IDCCA President’s Message
by Kristina Zahorik, IDCCA President
Congratulations during Black History Month to the Honorable Chris Welch on his historic election to Illinois House Speaker and to former Sangamon County Democratic Chair the Honorable Doris Turner to the Illinois Senate.
On President’s Day weekend, the worst American President avoids conviction on a technicality. I write to you just after the Senate did not have the final 10 votes needed for the super majority to convict Trump. We knew this would be the outcome, but the nation had to go through the exercise. The nation needed hear and see the overwhelming and damning testimony presented like the opening video, the security footage, and the infamous McCarthy call.
The vote was close. The vote was bipartisan. GOP Leader Mitch McConnell conceded in his remarks following it that Trump is guilty. It is just, in his opinion, the venue for conviction was wrong.
We will not be deterred in our efforts to protect democracy. As Senator Tammy Duckworth said in a recent interview, “We need to track down everyone who was involved, and there need to be consequences for those actions.” She is correct. Duckworth is featured later this month in the NIU Democracy Lecture Series.
President Biden affirmed during his Inaugural Address democracy prevailed, but clearly there is much work ahead to heal and end this most uncivil war. There is no healing if those responsible for the attacks are not held accountable. If the Senate was not the right venue then, as the GOP leader observed, Trump remains subject to the country’s criminal and civil laws.
Democrats will continue to protect democracy and do the necessary work to solve the problems our nation and her people face.
Elected Democrats are finding meaningful solutions to complex problems. They can do so because you partnered with the IDCCA, elected them, and supported their efforts. Read about all we did together in our Annual Report.
The other side remains the good old party of no and is focused on distraction. They are only interested in tearing down anything we put forward. I think about how often Democrats listened to and incorporated changes Republicans wanted on the Affordable Care Act, then they spent years trying to destroy it – even during this pandemic.
Democrats are often called upon by the electorate to find those challenging solutions after the Republicans have made a mess of things. Business Insider recently reported, “The last three Republican presidencies ended in economic turmoil. And their Democratic successors had to clean up the mess.” Or as the New York Times said, “A president has only limited control over the economy. And yet there has been a stark pattern in the United States for nearly a century. The economy has grown significantly faster under Democratic presidents than Republican ones. That leaves one broad possibility with a good amount of supporting evidence: Democrats have been more willing to heed economic and historical lessons about what policies actually strengthen the economy, while Republicans have often clung to theories that they want to believe — like the supposedly magical power of tax cuts and deregulation. Democrats, in short, have been more pragmatic”.
This willingness to listen to science, experts, stakeholders, and to be pragmatic follows here in Illinois. Governor Pritzker was faced with the task of cleaning up after the Rauner mess. He, with the help of the Democratically controlled Illinois General Assembly, was getting big things done. Then, a few months into his administration, the pandemic hit. The Governor responded quickly to save lives without national leadership. The Governor has and continues to fight to protect Illinois. Thankfully, we now have an ally in the White House.
Because of President Joe Biden, we finally have a National COVID-19 Response Plan. As President Biden says in the opening, “Our national strategy will be driven by scientists and public health experts who will regularly speak directly to you, free from political interference as they make decisions strictly on science and public health alone.”
Another example of where Democrats are finding solutions is the recently passed Criminal Justice Reform Bill. Over the years, Illinois Democrats have looked for positive solutions to address criminal justice reform; however, it took the grassroots activism – which included many of you, over the summer in nearly every county in our state to provide the impetus to take significant action. The Omnibus Criminal Justice Reform Act incorporates many previously debated bills. It also includes measures presented and debated during 9 hearings with 30 hours of stakeholder testimony. The other side, rather than addressing the problems, is working overtime to follow Trump’s playbook of misinformation and fear mongering. They are trying to make this legislation a political wedge issue. You can find a toolkit with the bill facts HERE.
With your help, the IDCCA will continue our successful grassroots efforts. Mark your calendar to join us next month, March 29, as we virtually celebrate our 2021 Party Builder Honorees.
Finally, keep vigilant. Wear a mask, wash hands, and continue to keep socially distant. We are moving toward the end of this pandemic and want everyone to make it across the finish line.