Archive for the 'Local' Category

Champaign County Fair

The County Fair is underway and we have a tent on the midway for Democrats to visit, get informed and rest up from all the rides and food at the fair. If you would like to visit or even better volunteer for a time or two, contact Sandra Hansen: 217-469-2418, or < who is available to slot you into a shift at the tent. Sandra is best reached by phone in the evenings so give her a call.  It is lots of fun, you meet many folks and do not forget Democrat Day is July 28th . The fair runs from Friday July 24th to Saturday August 1st.

Special Events: Tuesday July 28 is the Fair’s “Democrat Day”, with Harness Racing on the half mile, when our candidates are introduced to the crowd at 12:30 and/or 7 pm. New this year, we are declaring Wednesday, July 29 as “Senior Democrat Day”, when seniors (age 60+) get free gate admission to the fair until 4pm, and Democratic seniors are invited to congregate at our tent.

Also new this year, the fairgrounds will be open to the public for lunch until 1 pm on weekdays.

See you at the fair!

2008 Democratic Unity Dinner

Please join us! Make your reservation today!

Spring 2008 Democratic
Unity Dinner

Sunday, April 6th
5:00 – Social Hour
6:00 – Dinner Program

Laborer’s Hall
108 E. Anthony Dr., Urbana

$35 with advance Reservation/$40 at the Door

To reserve your seat now, e-mail Matthew Gladney at and tell us how many tickets you’d like reserved. Then either mail your check to Dinner Committee, Champaign County Democrats, P.O. Box 1455, Champaign, IL 61824; or use your credit card on-line at:

Any questions? E-mail Matthew at .

Champaign County Dems Write a New Party Platform

Democrats“The Champaign County Democratic Central Committee believes that in order to fulfill our democracy’s greatest promise, our government must work for the social and economic equity of all people. As the elected leaders of the Champaign County Democratic Party, we endorse the following platform and will urge our representatives in government to work to advance these goals.”

This opening statement introduces the new party platform which has been under consideration for the past few months. After several hours of discussion, the Champaign County Democratic Central Committee achieved concensus on the party platform document at the last committee meeting, held on January 23rd. After making several amendments to the document, they recommended that the platform be presented for passage by the newly elected Central Committee at the Democratic County Convention scheduled for March 5th, 2008.

Historically, the Champaign County Democratic Party adopted a platform every two years at the convention until the 1990′s. With the decision to resurrect the process, Central Committee members were invited to serve on the Platform Committee responsible for drafting a new platform. The Platform Committee held several meetings in October and November and began their work with a review of our own platforms from the 1980′s, along with other county and state Democratic Party platforms. In that process, the committee identified key issue statement in health care and human services, education, economic opportunity, criminal justice and public safety, environment and land use, participatory government, Democratic Party principles and national priorities. The first draft of the document was presented at the November Central Committee meeting and those in attendance provided written input. The document was also sent to all current Central Committee members and incoming new Central Committee members via email to invite their feedback. The Platform Committee reviewed all input and presented an amended document at the January 23rd Central Committee meeting.

There was broad agreement on nearly all of the issues put forth on the final three-page document, which can be obtained as a PDF document, here. Thanks to everyone who participated in this process!

Party with Democrats on Super Tuesday!

Regardless of the election results, Democrats are going to have a lot to celebrate on Super Tuesday! Join fellow Dems after the polls close for the Democratic Victory Party at Rock’s in Champaign. Gather with friends, enjoy food & drink, and watch the results come in from Illinois and around the country (Yes, I asked — they do have MSNBC at Rock’s!).

WHAT: Democratic Victory Party
WHERE: Rock’s (between campus and downtown Champaign, on Springfield Ave., between First Street and the railroad tracks)
WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 8:00pm – ?

If you have any questions, e-mail Tony at or call at 355-1693. Hope to see you there!

Candidate Forum for Champaign County State’s Attorney

There will be a candidate’s forum for the office of Champaign County State’s Attorney this Wednesday, January 30, 2008.  The forum will be held at 6:00pm in the University of Illinois Law School Auditorum, which is located at 504 E. Pennsylvania Ave. in Champaign.

All three candidates currently running in the February 5th primary are scheduled to attend.  These include:

Ivy & Rietz are running against each other in the Democratic primary.  The winner will face Republican Miller-Jones in the November 4th general election.  Julia Rietz currently holds the office of State’s Attorney for Champaign County.

This candidate’s forum is sponsored by the University of Illinois Law School Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Premature Pasture?

The County Facilities Committee meets tonight, and one of the main topics of discussion will be the future of the old county nursing home:

A reuse study by Isaksen Glerum Wachter dated Jan. 31 details the extensive work required to mothball the facility.

An earlier report from the same consultants valued the building and property at $1.9 million. If the building were removed, the report said, the 13 acres of land might sell for $18,000 an acre, or $234,000 less expenses.

Another option would be to demolish the original structure but retain the 1971 addition, its 32,000 square feet providing enough room for county clerk, coroner and Children’s Advocacy Center, as well as future needs.

Other options include demolishing all the buildings and rebuilding a smaller space for the three agencies or keeping all the structures except the boiler building and garage.

Something that dismays me a little in modern society is how we often discard older structures. We’re often told that ‘it’s cheaper to build new,’ and while that may be the case in certain instances, it still seems frustrating that we don’t do more with our old buildings. I would really like to see the old county nursing home put to good use, providing it’s economically feasible to do so. Hopefully this will be given due consideration at Facilities. The committee meets tonight, first at 6:30pm to tour the old nursing home, and then at 7:00pm in its dining room.

What am I voting for in April?

You can’t view your sample ballot yet, but on the County Clerk’s website you can check out what offices and referenda will be on the ballot in the April 17th Consolidated Election.

I live in Urbana and after glancing over the candidates for various offices I realized that I only get to vote in one contested race (Urbana Park District Commissioner)! My school board member, Cope Cumpston, is not up for election and actually only District 7 has a contested race; incumbent John Dimit faces two challengers. Races for Parkland Community College Board and Champaign-Ford Regional Board of Trustees have the same number of candidates running as there are seats available.

Why don’t more candidates run for these offices? I think the main reason is that most people don’t even know that a lot of these elected positions even exist. Quick, name one member of the Urbana Park District Board……………couldn’t do it could you? Another reason is the length of some of these terms of service. Parkland Board and Urbana Park District members both serve 6 year terms; many qualified potential candidates aren’t willing to commit for that long.

There may not be any exciting races on the ballot (unless you live in Champaign, we’ll discuss that in another post), but I hope all of you still remember to vote on April 17th!