For Immediate Release:
Wednesday February 19, 2020
Dan Kovats, Executive Director
(773) 351-7818 |


SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association (IDCCA) today announced their selection of two individuals and an organization to receive the 2020 IDCCA Party Builder Award. These outstanding individuals will be presented the award on March 2nd at The Hubbard Inn as part of the IDCCA Chicago Reception.

The IDCCA is proud to honor Cook County Board of Review Commissioner & State Central Committeeman Michael Cabonargi, Invest to Elect Illinois, and Secretary of State Jesse White. Each of these individuals and organizations have helped build the grassroots political efforts in Illinois, which are the core of the IDCCA’s mission.

IDCCA President Kristina Zahorik issued the following statement.

” The IDCCA Party Builder Award honors outstanding Illinois Democrats for their contributions to building the Democratic Party. Those being honored at the IDCCA Chicago Reception reflect what is good in our Party. A commitment to good government, service, and empowerment.  Secretary of State Jesse White is a household name who garners praise from both sides of the aisle for transforming the Secretary of State’s Office for the better, while reaching back and helping at risk youth. Michael Cabonargi has dedicated his entire career to good government practices, to helping Democrats, and to supporting progressive policies throughout Illinois. His work on the minimum wage and sick leave ordinances highlights some of this work.  Invest to Elect Illinois used the devastating 2016 Election as a catalyst to empower women’s economic political power. They created an organization to support federal candidates as part of the 2018 Blue Wave and beyond. It is a true honor to recognize these individuals and this organization for their contributions to the Democratic Party.”

The IDCCA Party Builder Award was created in 2017 to highlight and honor the achievements of Democrats who have strengthened the grassroots efforts of the Democratic Party. Previous Party Builder Award Honorees have included political strategist Kevin Conlon, former Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth, Co-Director of Citizen Action Illinois William McNary, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Cook County Board President & Cook County Democratic Party Chair Toni Preckwinkle, and MWRD Commissioner Debra Shore.


Secretary of State Jesse White

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has spent his life serving Illinois and his country. White was first elected to the office in 1998 and won landslide victories in 2002, in which he carried all 102 counties, and again in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Under White’s leadership, the use of new technology along with modernizing and streamlining operations has significantly improved customer service. Illinois has become a national leader in road safety as White strengthened DUI laws, reformed the truck driver licensing program and overhauled teen driving guidelines. As a result, traffic fatalities have decreased, with drunk driving deaths down nearly 50 percent and teen driving deaths reduced by 51 percent.  In addition, White also created the world-renowned Jesse White Tumbling Team as a positive option for at-risk youth. Since its creation, over 18,000 Chicago youth have participated in the program. As a Party leader, White continues to be a tireless advocate for the people of Illinois and for countless Democratic candidates who seek his guidance and advice.  Because of his dedication to service and to helping others, Jesse White is truly one of the most beloved figures in Illinois politics.

Cook County Board of Review Commissioner & State Central Committeeman Michael Cabonargi

Cook County Board of Review Commissioner & State Central Committeeman Michael Cabonargi is a first-generation American who began his political career working for Senator Paul Simon and then Senator Dick Durbin. Inspired by the power of people to make positive change through the law, Cabonargi gained a degree and fought corruption and fraud, returning to public service as an award-winning senior attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. He then brought good government practices to the Cook County Board of Review in 2011. All the while, Cabonargi continued to be a Party Builder by advising, encouraging, and supporting Democratic candidates while volunteering within the ranks of the Democratic Party. He has served as a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention twice and was elected to the State Central Committee in 2018.

Invest to Elect Illinois

Invest to Elect Illinois is a grassroots organization formed in the wake of Trump, whose members recognize and harness the political economic power of women.  They donate directly to Democratic candidates at the national level. Based in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, Invest To Elect Illinois has directly invested in 33 candidates: 16 Senate and 17 House, donating over $1,400,000 since their founding in June 2017.


About the IDCCA…

The Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association (IDCCA) is a statewide, grassroots Democratic Party organization comprised of the elected Democratic County Chairs in all 102 counties in Illinois. The mission of the IDCCA is to help elect Democrats in every county and region of Illinois while continuing to grow the Democratic Party throughout the state. McHenry County Democratic Chair Kristina Zahorik is the President of the IDCCA.

The IDCCA Leadership Circle is an advisory board made up of elected officials, members of Organized Labor, political activists, and supporters who are not County Chairs. The role of the IDCCA Leadership Circle is to act as Ambassadors for the IDCCA and help expand the resources that we provide to our County Chairs. Kevin Conlon of Conlon & Dunn Public Strategies serves as the Chair of the IDCCA Leadership Circle.

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