By CARL GREEN
East Alton, IL – Madison County Democrats are better organized and working harder than they have in years, the party’s county leader told union supporters recently.
Madison County Circuit Clerk and county Democratic Party Chairman Mark Von Nida told the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor the party is working hard to counteract the typically low voter turnout of a mid-term election.
“Who shows up to vote is going to make all the difference in this election,” he said. “It’s a mid-term election – turnout dies down, but we can’t afford that. We need to get everybody out. That is what this election is all about.”
HIGH STAKES RACES
In addition to the high stakes race for Illinois governor, Von Nida noted that Kwame Raoul, the Chicago area state senator, former Cook County prosecutor and health law attorney running on the Democratic ticket for attorney general is in a close and potentially pivitol race against corporate Republican Erika Harold
“His opponent wants to join 25 other state attorney generals to get rid of coverage for pre-existing conditions,” Von Nida said. “That’s what’s at stake in the attorney general’s race.”
Von Nida said party volunteers are also battling an old problem – voters who only fill out the front side of their ballots and ignore the issues on the back. Area judicial candidates will be on the back, he said.
HOFFMAN: IT COMES
DOWN TO RTW
State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea), a long-time supporter of working family issues in the Illinois House and chairman of the influential Labor and Commerce Committee, reminded the big crowd of delegates and candidates at the Federation meeting how difficult it has been to fight off Governor Bruce Rauner’s anti-union, anti-worker agenda, including attacks on the right to organize, pensions, safety in the workplace, prevailing wage and project labor agreements.
“That’s been the Rauner agenda,” he said. “We as Democrats have not only said ‘No,’ but we’ve said ‘Hell No!’ and none of that has passed in Illinois, unlike Missouri.”
The Republican supermajorities in the Missouri House and Senate passed “right-to-work” as their first order of business in 2017. The measure was repealed in August after union and working family volunteers collected more than 310,000 signatures to place it on the ballot.
Electing J.B. Pritzker as governor and the region’s Democratic legislative candidates (including Hoffman) is essential to moving forward on pro-union, pro-worker legislation instead of constantly being on the defense, Hoffman said.
“I’ve sat across the table from the Rauner Administration as the lead negotiator for the House Democrats on Labor issues,” he said. “They say it’s about the budget. They talk about the budget. They’ve been holding the budget hostage – and holding working families hostage – in order to get ‘right-to-work.’ It always comes down to that.”
Hoffman also called on Metro-East voters to help elect Brendan Kelly in the 12th Congressional District and Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in the 13th to replace corporate-backed Republican Mike Bost in the 12th and Rodney Davis in the 13th, both of whom claim to support working people but fail to do so with their votes.
“They’ll throw Labor a bone and say they’re for working people, but just look at their total record,” Hoffman said. “It isn’t good!”