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Upcoming Fall 2017 Events

Illinois Democratic Women of Will County Fall Meeting   What: Fall Meeting and Candidate Showcase When: Saturday, October 28 10am-noon Where: Rasmussen College, 1400 W Normantown Rd, Romeoville This is great opportunity for attendees to hear directly from the candidates and to learn more about how to get involved in these local elections. There are

Resources for Action

The 2018 Election Cycle is critical to Illinois and the nation. We need to engage Democrats across the state to ensure that we elect a Democratic Governor and legislature, as well as increasing the number of Democrats from Illinois in the U.S. Congress. Find new ways to connect with Democrats and take action to impact

Join or Renew Your Membership Now

Illinois Democratic Women is a statewide organization consisting of both women and men working together to elect Democrats, strengthen the Democratic Party and advocate for progressive issues.   Membership includes: Discounted Admission to Annual Convention Networking Events Education and Training Events Monthly Newsletters Award Eligibility And much, much more! To join online with a credit

Jackie Traynere – Candidate for Mayor of Bolingbrook

2017 – Candidate Highlight  – Jackie Traynere – Candidate for Mayor of Bolingbrook

Visit her website at: https://jackie4mayor.com/

JTJackie Traynere is a proud, lifelong resident of Bolingbrook who has dedicated herself to keeping her community a great place to live and raise a family. This commitment is rooted in Jackie’s own experience of growing up in Bolingbrook attending Bolingbrook High, and that’s why she raised her children right here in her hometown – in the very house Jackie grew up in.

As a child at Northview elementary school, Jackie experienced firsthand the positive influence local leaders can have on the community when her 4th grade class successfully lobbied the Governor to get crosswalk and crossing guard put in place over route 53 so her classmates could safety walk to school. As an adult, this early experience inspired Jackie to volunteer and then later run for local office.

Today, Jackie is serving her third term on the Will County Board where she’s successfully held the line on local property taxes while improving public safety, easing traffic congestion, and protecting our parks and green spaces. Jackie prides herself on being accessible and keeping her office open and transparent; that’s why she’s the only Board member to proactively send regular updates and useful County information to the people she proudly represents.

Jackie’s commitment to helping people extends to her professional life as well, where she works as an organizer for American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

In addition to working with AFGE members for the past 22 years, Jackie started her own small business, The Cleaning Authority. Together with her husband Joe, they’ve grown the company each year and now employ over 30 people.

Now Jackie is running for Mayor of Bolingbrook, leading the Bolingbrook United Ticket, because the Village needs an inclusive leader who reflects the community’s values. Jackie is committed to embracing our great diversity, encouraging growth and opportunity for every family, business, and neighborhood, and responsibly managing the Village’s finances to address the $316,000,000 debt plaguing the community – with a commitment to transparency and accountability to the residents of Bolingbrook, not the special interests or party machines.

Linda Chapa LaVia – Candidate for Mayor of Aurora

2017 – Candidate Highlight – Linda Chapa LaVia – Candidate for Mayor of Aurora

Visit her website at http://chapalavia.com/

ChapaLinda Chapa LaVia is a candidate for Mayor of Aurora, Illinois’ second largest city.
She was born and raised in Aurora, graduating from East Aurora High School. She became the first in her family to graduate college, beginning at community college then earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While at UIC, she was an ROTC cadet preparing to become an Army officer.

Linda was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army, where she served for five years. She retired as a Second Lieutenant and remained in the National Guard for an additional five years.

As her family grew, Linda and her husband owned and operated multiple small businesses. She understands the challenges of being an entrepreneur and a working mom. In 2001, she decided that politicians should listen to and look like the people they represent, and ran for office.

As a leader in the statehouse, Linda has worked on issues that help families right here in our community and fought hard on behalf of consumers, students and teachers, and our veterans. She has chaired multiple committees, including Elementary Education, Veterans Affairs, and Energy.

Linda has dedicated her life to making life better for middle class families and serving as an advocate for the entire community. She recognizes the opportunities her community, her state, and her country provided to her, and she wants to make sure that those opportunities exist for everyone else.

As mayor, Linda plans to address a series of serious issues facing the city of Aurora. She wants to get tough on Gangs and Violence by working with local law enforcement officials and the park district to find innovative ways to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble. She wants to continue to lead by supporting Aurora schools. Part of keeping kids out of trouble starts with making sure we have the best possible schools at every level, starting with early learning. And she will work to create jobs. She’ll work with local small and big businesses to support growth and opportunity. I want to grow our local businesses and attract new business to Aurora to expand the city’s tax base.

Telling Your Story

Jackie Traynere, President Illinois Democratic Women of Will County

Have you ever wondered how to move people to action? Maybe you just want to build trust or inspire hope. IDWOW members had the opportunity last year to learn how stories can help us communicate who we are and why others should trust us. We learned that you can tell a story to illustrate what is at stake and why we need to act together.

IDWOW was fortunate enough to have an organizer from Organizing For Action train its members on how to tell an great story. We learned how to connect our story with the stories of others to create common ground. It was amazing how similar our stories were when we started working in pairs and sharing with the larger group.

Effective organizing starts from our own interests and values, this program helped us to learn how to shape our personal stories. It was amazing toward the end when we saw themes and values in common even though most of us didn’t know each other or our backgrounds. It was great to spend time actually practicing what we were learning. Watching the women’s stories and experiences come to life in story telling was an amazing process and we were truly blessed to have Chelsey Wininger (OFA Org. deputy directory) guide us through the process. Her training was of great value to the women that attended. A big shout out to Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership for sponsoring this great experience for all.

Planned Parenthood and 43rd Anniversary of Roe v Wade

Donna Miller
IDW 2nd Vice President

Donna Black

I joined the Board of Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) because I wanted to truly make a difference on issues that I believe in. Not to sit on the sidelines, but be a vocal and visible advocate for fundamental rights and values I share for women regardless, of race, background or economic status. Although, I have held various leadership positions at PPIL it is an honor for me that I now serve as the Chairman of the Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. The Illinois Action Committee is responsible for supporting Pro-Choice candidates, lobbying for reproductive rights and ensuring that Illinois policies allowing access to quality healthcare and comprehensive sexual education are not weakened.

Many of the issues that Planned Parenthood stands for are under vicious attack…almost daily!

Health Care Reform is the single greatest legislative advancement for women’s health since Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law 45 years ago. Many Planned Parenthood advocates are proud of this legislation as it has dramatically increased access to reproductive health services, including family planning.

Can you believe that prior to 2013, medically relevant age appropriate sex education was not the law in Illinois? PPIL worked diligently to make sure that if a school teaches sexual health education, the materials and instruction must be age-appropriate, medically accurate and complete.

Although we can highlight these recent milestones, we cannot rest due to the efforts to restrict a women’s rights! Did you know Illinois law gives health care providers the right to refuse care without recognizing any right for patients? Initiatives like this are attempts to weaken our laws to make it more difficult for a woman’s right to choose and access to healthcare. This serves as an important reminder of what is at stake not only in Illinois but also across our country. We have to make sure patients rights are protected.

On January 21, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action will host its Annual Roe v Wade Event at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, Chicago. This year marks the 43rd Anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision. Roe v Wade was first introduced to the Supreme Court in 1970 and ultimately decided in 1973 – nearly 3 years later. As with any long fight for justice, we can thank the countless national and local advocates. Illinois has had one of our strongest advocates for many years, Pam Sutherland who is retiring this year.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any” Alice Walker

I look forward to seeing you on Jan. 21!


Donna Black
Click here for tickets and event information

When is a Compromise Not a Compromise?

Elizabeth Austin
Vice President for Policy and Communication, Innovation Illinois

Elizabeth Austin

A few weeks back, I heard a very wise man quote his even wiser mother, who once told
him: “You don’t get credit for doing the right thing.” And that goes double when you’re
doing the right thing to correct your own wrongdoing.

Over the past week, Governor Rauner has taken action to undo, at least in part, some
of his shortsighted, wrongheaded actions that have slashed jobs and devastated families across Illinois.

In a move that Rauner’s staff has called a “compromise,” Rauner last week signed an executive order that could restore State child care subsidies for many low-income families. That move came in response to statewide outrage over his unilateral decision to deny child care support for some 70,000 Illinois children.

By “compromising,” Rauner is still leaving thousands of children ineligible for the care their working parents had been counting on. And his “compromise” is too little, too late for thousands of parents who have been forced out of work over the past few months because they no longer had access to safe, affordable, reliable child care.

Similarly, Rauner has proposed a “compromise” on his announced plan to cut state-supported in-home care for 34,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Under Rauner’s plan, the State would have dramatically increased the Determination of Need (DON) score required to qualify for assistance. The DON score is used to calculate a person’s level of disability – how much help is
needed to complete the ordinary tasks of daily life, such as getting out of bed, getting dressed, eating, and using the toilet. The higher the score, the greater the need.

Rauner had (again unilaterally) decided to raise the DON score needed to qualify for state-supported assistance from 29 to 37, which meant that someone who is wheelchair-dependent could be considered “too able” to qualify for a few hours of help each week.

Not surprisingly, Rauner’s move to deny services that allow people with disabilities to live independently in their homes drew screams of outrage throughout the state. It also was unlikely to gain the required approval from the federal government, which provides the lion’s share of funding for these programs. So Rauner announced another “olive branch” that restored the original DON score (although he made other changes that would reduce access to some types of care.)

Over the next few weeks, you’ll be hearing from various pundits congratulating Rauner for “compromising” and criticizing the General Assembly for failing to “meet him in the middle.”

But remember this: You’re not offering a compromise when you stop doing something that’s wrong and hurtful to others. You’re just taking the first step – maybe – toward doing something right.

It was wrong and cruel for Governor Rauner to use people with disabilities and low-income working families as hostages in his fight to extort anti-union concessions out of the General Assembly in return for a workable State budget (now nearly five months
overdue.)

So it’s a good thing that Governor Rauner is now finally beginning to release his “budget hostages” in the face of widespread, bipartisan outrage.

But beware of anyone who tries to tell you that the Rauner’s actions have earned him the right to muscle legislators into passing new laws that are bad for Illinois.

In my family, we call that “rewarding bad behavior.” And we don’t do it.

IDW 2015 Convention – Award Series – Young Democratic Woman of the Year – Shana Harrison

Shana Harrison

Shana Jo Harrison – Shana is a graduate of the Civic Leadership Program from the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science.

Shana is an associate lobbyist with J&J Legislative to advocate for non-profit clients in Springfield and works as the political advisor to Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs. Prior to J&J Legislative, LLC., Shana worked in the Governor’s Office on labor policy. Shana also worked for the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 149 in order to monitor and advocate for policies that affect the pipe trades including Cronus Chemical, a $1.4 billion fertilizer project in Tuscola, IL.

In 2014, Shana was a delegate in the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership. She was also elected in 2014 to the Champaign County Board District 9 and currently serves as the Democratic Caucus Chair.

Governor Rauner’s Anti-Women Agenda

Nancy Chen

On October 30, community leaders, state leaders and union members gathered together to discuss the effects that the so-called reforms that Governor Rauner is pushing would have on the DuPage County area. Former Midwest Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, Nancy Chen articulated the effects on women. Her remarks are included below.

I am here today to provide a voice for working women in Illinois. For 14 years, I was honored to be the Midwest Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. The mission of the Women’s Bureau has been and still is to improve women’s working conditions, to advance their employment opportunities and to close the wage gap. The Women’s Bureau has always recognized the importance of unions to help working women reach economic equality.

Data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics have consistently shown that union women workers earn more and have better working conditions and benefits than non-union women workers in similar fields. In 2014, on average, women earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. But women workers covered by unions earned 88 cents for every dollar earned by men. For minority women in unions, the advantage is even greater. Black union workers earn $146 per week more and Hispanic workers earn $235 more per week than their non-union counterparts.

Based on these statistics, I believe Governor Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda taking away public employees’ right to collective bargaining is particularly detrimental to women. You see, women comprise over half the state and local government employees in the fields of teaching, nursing, health and child care services. These are what we traditionally called “pink collar” jobs that paid less and offered fewer benefits. Through collective bargaining, women workers in these fields can now earn a decent living for themselves and their families.

The Governor is holding the state budget hostage for his Turnaround Agenda, using that as an excuse to slash the childcare assistance program and the community and home health care program for low income workers. Most of the workers who need affordable child care are women, and many are single parents. They don’t make 57 million dollars as the Governor did last year. In fact, they make one tenth of one percent or even less of what he makes. Without the child care assistance, these women would not be able to afford to go to work or have to cut their hours of work to care for their children.

In addition, many child care and community and home health care providers are also women. Their jobs are eliminated because of the budget cut. I call the Governor’s agenda an anti-women, anti-family agenda. It seems that the Turnaround Agenda is literally for the Governor to turn around and cut the Illinois State budget on the back of working women and their families.

On a personal note, I want to mention that when I came to this country almost 50 years ago as a student from a rather authoritarian state, I was greatly impressed by the democracy practiced by the government and by the people. Workplace democracy depends on the workers’ right to collective bargaining. It dismays me a great deal that 50 years later, we are seeing our elected officials working to demolish this democratic process that has distinguished America from many authoritarian states. This must not happen in the State of Illinois.

IDW 2015 Convention – Award Series – Emily Taft Douglas Award – State Senator Toi Hutchinson

Toi Hutchinson

Senator Toi Hutchinson has earned a reputation as a highly effective and well-regarded public servant with a strong commitment to the residents of the 40th District.

Since joining the Senate in 2009, Hutchinson has placed a high importance on working to modernize Illinois’ antiquated tax structure, protecting women and children from violence and exploitation and supporting construction projects that create jobs while also maintaining Illinois’ position as an international transportation hub.

As Chairwoman of the Senate Revenue Committee, Hutchinson has introduced legislation to close corporate tax loopholes, which would make corporations pay their fair share and help ensure the state doesn’t balance its budget on the backs of middle-class families. Hutchinson also passed a law increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as well as the standard tax exemption, allowing working families to keep more of their hard-earned money.

She has passed many laws that protect women, children, seniors and people with disabilities. Hutchinson passed a law safeguarding pregnant women in the workplace from discrimination. Hutchinson also teamed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to make Illinois the first state in the nation to pass a law mandating the testing of all rape kits within ten days of obtaining evidence. Working with the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Hutchinson passed a law that allows a victim of sex trafficking to apply for relief from judgment when the victim has a prostitution conviction. Hutchinson has also worked to strengthen anti-cyberstalking laws and passed a law to increase the penalty for financially exploiting seniors and people with disabilities.

Hutchinson has been an ardent supporter of transportation development in the 40th District. She passed a law creating the Southeast Commuter Rail Transit District that will eventually construct a new Metra line connecting eleven South Suburban communities with downtown Chicago. In 2013, she passed the first public-private financing agreement in Illinois. This growing method of financing public projects is gaining popularity nationwide as costs to expand and develop transportation infrastructure continue to rise.

As a mother of three children who attended public schools, Hutchinson has placed high importance on improving public education in Illinois. Concerned about the increasing number of students, especially African-American boys, who receive severe disciplinary action that keeps them out of the classroom, Hutchinson passed a law to study the problem and work with school districts to reduce expulsions and suspensions.

Hutchinson earned a Bachelor of English degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a law degree from Northern Illinois University College of Law.

Hutchinson lives with her family in Olympia Fields.