IDW/Chicago NOW Statement re: WBEZ Story on Rape Cover-up

1/14/20

We, the boards of Illinois Democratic Women and the Chicago National Organization of Women, were shocked and horrified to read the WBEZ story about Springfield insider, Mike McClain, casually referring to a rape that happened in Champaign County in an email with former senior government officials. Since that story came out, we have been gratified to see many of our elected officials call for a proper investigation to be done in order to bring justice to this apparent criminal act.

In the last year and a half, we have seen the corrupt and toxic culture of Springfield that has harmed women revealed through subpoenas, lawsuits and those brave women who have come forward with their stories. While we are gratified by the work that has been done to begin to change that culture, namely by the women in the General Assembly, we feel strongly that this latest revelation cannot be swept under the rug and must be properly investigated by all relevant authorities.

Beyond there being a victim who may be suffering the pain of seeing their experience of sexual assault splashed across the news, there is a moral imperative to investigate this alleged crime and it’s cover up by those with tremendous political clout who are supposed to be doing the public good, not obstructing justice. We can no longer reward those who’ve worked to protect a toxic system that empowers corruption which hurts women and tolerates abuse. A system that empowers those who think they can nonchalantly dismiss the cover up of sexual assault in an email as Mike McClain did, is unethical and should be obsolete.

It is time to shine a bright light on why Mike McClain had so much political power in Springfield. McClain emailed two of the most senior officials in state government referencing rape and a coverup as well as ghost pay-rolling without fear of any negative consequence. McClain’s email is further evidence of unscrupulous behavior in our state capital which harms women and everyone who calls Illinois home. The women of Illinois will no longer tolerate this kind of abuse of power within our political system. McClain’s actions and those who have enabled him put our state’s future at risk. The time is up on this toxic culture in Springfield.

Virginia ERA Ratification News!!!

#ERA Coalition Lead Organizations & Advocates,

We are excited to share with you that it has been announced that both the Virginia Senate and House will vote their respective bills, SJ1 and HJ1, out of their chambers tomorrow. The bills will likely cross over for a final vote on Thursday! We are so proud to be able to witness and make history with you as partners in this movement.

We have been told that the votes will be around 12:00 pm.

If you are not able to be in Richmond in person, you can watch the livestream of the vote at the following links:

As always, for the most up to date information please go to the website of the Lead Organization, VARatifyERA.org.

On to ratification!!

Guest Post: IL SB193

The following is a re-blog from Illinois State Representative Sara Feigenholtz

SB 193 was the one bill waiting for the Governors signature and I am grateful that he signed it.

The stories we heard this year—of losing children in the system awakened many legislators whose lives once hung in the balance when they were small children.

Born of these stories, was the Child Welfare Caucus. SB193 was our first caucus bill.

SB 193 says that the decision about whether a child stays in the home or not should be based solely on the best interest of the child standard, the facts, and what is going on in the home.

No decision should be colored by any perverse financial incentive to the contractor, either way. SB 193 prohibits all contractual or individual incentives. Period.

The second part of the new law requires the Division of Child Protection to review a random sample of investigations from the field to improve communication, create a system of checks, balances and accountability to assure the right decisions are being made and to implement necessary systemic reforms.

We can all improve workplace performance and I know DCFS is committed to doing that. SB193 is the legislatures way of weighing in on our expectations of the agency and helping them set a new course.

Hat tip to the Child Welfare Caucus— a mighty army committed to change.

Representative Sara Feigenholtz represents Illinois’ 12th District, which includes Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Buena Park and Near North.

Get Your IDW Shirt!

There’s still time to get your own Illinois Democratic Women t-shirt. Order here>>> https://kellytracy.com/collections/illinois-democratic-women

Bash Before The Brunch

Save the date for our 2nd annual “Bash Before the Brunch” event, the night before the Illinois Democrat County Chairperson’s host, Speaker Nancy Pelosi at their big brunch.

Join the Illinois Democratic Women as we celebrate a year of hard work, change, and looking forward to electing even more Democrats to office in 2020, including a new President.

Don’t miss this fun networking opportunity!

“Women in Blue” Legislative Day at the Capitol

Join the Illinois Democratic Women “Women in Blue” for our Legislative Day in the State Capitol.

Lobby Day Itinerary

Sangamo Club Lunch

  • Opening Remarks: 11:00 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

State Capitol

  • 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

There is no charge to participate in the legislative activities, but an RSVP is required to ensure we have enough materials and can plan out the afternoon. RSVP Now: http://bit.ly/2vdeLFT

Evening Awards Ceremony

Don’t miss this chance to get to know some of your party members and enjoy some great conversation while supporting the Illinois Democratic Women!

Co-Sponsored by:

  • Democratic Women of Dupage Coumty
  • Illinois Democratic Women of Will County
  • Kane County Democratic Women
  • Democratic Women of McDonough County

#twill #ILDems #UniteBlue #BlueWave2020

National Federation of Democratic Women Communicator

National Federation of Democratic Women Communicator

IDW is the official Illinois affiliate of the National Federation of Democratic Women. Read the winter newsletter now!

NFDW Communicator

IDW Applauds Illinois Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel Efforts


Illinois Democratic Women applauds the efforts of the Illinois Anti-Harassment, Equality & Access Panel to provide a roadmap for all political parties and campaigns to address all types of harassment in the workplace. We are also grateful for their efforts to highlight the necessity of more women running for office in Illinois so that all our systems of government are equally represented by women and men.

 

By listening to women across this state tell their stories of discrimination and harassment in the political workplace, State Comptroller Susana Mendoza, State Senator Melinda Bush and State Representative Carol Ammons have created a report that leads the way to identifying necessary reforms that will mean more women have a seat at the table in making meaningful decisions that affect us all primarily by electing more women to office in Illinois and promoting more women to leadership positions.

 

The AHEA report asks that all parties –

 

  • Commit to a concrete goal of women filling 50% of the seats in Illinois’ General Assembly
  • Hire a manager-level Director of Diversity in the state parties to recruit more diverse candidates to run for elected office and for top-level staff positions
  • Invest party money in training women, developing their talent and supporting their races and promoting women into leadership positions in campaigns and political organizations
  • Require diversity in the pool of applicants or candidates considered for every political vacancy and leadership position (including people of color, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities)
  • Establish an Advisory Board to oversee these changes

 

Illinois Democratic Women stands ready to be a partner in these efforts and looks forward to the dialogue that this ground-breaking report will create as we look towards a future where women hold an equal number of political positions as men and the diversity of our leadership reflects all our communities.

 

Very best,

 

Jennifer Camille Lee and Kim Savage

Co-Presidents

Illinois Democratic Women