Your Vote Is Your Voice

Another meet-and-greet I’ll be at, if you can’t make tomorrow’s and would like to come ask me political questions.

Meet the Candidates

I wanted to take a moment to talk about why people might want to go to candidate meet-and-greets. They honestly weren’t on my radar before the last election cycle, when Trump’s election got me much more civically engaged on that front. I suspect a lot of my friends (and readers here), even if they care a lot about political issues, have never been to a candidate meet-and-greet, and may not understand what they’re for.

So I’ll say first that there are different purposes that might be in play. Some of these events are specifically fundraising sessions — the candidate comes and makes their pitch to you, and then if you’re so moved, you write a check (or send via Venmo, etc.). If you’re invited to a meet-and-greet for someone at the state or higher level, there’ll generally be some kind of fundraising component.

But that’s strictly voluntary — you can come, eat the cheese and drink the wine provided by the host, and if you decide after you hear the candidate speak that you don’t want to support them in that way, you should feel free to walk out without donating a penny. You can also support their campaign by volunteering; there’s often a volunteer sign-up available.

You’ll also probably get at least a few minutes to talk one-on-one with them, if you like, which I think is really interesting. Even just hanging out on the fringes as they talk to other people is interesting; you get a different view of the candidate than you’ll get from their canned campaign speeches and polished website.

For local politics, there’s often very little or no fundraising involved, for things like school board races. It’s much more about just meeting the candidates; the meet-and-greet is a chance for you to ask them your burning questions.

It’s also a chance to tell your story, especially if you have an issue relevant to the office. If you have a kid who’s had a hard time with remote learning during the pandemic, it’s absolutely appropriate to talk to a school board candidate about that. (Conversely, if remote learning has been amazing for your kid, and you want some version of it to continue into the future, that’s also worth telling them about.)

The meet-and-greet is a chance for you to learn about and assess these people; it’s also a chance for you to potentially influence them. So I’d like to encourage everyone reading this, if you haven’t been to a local candidate meet-and-greet before, try to get to one this local campaign season (where we are, the election is April 6, so we’re in the heat of it now).

Right now, they’re mostly on Zoom, which makes it particularly easy — even if you’re not the most extroverted person, you can join into a Zoom call and just listen, or maybe type a question into the chat.

I’m going to post a link to my next meet-and-greet (tomorrow at 2 p.m.) into the comments. I’ll note that while it’s aimed at locals (Oak Park & River Forest), I’m totally fine with others dropping in, if they’d just like to see what this format is like. Just please let the actual local voters ask their questions first, please. Thanks!

If You Missed the SEOPCO Community Forum

If you missed the SEOPCO community forum last night and have questions for me about D200, please don’t hesitate to join me this Saturday at 2 p.m. on Zoom.

Or if you know all about me, but still have questions for Cate Readling, who is running for Village President, feel free to join and just pester Cate instead. Depending on how many people are attending, we may go into breakout rooms for separate discussions.

Comment below or PM for Zoom link!

Survived Community Forum Number 2!

(Apologies to candidates if I caught you at a bad moment in this screenshot). Thanks to SEOPCO for hosting a fascinating discussion. For those who couldn’t attend, it was recorded, and they’ll be putting it up shortly. Onwards to April 6! (Vote early if you can. 🙂 )

League of Women Voters Video

The League of Women Voters has put up the video from the D200 candidate forum that they held a few weeks ago. Note that they had some technical issues at the beginning, so it may take 15 or so minutes before we start, and then it’s maybe the second question before all the candidates have their videos turned on. But we all got there eventually. 🙂

SEOPCO Candidate Forum for D200

A little more info on tonight’s SEOPCO candidate forum for D200 (OPRF high school board), just so people know what the format will be like:

“Each of the six candidates will provide a two minute introduction, then we will ask you two rounds of questions with a two minute response per question….

After that we will put you in separate zoom rooms and participants will join a room and ask whatever questions they have. While we hope to have a SEOPCO board member in each room, we are asking you to ‘host’ your own room. Just introduce yourself and ask for questions. We will request that everyone rotate around to different candidates after about 10 minutes.

We are giving you one of the forum questions in advance, and the second one will not be revealed until we ask at the forum.

First question: Like the rest of the nation, Oak Park and D200 are grappling with issues of discrimination based on racism, Islamophobia, ableism and LGBTQ rights. What steps are you taking to learn more about these issues and how would you address bias in your service to the high school?

We plan to record both the main session and the breakout rooms. Please let us know if you don’t want your Zoom breakout room recording to be put online.”

“Please sign up in advance using this google form: — Zoom details will be sent to you before the forum.”

When We Talk About Medicare-for-All…

I want to ask Americans to add up all they paid for healthcare in the last year — doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospital stays, etc. This includes all the people who supposedly have ‘good’ insurance through their jobs.

Then ask if they’d be willing to pay that same amount in taxes instead, which would ALSO enable ten of their neighbor families to have health care who can’t afford it under our current system.

I haven’t actually done the math on this, so I’m not sure how it pencils out. It might be a hundred families instead. And what most folks would end up paying in taxes (compared to their prior costs) would probably also go down quite a lot.

I just wish we could get past the reflexive:

• ‘people who want to raise taxes want to take our money’…

to the actual case, at least for me as a politician, that

• ‘people who want to raise taxes are usually trying to leave everyone in the community with MORE money in their bank accounts AND better services for more of the community…”

Two Upcoming Candidate Events

I wanted to note two upcoming candidate events I’ll be at this week:

– this Tuesday 3/2, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., the South East Oak Park group (SEOPCO) is hosting a candidate forum for D200 candidates, which I’ll be attending; all are welcome. I think this is the right info for it: “Please sign up in advance using this google form: — Zoom details will be sent to you before the forum.”

– this Saturday 3/6, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., I’ll be hosting a Zoom meet-and-greet with myself and Cate Readling; Cate is running for Oak Park Village President. We’ll introduce ourselves briefly, and then will be happy to answer questions. Just comment below or PM me if you’d like an invite to that!

My Profile in the Wednesday Journal

Profile of my candidacy in the local Wednesday Journal.…/d200-candidate-wants-to…/

Only So Much You Can Do

I have a list of things I didn’t get to accomplish in my time on the library board, because of course, there’s only so much you can accomplish in four years, given budgetary and other constraints, and then, y’know, PANDEMIC intervened…

…so today I sent a note to the director asking if he’d have time to meet with me in the next few weeks so I could pass my list on to him, which he’s totally not obliged to do of course, but he graciously said yes, so I get to put in just a few more cents before I leave the board…

…and I am feeling just a little bit ‘extra,’ as my 13-year-old would snarkily say. I’m not sure you’re supposed to keep trying to do stuff like this once you’re a lame duck?

Oh well. I will have more peace of mind going off leaving unfinished tasks if I know I’ve at least made a good faith attempt to pass them on to the next board. 🙂

Now I will go rewatch the West Wing episode where C.J. keeps snapping at the rest of the Barlett outgoing staff that she needs their TRANSITION MEMO….