Well, “Samaha” went out partying a few weeks ago and not with 40,000 unindicted co-conspirators .. oh wait, I keep forgetting .. I am an unindicted co-conspirator. Scratch that sentence. Allrighty then .. that night, a few co-conspirators got together with some Illinois State Representatives, an Illinois Senator, and a few candidates running for office. Really though it was just a few of us and I don’t think we were the majority – so breath easy people.
Nazneem Hashmi hosted a Greater Chicago Caucus house party (and a great big thank you/jazakallah out to her for being a wonderful host). The party was meant to bring people together to get to know some of our elected officials and candidates. That it did and did well.
The setting offered a wonderful opportunity to mingle, make small talk and discuss on a one on one, or small group basis, issues and politics. At first, every introduction was slightly awkward for me as when asked how I got to be invited or how I knew the Greater Chicago Caucus I had to actually refer back to this very blog (I told you all my blog got me into a little bit of trouble). So .. I’m going to explain this in another post.
I’ll have to actually do a separate post on exactly what this means to me so as not to babble on and on 😉 I did warn y’all.
Moving on .. that night, one of the first people I would meet (after meeting our wonderful host) would be Christine. It would be about 15 minutes later that I would realize that it was Christine Cegalis who had motivated and inspired an ISNA audience at the Taking Back America Rally. I guess being in a different setting and Christine being so down to earth in her jeans and sweater as opposed to her suit at conference room of the rally threw me off just a little bit. Her own “ohhhhh, you’re the blogger” and an invitation to blog for The Greater Chicago Caucus was extremely flattering (which I’d be delighted to do).
Soon after that more people had arrived and we were filling our plates with biryani, fillafil, humus, taco salad and enjoying some sodas while getting to know each other for a short while before our state officials and candidates up for office each had a chance to tell us about themselves.
Christine Cegelis, main founder of The Greater Chicago Caucus addressed the attendees by reiterating the need for unification amongst activists and how the Greater Chicago Caucus provides a platform for such. Senator Michael Noland spoke about his runs for various offices and his final success of obtaining the first seat for a Democrat in his district since the civil war; attributing his success to his door to door technique. State Representative Fred Crespo echoed Senator Noland’s sentiments in regards to getting out there and going door to door for those running for office, spoke about his minority status and how the Indo/Pac community rallied for him (he promises a cricket field is near completion for them 🙂 ).
Amongst the candidates running for office speaking that night were: Ann Grady is running for Judge of the 13th sub-district. Colonel Jill Morgenthal is a 30 year veteran and resigned her position as Illinois Homeland Security Director to run for State Representative 6th district. Scott Harper is running for State Representative 13th district. John Laesch is a military veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Middle East he is running for State Representative 14th district.
I found Jill Morgenthal and John Laesch’s previous experiences combined with their disagreement in regards to the current administration’s War on Iraq to be quite interesting and wish I had the chance to hear more from them.
That night I also met Maureen and Jim of Hanover Township Democrats and Independents (HanDI). Maureen and I spoke about the immigration issues and some of what she has come accross during campaigning in regards to the issue. I spoke with Laurel Bault of A+ Illinois in regards to funding Illinois schools and the tax hike that would help a public school system in dire need. I spoke briefly with Scott Harper who has an interest in religion and science about Intelligent Design. I spoke with a delightful Ann Grady in more detail about her 17 years of experience as an attorney for domestic relations. I did speak with Jennifer of John Laesch’s campaign about his activism over the time that they have known each other and how his broad range of experiences allows him to relate with so many different people (currently John Laesch works as a union carpenter).
Personally, I enjoyed the house party set up by The Greater Chicago Caucus and I can understand why house parties have become the rage, at least out in my neck of the woods, for candidates up for office. There’s definately something (positive) to be said about these informal, drop the podium get togethers as opposed to listening to a carefully prepared speech, answers to questions that in the back of our minds we think have been prepared by a public relations figure (yeah .. I’ve watched too much West Wing). You leave the party feeling as though you have just met the person rather than the candidate.