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Mary Rita Luecke

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March 18, 2018

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Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Jim and Karen Young

17th District Voters Need to Follow Jen Gong-Gershowitz’s “Money Trail: During the contentious 17th District State Representative race several issues have been raised about candidate Jen Gong-Gershowitz’s controversial and negative advertising campaign.

In addition, the sources of her funding demands examination by voters. Questions have been raised by some voters about Jen Gong-Gershowitz’s independence and this “Money Trail” amplifies these concerns.

Campaign filings show that as of March 17th, the Gong-Gershowitz campaign has raised over $700,000, an astounding sum for a State Representative primary in the historically Democrat dominated 17th District. None of the other candidates have raised anywhere near this amount of money.

Interestingly, it appears that only a very small amount of total funds raised (3% or $23,000 from our calculations) is from individuals residing in the 17th District.

Almost $100,000 comes from Mike Madigan controlled organizations, namely the “Democratic Majority” and “Friends of Michael J Madigan.” This money has been used for printing and postage of misleading attack advertisements against one candidate, Candance Chow. None of the other candidates vying for the 17th district seat have received money from these Madigan controlled organizations.

Most concerning, however, is the $400,000 donated in the way of “transfers” from the campaign committees of 9 current State Representatives. These include:

· “Citizens for Gregory Harris” (13th District) - $55,000

· “Citizens for Lou Lang” (16th District) - $54,000

· “Citizens for Moylan” (55th District) - $55,000

· “Friends of Robert Martwick” (19th District) - $55,000

· “Friends of Tabares” (21st District) - $35,000

· “Friends of Elect Kathleen Willis”(77th District) - $55,000

· “People for Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch” (7th District) - $55,400

· “Friends of Michelle Mussman” (56th District) - $35,000

· “Citizens for Elaine Nekritz” (57th District) - $1,000

It is worth noting that $359,400 or 90% of these donations, was received on a single day (March 13th), a week before the election. Why are these Representatives from other State House Districts funneling large amounts of money into the 17th District primary race? This appears to be a coordinated effort orchestrated by the leaders of the state party to determine the representative for our district. I think it is a fair question to ask what will Jen Gong-Gershowitz owe these other Representatives and Michael J Madigan?

Political Action Committee donations (20 in total) were $93,000.

Individual contributions total about $145,000, but “Out of State” contributions comprised about $60,000 and “Out of District” Illinois contributions were $63,000. As noted above, by our calculations, only about $22,000 or 3% of total funds was received from 17th District residents, people whom Gong-Gershowitz would supposedly represent, if elected.

Voters should be concerned that Gong-Gershowitz will be beholden to Mike Madigan and her State Representative colleagues and not voters in the 17th District. Voters should know how much money Gong-Gershowitz is spending on her campaign, and the sources of this funding.

Data from Illinois State Board of Elections website: (as of 3/17/2018)

Illinois Sunshine has similar data, but it’s not as complete or current:

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Andrea Idelman

For Mary Rita Luecke. The Illinois Education Association (IEA) resoundingly and enthusiastically endorsed Mary Rita Luecke in her race for the 17th Legislative District. As a retired member of the Illinois Education Association, I participated in the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education (IPACE) endorsement meeting in February. After listening to the four candidates in attendance, we wholeheartedly moved to endorse Mary Rita Luecke. There is a recent, very misleading, mailer from the Candance Chow campaign using the IEA logo which appears to suggest she is endorsed by the Illinois Education Association. She is not. Mary Rita Luecke is.

I first met Mary Rita Luecke when I was a District 65 teacher and she was a District 65 School Board Member and later the School Board President. I have always been impressed with her grasp of a situation and her willingness to talk and come up with solutions. Now, more than ever, we need a State Representative like Mary Rita Luecke.

I hope my friends, family, neighbors and community members in the 17th Legislative District will join me in voting for Mary Rita Luecke as our next Representative to the Illinois House.

Andrea Idelman

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Tracy Wasserman Cassidy, and others listed

Statement from the Committee to Save Our Schools in Support of Candance Chow

Our schools are the core of our communities. It is what makes them so unique and special. When they are threatened, people often will rally together to ensure that our most precious resource – our children – get the care, support and guidance to achieve their dreams.

That is why a diverse group of moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, community, business and religious leaders and everyday residents of Evanston and Skokie came together last year to save District 65 from having to make devastating budget cuts, which would’ve meant closed schools, enormous class sizes, enrichment programs slashed and plummeting property values. Asking people to pay even a little bit more in property taxes – even for such a worthy cause – is never easy and was done after exhausting every conceivable option.

As President of the District 65 Board, Candance Chow was the driving force for ensuring that the first operating referendum in 30 years passed. Having grown up in poverty and been raised by a single mom, a first-class education was a passport to possibilities she never could’ve imagined. That is why she helped to bring together this enormous coalition that said yes to saving District 65 schools because the stakes couldn’t have been higher. The results were astounding: 80% of voters agreed that investing in our children, in our schools and in our community was the step we all needed to take together.

Candance now wants to take her passion and purpose for helping our children, and children across Illinois, to excel to Springfield as State Representative for the 17th District. We think she is ideally suited and the most qualified for taking on the entrenched special interests and the political leaders who are often more concerned with protecting their jobs than tackling the problems they were sent to solve, including adequately funding our schools.

Candance has always been an independent, progressive, problem solver, who is running because she has proven track record of bringing people together to affect real change. Unfortunately, one of her challengers, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, who has gotten more than $100,000 from Mike Madigan and his allies, is flooding mailboxes and doing robocalls with blatant lies about her commitment to education funding. This is outrageous. The Evanston RoundTable says these attacks “go beyond the pale” and are “absurd.”

While Gong-Gershowitz has no problem using Mike Madigan’s money to spread these scandalous smears, she won’t even utter Madigan’s name in public. Politics is not for the faint of heart. We understand that. Candance is running a tough campaign, but a campaign that is based on facts. Gong-Gershowitz is supporting Senate Bill 851, which State Rep. Laura Fine, Illinois teachers and Candance all oppose because it would cut $830 million annually from public schools, while also hurting our property values. Candance is fighting to invest more money into our public schools, while Gong-Gershowitz wants to make drastic cuts.

Voters have a clear choice on March 20th. Candance Chow isn’t afraid to speak truth to power and to do what is right, and not politically expedient, for the people of the 17th District. Please ignore Gong-Gershowitz’s lies and stay focused on the fact that Candance Chow has your best interests at heart.

Save Evanston Schools Committee Members - Tracy Wasserman Cassidy, Lindsay Cohen, Dawn Koenigsknecht, Jeannine Martin, Bridget Nelson, Valerie Weiss and Jen Zehr

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Elliot Zashin

Editor: Your brief article in the March 8 issue entitled "Chow Campaign E-mail" doesn't appear to adequately cover the facts alleged in this case. Mr. Frankel apparently emailed the Superintendent’s Executive Assistant at the suggestion of Ms. Chow. She then forwarded the request to several members of the staff. Mr. Frankel told the Roundtable that his action was "inadvertent" - that's convenient to say, but as Chow's campaign manager, he ought to have been very careful to make sure he was not violating district policy. After all, Ms. Chow's activity on the district school board is a major part of her "credentials" in this campaign. Some further examination of this incident seems warranted.


Elliot Zashin

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Kathryn Crihfield

The Trammell Crow 17 story, 169 unit development for 1727 Oak Ave should not be supported or approved by the City Council. The developer is seeking numerous zoning variances, including (but not limited to) height, number of units, setback, and loading areas to build on a lot less than an acre in size.
Street parking along Oak is already severely limited and a senior living residential building with 163 units at 1815 Ridge Avenue (1/2 block north) is scheduled to begin construction shortly. Although the Oak Avenue plan includes 139 spaces for residents, that is well below the anticipated building population of over 200. Because both developments cater to adults over 55, they will provide many services (assisted living, memory care, salon, cafe, etc.) requiring non-resident employees who will also need to find parking.
Residents in the immediate vicinity of the projects are concerned about pedestrian safety with the influx of residential, public, and commercial vehicle traffic from potentially two 160+ unit buildings within a half block of each other. Additionally, with the loss of its parking lot, the North Shore Medical Group at 1007 Church St has moved its patient parking across the street, increasing pedestrian traffic flow even further.
Responsible development in Evanston benefits the community. Another project so large as to be seeking so many zoning variances is not a responsible way to serve existing residents or grow the community. Bad development hurts us all.
Kathryn Crihfield, 40 year Evanston resident

Posted: Friday, March 9, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Margie Schaps

Letter to the editor: I'm pleased that the Roundtable covered the story of Candance Chow's campaign emailing a District 65 administrator to recruit volunteers for her election campaign to become the State Representative for the 17th District. The reason it matters, of course, is that Chow is a member of the school board and such a communication can be coercive of school employees. As is, it is a serious violation of school board policy. Chow and her campaign manager said it was a mistake to solicit the person on the school email. It appears from news accounts that the email was forwarded to at least three other District 65 employees. At the least, we should expect to know if Chow authorized this and if the school board is looking into the incident. Did the District 65 administrator and the other employees actually recruit volunteers at the school or who work for the District?

Sincerely, Margie Schaps, Evanston resident and District 65 alum whose kids are also District 65 alums

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