On Sunday, March 8, Democratic supporters from Moraine Township gathered at Lucky Fish in Highwood to meet state and local elected officials and candidates for office. Moraine Township, one of 18 townships within the 10th Congressional District, includes parts of Highland Park, all of Highwood and Fort Sheridan, and parts of Deerfield and Lake Forest. As the more than 70 in attendance enjoyed fish tacos and crab quesadillas, they had the opportunity to mingle with fellow activists, elected officials, and candidates.
During the formal program, the importance of Democratic values in a changing society, and, indeed, as a catalyst for change, was emphasized by all speakers, who included Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison, State Representative Scott Drury, College of Lake County Trustee Amanda Howland, and candidates for local school boards. As Barbara Altman, one of the Moraine Township Democrats’ vice chairs pointed out, many elected officials who achieve higher office begin their political careers in non-partisan, down-ballot races. It is important, she noted, that we support those who share our party’s values.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rodkin Rotering, who is running unopposed for reelection and has announced that she will be running for Congress in the 10th District in 2016, said that Highland Park has had a balanced budget for four years and that, responding to residents’ concerns, the city has installed new sidewalks in many parts of the community.
Dan Pierce, a former Highland Park mayor and currently a Democratic State Committeeman and President of the North Shore Water Reclamation District (formerly known as the North Shore Sanitary District), noted that Democrats are working toward solutions to global water shortages in our own back yard.
Education at all levels was a topic of concern. Highland Park’s K-8 schools are slated to undergo a major reorganization that will be on the 2016 ballot for voter approval, and Superintendent Michael Bregy briefly spoke about the issues. Amanda Howland, the chair of the Board of Trustees of the College of Lake County emphasized the importance of this two-year public college as a resource for so many in our community. Candidates for school boards throughout Moraine Township also addressed the group.
Perhaps the most significant warnings about the urgency of employing our Democratic values came from State Senator Julie Morrison and State Representative Scott Drury. Senator Morrison noted that changes were coming to the Illinois budget that were extremely worrisome and that she and Representative Drury would be working to make sure that Illinois maintains a morally equitable budget.
Representative Drury warned that in the 2014 elections we saw a demographic shift and a change in the electoral landscape that necessitates a greater unity among Democrats and persistent, powerful campaign tactics. He also emphasized the importance of reading the electorate based on the 2014 results and of candidates acting accordingly in this new environment.