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.
Demand Charges Will Raise Rates and Make Bills Harder To Predict
- Demand charges allow utilities to set rate they charge consumers for energy on the 15-30 minute “peak use” period when each consumer uses the most power in a given month. This means that bills will be determined on the 15 minute interval you use the most energy, not how much energy you use overall.
- Because they are based on the highest rate, demand charges will raise rates and bills for almost everyone. At the same time, it will strip consumers of the ability to lower their bills by using less power. Individual home demand is exceedingly difficult for most consumers to track, given that it varies day to day and is only 15-30 minutes long. It will be almost impossible for most consumers to track their peak usage and change their behaviour to be more energy efficient or lower their rates.
Demand Charges Are Unfair and Unjust
- With demand charges, bills will, on average, be higher. Low-income people already pay an inordinate proportion of their income to the power company. Demand charges would reinforce and worsen this situation.
- At the same time, low-income folks and people on fixed income can least stomach the sudden month to month rate hikes that individualized, changing demand charges would introduce.
- Many low-income Illinois residents have to work two or three jobs and only have a couple hours each week to get all their chores done. Under demand charges, the working poor, who would have higher peak uses, and pay higher rates than those who use more, but have the luxury to spread their use out over time.
Demand Charges Would Kill Solar in Illinois
- Currently solar is economical because ratepayers who put up solar panels can recoup the costs of installation through reduced energy bills (since your overall usage is lower, you get charged less) over time.
- Under demand charges, the rate you pay will still be based on that 15-30 minute window of peak use, not your overall usage. So putting up solar panels, even selling back to the grid, will not reduce your bill as much. Furthermore, the fact that demand charges mean bills are different month to month means solar panel consumers can’t rely on consistent pay back from the grid.
- Illinois needs to be expanding both the amount of solar energy we generate and increasing the amount of people who can access it, not adopting rate structures that undermine a core part of the clean energy revolution.
Demand Charges are Un-Democratic
- Demand charges eliminate the General Assembly’s and Illinois voters’ ability to regulate rate changes in a democratically accountable way and replaces the rate structure with an arbitrary and opaque rate structure that would allow big utility interests to raise rates with impunity.
- Demand charges hurt poor people, sabotage the development of solar energy in Illinois and hands over control of yet another facet of everyday life to profit-driven corporations. They must be opposed.
Here's the Illinois Green Party results for Tuesday's election. Note that these are not the final results, but generally are based on 99% of precincts reporting.
Dr. Jill Stein for President results:
National: 1% (over 1.2 million, 3 times her 2012 results)
Illinois: 1.4% (over 74,000, 2.5 times her 2012 results)
Scott Summers for US Senate: 2.1 % (over 113,000)
Tim Curtin for State Comptroller: 2.65% (over 135,000)
Paula Bradshaw for Congress (IL-12): 6% (18,713), retains established party status
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner 6 Year Term:
- George Milkowski: 7.8% (296,672)
- Karen Roothaan: 8.6% (329,440)
- Michael Smith: 8.1% (307,412)
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner 2 Year Term:
- Christopher Anthony: 10.5% (190,498)
Jackson County Board:
- District 2: Charlie Howe: 1033 (31%)
- District 3: Randy Auxier: 202 (7.47%)
- District 4: Rich Whitney: 786 (31%)
While unfortunately none of these candidates won their elections, they all fought hard campaigns for the common good with integrity! These candidates and their volunteers and supporters are all to be congratulated for continuing the struggle to bring economic, social, racial, environmental and democratic justice and peace to Illinois, our nation and the world!
THE MORNING AFTER
If you’re like me, you felt very good about voting for Jill Stein. The same for the other Green Party candidates on my ballot. I still do. Even after facing the stark reality that Donald Trump has won the 2016 Presidential Election. I won’t let anyone make me feel guilty about supporting the Green Party candidates on my ballot, who I believe were the best candidates for those positions.
Let’s focus on the good news.
We are building a political party, and a movement.
Thanks to all Green Party candidates, all across the country. Thanks to all those Green Party supporters in Illinois who petitioned to get Jill and our statewide, federal, and local candidates on the ballot. Thanks to all those Greens who worked so hard to get out the vote and who voted Green. Thanks to all the Bernie supporters for their courageous, contagious can-do attitude.
In Illinois, Jill Stein received two-and-a-half times more votes in this 2016 election than in 2012. Nationwide, in this election she has received almost three times more votes than in 2012—MORE THAN ONE MILLION votes. Unofficial results have her at about 1,200,000 and there are still more votes to be counted.
Paula Bradshaw increased her vote total in the 12th Congressional District by 50% (to 18,713 votes) and she preserved established party status for the Green Party in that district by getting 6% of the vote .
Karen Roothan, Michael Smith, George Milkowski, and Christopher Anthony were the Green Party candidates for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and they garnered enough votes to maintain the Green Party’s established party status for MWRD. With 97% of precincts counted, in the election for the two-year seat, Christopher has received 10.5% (190,312 votes); for the three four-year seats, Karen leads the way for the Green Party candidates, finishing fourth and receiving 8.6% (329,040 votes).
Rich Whitney, Charlie Howe, and Randy Auxier ran for Jackson County Board. Rich received 31%, Charlie 31%, and Randy 7.47%.
So, we made progress. Not as much as we had hoped for, but building a new political party does take time.
No doubt we all need to take care of at least some of those tasks that we put aside during the campaign. But we must go on with our party- and movement-building .
At its regular meeting on Sunday, the ILGP Executive Committee will begin plans for its Spring 2017 statewide Membership Meeting, likely to be held in Chicagoland. Rich Whitney has already called a meeting for the Shawnee Green Party to discuss the 2017 and 2018 campaigns. Please stay involved with social justice issues, especially climate change. Consider running for office. The 2017 elections are mostly nonpartisan; some candidate petitions need to be filed later this month!
Peace and Progress,
The Illinois Green Party's Executive Committee recommends that voters vote no Nov. 8th on the proposed amendment to add Section 11 (Transportation Funds) to Article IX of the Illinois Constitution (aka the "Lockbox Amendment" and the "Safe Roads Amendment"). The reasons for this recommendation are well highlighted in the following article: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/transportation-lockbox-ballot-initiative-illinois/Content?oid=24193231.
2016 Elections, Part 3: Karen Roothan gets endorsement for MWRD
Karen Roothan, Green Party candidate for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, has received the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune. Congratulations Karen!
Learn more about Karen here:
and the rest of the Green Party's MWRD candidates here:
The Chair's Blog
2016 Elections, Part 2: Early Voting
More about early voting:
Please keep in mind that for the Primary Election back in March, several Illinois counties ran out of ballots, and according to my research, in at least two or three of those counties, some people did not vote as a result of the shortages. The new voter suppression--don't provide enough ballots.
In Adams County, the shortage affected all 74 precincts. The local circuit court ruled that there needed to be an extra day of voting, but the appellate court disagreed and overturned the circuit court's ruling. The Illinois Attorney General argued against allowing the additional opportunity to vote. That's the public official/agency that we're supposed to call if there are election problems? Go figure.
There were also reports of ballot shortages causing polling places to stay open longer in other counties, too: Kendall, Madison, and Sangamon, and maybe Champaign and St. Clair (not yet confirmed).
Please consider voting early. In the Primary Election in Adams County and Madison County, some people did not get to vote. Just saying.
The Chair's Blog
2016 Elections, Part 1: Southern Illinois ballots and Paula Bradshaw for Congress
Earlier this week I voted early, in my home county of Jefferson, a rural county in south central Illinois. Page one of my ballot included candidates for five offices, and for four of those offices, I was able to vote for most excellent Green Party candidates! A great feeling! In addition to Jill & Ajamu, Scott Summers for U.S. Senate, and Tim Curtin for Illinois Comptroller, I voted for Paula Bradshaw for Congress in the 12th District.
Better yet is the situation in Jackson County, home of Carbondale. Those four Green Party candidates were on the ballot, and in addition, about three of every seven Jackson County voters could also vote for one of three GP candidates for Jackson County Board: Rich Whitney, Charlie Howe, and Randy Auxier.
On Thursday evening, Paula participated in a debate with her Democratic and Republican rivals for Congress. The debate was held at Lindenwood University in Belleville and was sponsored by WSIU-TV (the local PBS affiliate), the Southern newspaper, and the Belleville News Democrat. A decent-size contingent of Green Party supporters was in attendance, and Paula did very well in the debates. Her answers showed how very informed she is on both domestic and foreign issues, and her positions rang true to Green Party principles.
While her rivals tripped over themselves trying to be the most disappointed/upset about the location of the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West campus in St. Louis, rather than adjacent to Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County (the home county for the debate), Paula had the courage to criticize the building of a new spy center, since we already have 17 spy agencies. Her position resonated with all the civil libertarians in the audience.
The 12th Congressional District runs from metro-east St. Louis to Mt. Vernon/Jefferson County all the way down to the southern tip of Illinois, including Carbondale. Her rivals are the incumbent, Mike “Clean Coal” Bost (R) and C.J. Baricevic (D), son of St. Clair County’s chief judge, who spoke of his support for workers but also made clear his support for the neoliberal trickle-down economic theory.