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NDFA went down from our home base to the 2nd CD to hear several of the candidates make their cases.

Of the 3 whom the polls show as the leaders, Halvorsen did not fill out the questionaire and both Hutchinson and Kelly sent their campaign managers. Of the other candidates, we heard 2: Anthony Williams, a Lutheran pastor and long-time opponent of Jackson, and Patrick Brutus, a young career bureaucrat and first-time political candidate.

Williams went first. He proposes to combat violence with (among other requirements for gun-buyers) requiring them to get psychological screening, by pursuing straw buyers more vigorously, and by promoting expungement for criminal records of those who have served their sentences for non-violent felonies. He pointed out that young men who have once got into the criminal-justice system have little or no chance of getting an honest job thereafter.

Williams, uniquely among the speakers, opposes the proposed Peotone airport. He proposes a federal lottery which he thinks would provide a great deal of revenue.

Brutus has worked for the state Department of Transportation, both on the highway and the airport sides. He presently works for the City of
Chicago. His main topic is economic development. He does favor "responsible gun control."

Robin Kelly was represented by her (white male) campaign manager. He emphasized her long efforts for gun control, mentioning that her first bill in Springfield was on that issue (he was more concrete, but I didn't take the concretions down) was cosponsored by then-state-senator Barrack Obama. He answered several specific questions by saying that he hadn't discussed this with the candidate, but he could represent her as opposing the DOMA and the War on Drugs.

Toi Hutchinson was represented by her (white male) campaign manager. He characterized Hutchinson's recent conversion on gun control as sincere and pointed out the Governor Dean had a high rating from the NRA when he was governor of Vermont. He pointed out her emphasis on electoral ethics and on infrastructure investment while in the legislature. He reported her opposition to DOMA and to the War on Drugs.

Both Kelly (in the past) and Hutchinson (up to now) have been in the legislature. Their anti-DOMA stances were supported by votes on marriage equality and domestic-partner legislation at the state level.

The Peotone airport is a proposed third major airport for Chicago. It would be located in an area which is now the southern end of the district and was previously a major thrust of Cong. Jackson's tenure. It is heavily opposed by the people in the region where it would be built. It's been under discussion for something like 20 years. The argument for it is jobs. The argument against it is that it would bury some of the best farmland in the world and that it would bring congestion to the region. The region was redistricted into the 2nd CD, having been in the 11th up to the 2011 redistricting. Halvorsen, who represented the 11th for one term and lives in that area, has long opposed it.

The 2nd CD contains a significant portion of the South Side of Chicago. It extends south from there to Will and Kankakee counties. Very little of the land, but a significant slice of the population, is in Chicago. Many of the suburbs in southern Cook County are primarily Afro-American, as is almost all of the city portion of the district. (The exception is the "East Side," a white-ethnic area around the steel plants.) That yields a comfortable majority of the electorate Afro-American. With most of the scandal already publicly known, Jackson got about 75% in the general in a 3-way race.

NDFA is the Northside Democracy for America. Our targeted area is on the north-east section of Chicago, although we have members elsewhere, including in the 2nd CD. Chicago being Chicago, most of our campaigns have been outside our targeted area. Indeed, we have participated in the congressional election in the 11th CD, south of the 2nd.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Should be an interesting (0+ / 0-)

    discussion at the meeting -- Feb 12 at 7:00 pm, the Lincoln Restaurant.

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." - Hubert Humphrey

    by Hope Despite All on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:16:07 AM PST

  •  The differences (0+ / 0-)

    between legislative accomplishments between Toi and Robin may be the difference between sitting in the IL House and the IL Senate ... The Speaker keeps tight control over his troops.

    Also, Kelly's rep was not asked about specific accomplishments: sometimes one wishes for a follow up period to clarify the record.

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." - Hubert Humphrey

    by Hope Despite All on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:17:43 AM PST

  •  DOMA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hope Despite All

    To be clear Frank, Robin is opposed to DOMA and has told me that if elected she will sign on as co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA. Robin has been a leader on LGBT issues as a legislator and public official. During the fight for civil unions, she provided significant assistance to those lobbying for the bill and was an invaluable ally.  ~Ed Mullen

    •  Marriage Equality (0+ / 0-)

      Robin is good on LGBT issues, but she takes a back seat to Toi. Toi is currently the chief co-sponsor on legislation that will bring marriage equality to Illinois. She worked on this legislation in the last session, and is working on getting this passed this session now again.

      •  LGBT rights (0+ / 0-)

        While I am certainly very happy that Toi is a co-sponsor of the marriage legislation and give her due credit for that, I don't think you can say she takes a back seat to Robin at all, having personal experience with both. If Robin were in the legislature now, I am certain she would be a lead sponsor on the marriage equality bill, and her support has been longstanding, public and consistent. On balance, considering all of the issues and personal characteristics, I think Robin is a stronger candidate and wholeheartedly support NDFA endorsing her.

        P.S. I am curious what your background is given that you opened this account a few weeks ago?  Are you an NDFA member?  Staffer?  

        •  you can't trust toi... (0+ / 0-)

          toi told me (and others, including elected officials in the area) that she was not interested in running for congress.  "i don't want to be in any position that requires you to raise money every two years," was what she told me.  toi also mentioned that being in congress would take too much time away from her kids.

          presumably, this was why toi attended robin's first organizational meeting and offered to take the lead in robin's campaign on transportation issues.

          then she turned around and announced a run for congress AGAINST robin!

          so the fact that toi has flip-flopped on issues isn't a surprise.  she changes her mind and then acts on it.  it would be hard to argue, in light of this proclivity, that toi is "good" on any issue.  we can't know, because she may very well just change her mind again!

          Want to drive conservatives crazy? Send President Obama back to Washington for four more years...

          by bored now on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:11:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The only candidate (0+ / 0-)

      who gave a less than definite answer on the DOMA question -- was Patrick Brutus, who kept saying "I'm a Christian," while not quite saying he was opposed to marriage equality.

      Rev. Williams spoke well about supporting marriage equality when asked.

      Brutus also supports the War on Drugs, and thinks the problem is the resources available for it.

      "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." - Hubert Humphrey

      by Hope Despite All on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:49:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for this write-up! (0+ / 0-)

    I was unable to attend the event so I am glad to be able to read this summary. I am going to pass a link to this on to some other folks I know.

    If you live on Chicago's north side get involved Northside DFA.

    by citygirl on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:40:07 AM PST

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