Tomorrow (Tuesday, March 20) is Primary Election Day. If you haven’t done so already, please vote. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
To verify your voter registration status, CLICK HERE and type in your address and last name.
To find your polling place location, CLICK HERE and type in your address only. Please note some polling place locations have changed since the last election, so it’s always a good idea to verify your location before you go to vote.
A number of folks have asked me for my recommendations, especially in the “down ballot” races, such as judge, that don’t receive a lot of attention from the news media. However, I encourage you to conduct your own research and you may reach a different conclusion.
I have met nearly all the candidates and know most of them quite well. Far too often, my choice comes down to a “lesser of two evils.” But in this election, every candidate I endorse I do so enthusiastically.
I would like to highlight a few of the candidates in some of the more hotly contested races, starting with the most local races where your vote can have the most impact and moving up the ballot. I’ve provided links to their respective web sites, so you can do your own research of the candidates and their qualifications.
FOR DEMOCRATIC WARD COMMITTEEMAN–DAVID FAGUS
David Fagus has transformed the 49th Ward Democratic Party into a powerful grassroots organization of volunteer activists who are working to change our country and the Democratic Party from the bottom up. As the old-style ward organizations fade into obscurity, the 49th Ward Democratic Party under David’s leadership has become the model that other progressive organizations emulate.
David was one of the first ward committeemen in the state to support Barack Obama’s bid for the U.S. Senate and later his run for the White House, and he played a pivotal role in electing to office progressive stalwarts such as Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and County Clerk David Orr.
David does not collect a salary as ward committeeman. It is truly a labor of love. He believes in our progressive values and fights for them every day.
FOR ILLINOIS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES–KELLY CASSIDY
I’m strongly supporting Kelly Cassidy in the race for State Representative. She was recently appointed to fill the remainder of State Representative Harry Osterman’s term and hit the ground running. She has emerged as a strong progressive advocate and hasn’t been afraid to cast the tough votes, such as when she stood with consumers to vote against the recent bill which would have given the utilities carte blanche to raise rates. Kelly is in the mold of Julie Hamos and Jan Schakowsky, a progressive, dynamic leader who isn’t afraid to shake things up.
FOR COOK COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE–ABBEY FISHMAN ROMANEK
Two seats for judge are up this year in the 9th Judicial Subcircuit. Abbey Fishman Romanek is running for one of those seats, and I’m enthusiastically supporting her. Our court system needs skilled and compassionate judges who understand the law and understand the lives of ordinary people. Abbey would bring that essential combination of traits to the bench. A daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Abbey was raised to honor the intrinsic equality and worth of all human beings and to treat each individual with dignity, courtesy and respect
As an attorney, Abbey has represented clients in a wide variety of cases and has served as counsel for both the defense and prosecution. This breadth of experience has provided Abbey with a unique understanding of the perspective each party brings to the courtroom. These are some of the many reasonsCongresswoman Jan Schakowsky and County Board President Toni Preckwinkle have endorsed Abbey for election to the bench.
FOR COOK COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE–LIONEL JEAN-BAPTISTE
For Lionel Jean-Baptiste, public service is not just a career; it’s a way of life. He’s been involved in countless civic activities in his hometown of Evanston, including serving 10 years as alderman of Evanston’s 2nd Ward, and in the greater Chicago-area Haitian community.
Lionel recently was appointed to the bench and has been endorsed for judge by every progressive elected official on the north side, including Jan Schakowsky, Larry Suffredin and Debra Shore. He’s also earned the support of most of the area’s legal community, who know him to be an outstanding judge, lawyer and advocate for the little guy. Lionel will be an excellent addition to the Cook County Court system, a system badly in need of more judges of Lionel’s wisdom, competence and fairness.
FOR ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT–MARY JANE THEIS
Mary Jane Theis is one of the smartest and most capable jurists on the bench today, having served as an associate judge, circuit judge, appellate court justice and now a justice on the Supreme Court. She consistently receives the highest ratings from every major bar association in the state.
The progressive Chicago Council of Lawyers gave Justice Theis their highest rating, “Highly Qualified,” the only judicial candidate at any level to receive such a rating. They wrote: “Judge Theis is considered to have outstanding legal ability and has received accolades from her judicial performance in a variety of trial court arenas, in the Appellate Court, and as an appointed Supreme Court Justice. She is praised as a scholar who both teaches and publishes. Her integrity is unquestioned, and she has an excellent temperament. She was patient as both a trial judge and an appellate judge. She is fair and even-handed to all parties appearing before her. She is also praised for being exceptionally hard-working and for opinions that are well-reasoned and well-written.”
The Illinois Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and is called upon to make legal decisions on the most important legal matters, directly affecting the lives of millions of Illinois residents. We need someone on the bench who is smart, reform-minded and progressive. Mary Jane Theis fits the bill.
FOR CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY–RICARDO MUNOZ
I have had the privilege of serving with Rick Munoz on the Chicago City Council for the last 19 years. Together with Toni Preckwinkle, Rick and I have served as co-chairs of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus. Rick is a proven progressive and champion of working men and women. With his long-time friend and mentor, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Rick has established a progressive beachhead in the southwest side of Chicago. He will take his longstanding commitment to reform to a county office that badly needs reform and modernization.
Thanks for considering my recommendations. Perhaps I’ll run into you at the polls!
(You may take this into the polls when you vote).
State Senator, 7th District
(51) Heather A. Steans
State Representative, 14th District
(62) Kelly M. Cassidy
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (You may vote for up to 3)*
(72) Debra Shore
(73) Kari K. Steele
*Note: I’m making no recommendation for the third slot.
Clerk of the Circuit Court
(83) Ricardo Munoz
Recorder of Deeds
(84) Karen A. Yarbrough
Board of Review, 2nd District
(91) Michael Cabonargi
Judge of the Supreme Court
(101) Mary Jane Theis
Judge of the Appellate Court
(112) Mathias William Delort (Vacancy of Cahill)
(117) Nathaniel Roosevelt Howse, Jr. (Vacancy of Johnson Coleman)
(120) P. Scott Neville, Jr. (Vacancy of Gallagher)
(122) Jesse G. Reyes (Vacancy of O’Brien)
(127) Maureen Elizabeth Connors (Vacancy of Theis)
(128) Terrence J. Lavin (Vacancy of Tully)
Judge of the Circuit Court
(143) Stanley L. Hill, Sr. (Vacancy of Conlon)
(144) Jean Prendergast Rooney (Vacancy of Jordan)
(146) Erica L. Reddick (Vacancy of Kinnaird)
(147) Russell W. Hartigan (Vacancy of Moran)
(149) Cynthia Ramirez (Vacancy of O’Brien)
(153) Diann Karen Marsalek (Vacancy of O’Mara Frossard)
(157) Lorna Ellen Propes (Vacancy of Pucinski)
(158) Michael A. Forti (Vacancy of Simmons, Jr.)
(161) Pamela M. Leeming (Vacancy of Stewart)
(168) Michael Tully Mullen (Vacancy of Stralka)
(173) Peter J. Vilkelis (Vacancy of Ward)
Commiteeman, 49th Ward
(201) David Fagus