If there's one thing 2016 proved beyond a doubt, it's that support for the Green Party and our Ten Key Values exists at every level, and in every community, across our state.
Our task in 2017 is to harness that support, and to offer individuals strong, local, grassroots organizations that fight for Green Party values. To that end, the Illinois Green Party will be establishing local chapters in every county in Illinois this coming year -- and we'd love to have you involved.
Illinois Green Party member Rob Sherman, 63, of Poplar Grove, died in a tragic plane crash on Friday, December 9th. A small aircraft enthusiast, Sherman was piloting his home-built single-engine aircraft en route to an event in Schaumburg when it went down. The Illinois Green Party extends its condolences and sympathy to his family.
Sherman was nationally known as a proponent of atheism and ardent defender of the First Amendment wall of separation between church and state. He first achieved prominence in 1986 by suing the city of Zion to remove a cross from its municipal seal. He was once arrested for demonstrating when the Calumet Expressway was rechristened the Bishop Ford Freeway. In the late 1980s, on behalf of his son, he challenged an Illinois law requiring the recitation of the pledge of allegiance, and its expression, "one nation under God," in public schools. In 2007, on behalf of his daughter Dawn, he challenged another Illinois law mandating a "moment of silence" in public schools. He filed a number of other legal actions that exposed and challenged state appropriations and laws that promoted religion. He appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and his efforts frequently received national attention.
Sherman joined the Illinois Green Party in 2007, and he ran for Congress in the 5th Congressional District as a Green in 2016, winning 4.6 percent of the vote. His staunch defense of civil liberties was compatible with the party’s views and were welcome within the party. To be candid, his views on other subjects were not always as well received and were the source of occasional controversy. However, it is fair to say that most party members recognized him as a resolute and relentless advocate of his point of view, and many appreciated his knowledgeable understanding of the sometimes arcane legislative process in Springfield. He also deserves credit for exposing, and calling some attention to, Governor Bruce Rauner’s flagrant violations of the Gender Balanced Appointments Act, which requires that appointments to boards, commissions, committees and councils of the State "shall be gender balanced to the extent possible."
At a time when some political forces in America continue to try to define the United States as a "Christian" nation, and seek to use government resources to promote or impose their religious beliefs on others, we would do well to remember Rob Sherman’s example as a fierce defender of the First Amendment’s protections against the state establishment of religion.
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A letter to Illinois public officials in support of sustainable, affordable community-based renewable energy and energy efficiency; and opposing a nuclear power bailout and rate hike.
November 27, 2016
To Our Elected Officials:
An energy transformation is currently taking place not just here in Illinois, or in the U.S., but worldwide. This transformation is coupling the best of modern technological innovation and entrepreneurial innovation with increased community control and democratization.
Since the Fall of 2013, dire utility predictions and several competing pieces of energy legislation have been put before you for consideration. The majority of these, coming from existing utilities, promote policies and advocate plans that ignore the worldwide energy transformation taking place, and would mire Illinois in methods, technologies and systems of the past. Worse still, a bailout of uncompetitive nuclear plants that rewards the anachronistic systems of the past would inhibit the vital and necessary growth of truly renewable sources of energy at a time when both the environment and the Illinois economy desperately require their expansion.
You cannot allow this to happen. Mortgaging our energy and economic future to preserve the past and a relatively small number of jobs with an uncertain future is inevitably self-defeating public policy, particularly when available alternatives result in benefits being allocated statewide.
We, the undersigned Illinois organizations and governmental entities strongly urge you to take the following actions:
- First and foremost, and independent of all other energy policy considerations, fix the Illinois Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, at least to the level prescribed in the Clean Jobs Bill: 35% renewable energy by 2030, and 20% increase in efficiency by 2020.
- Do not bailout or in any other way subsidize uncompetitive nuclear reactors. Other options which have not been fully explored exist for Exelon if they wish to preserve their corporate assets. Do not define nuclear as either “clean,” nor “renewable” energy.
- Ensure that there are no subsidies for coal-to-gas conversion or incineration.
- Preserve solar net-metering.
- Oppose a legislatively mandated demand charge. Rate design should only happen through an evidence-based, transparent process involving all stakeholders through the ICC.
- Ensure environmental and economic justice, particularly for low income communities, indigenous populations, rural communities and communities of color by:
- Investing in clean renewable energy and energy efficiency, prioritizing community-based where practicable.
- Prohibiting monopolistic utility control of community solar.
- Expanding resources, energy-related job creation and programs for low-income communities, communities of color and communities with the highest burden of pollution to make up for the higher pollution burden and historic disinvestment.
We pledge our resources and efforts to work with you to make these proposals reality. Thank you for your consideration and your efforts to create a forward-thinking energy future for Illinois.