.

And then there is Larry Suffredin. If any one was born to be Cook County State’s Attorney, with his great legal mind and background, his sense of fairness and his great intellect, it is Larry Suffredin. The crowded field and all the heavyweight endorsements, he will win this race and distinguish himself in this job, a perfect fit. The only downside to a Suffredin victory is that the Cook County Board will lose a fine member. John Presta.

Mark Pera’s needs your help: Donate, Volunteer and Vote

Mark Pera has raised $292,242 from 4740 contributors thus far on the Act Blue network. The goal is 5000 donors. They have a great volunteer effort in this campaign and will take the party by surprise. But they need more help. Take back control of your party.

Our party may have re-taken Congress, but our work is by no means done – in fact, this is just the beginning. Now, we need to support and strengthen our caucus. This page will feature candidates selected by DailyKos, OpenLeft, and the Swing State Project whose presence in Congress will make our party stronger.

John Presta.

Editor’s Note: Would you like to be a guest blogger on this fast-growing blog. Looking for authors, book reviewers, movie reviewers, knowledgeable people of the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park community specifically, the Chicago area generally, left-leaning political folks (well-formed ideas also considered).

We are also in the planning stages of several new blogs, specifically a gardening blog that will tie into the BHMP Garden Walk, possibly a fitness/health blog and several other areas.

Interested. Send me an email at readingonwalden@att.net just by clicking send me an email. Looking forward to hearing from you. John Presta.

Sweet Caroline sings Obama’s praises

This news item, my partisan Obama friends, is huge. Caroline Kennedy endorses Barack Obama. Not only is she the daughter of a great and beloved President, she is an accomplished author and editor of many great books. After reading this endorsement, I am impressed by her writing ability and her ability to connect with people. John Presta.

The New York Times

January 27, 2008 Op-Ed Contributor

A President Like My Father

OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences. However, the candidates’ goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.

Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.

I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.

Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign. He has spoken eloquently about the role of faith in his life, and opened a window into his character in two compelling books. And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning.

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

Caroline Kennedy is the author of “A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.”

Time to fight the real enemy: The Republicans

Curtis Lawrence of the The Chicago Sun Times reported on March 14, 2000 that:

Candidates in the 1st District congressional race hit the television airwaves Monday night, once again showing little disagreement on issues. “I don’t think there are a lot of ideological differences,” state Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago) who appeared on WTTW-Channel 11’s “Chicago Tonight” with incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago).

“I don’t think there are a lot of ideological differences,” can also be applied to the 2008 Presidential race. The differences between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are negligible. The candidates need to stop bashing each other and unite behind the common political enemy, the Republicans. I certainly have my opinion on how the bashing startted (I’ve written enough about it), but we need to “Move On.”

The differences between the candidates are of style, energy, inspiration and vision. There are crucial differences about change and how we get there. And that is why I support Barack Obama. I think Hillary Clinton would make a fine President. I think John Edwards would make a fine President. Neither Clinton or Edwards would in any way embarrass this great nation, as our nation has been embarrassed by the current administration. Our standing abroad is at a low level.

We can split hairs on the issues, but they all want health care for all, the all want a peaceful world, they all want prosperity for all.

I believe that Barack Obama will make a “Great President.” He will bring an elevated level of style, high energy and inspirational vision to this nation. Yes, Camelot. “One brief, shining moment.” All that and more. He will take an already great nation and take it to the next level. President Obama would immediately elevate our standing in the world.

He is “one of us.” He looks you in the eye when he speaks to you. It was not too many years ago that he lived in a modest apartment living a modest lifestyle. He worked as a community organizer for small wages, because he cared. I saw many times over the years how he related to people. I saw him appear before 600 people that had never seen or heard of him before in a candidates forum and how he inspired and energized those people. And from there how it multiplied. Once I was in a parade with him and was impressed at the high energy he showed and how that high energy rubbed off on everybody around him. Whenever he spotted someone in the crowd in a wheel chair, he made sure to stop and speak to that person and offer an encouraging word. He had great compassion and empathy for people.

Barack Obama will take this nation to the next level. For the short term, the three candidates need to take the rest of these primaries to a higher, more empathetic level too. And Barack Obama will lead the way. John Presta.