Schakowsky, Dold Begin Petition Drives
Supporters press representatives on efforts to create jobs.
Job creation was the topic foremost on people’s minds as they gathered to help candidates of their choice for Congress and other offices circulate nominating petitions due Dec. 5 for the March 20 primary ballot Saturday throughout the area.
At the Wheeling and Palatine Township Democratic Organization Office in Arlington Heights, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) told an overflowing crowd of more than 60 people that supporting the efforts to pass President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act was her top priority.
“If we want to create jobs then we create jobs. That is what the President is doing with his bill,” Schakowsky said. “When you put money in schools you have to hire people to do the work. They go out and spend the money."
Finding common ground
A few hours after Schakowsky made her remarks to Democratic volunteers in Arlington Heights, Sam Shapiro of Highland Park asked Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) about the same subject at the Lake County Republican Federation offices in Libertyville.
Shapiro was one of more than 20 supporters who braved rainy weather to hear Dold and take petitions to circulate to help him begin his reelection effort. Dold shared his ideas with the group.
“The focus is not just cutting spending,” Dold said. “Jobs and the economy is the number one issue in the country. We need to create an environment where small and medium businesses have the certainty to forecast so they can hire more people.”
Schakowsky was critical of House Republican efforts to reduce regulations to establish a more stable environment for the business community particularly on environmental issues.
“The Republican idea of job creation is to pass bills that will eviscerate the Clean Air and Water Act,” Schakowsky said. “We need new technology jobs that will provide energy use needed in a clean environment.”
Schakowsky also blamed House and Senate Republicans for being willing to sacrifice the economy to defeat President Obama next year. Dold rejects that idea and challenges Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to debate legislation the House has already passed.
“We’ve passed a number of bills that are sitting in the U.S. Senate,” Dold said. “I challenge Harry Reid to debate them, pass them or reject them.” Dold is willing to enact the parts of the American Jobs Act quickly where there is agreement. “Let’s find common ground and pass it.”
Spreading the message
While Schakowsky is not sure the American Jobs Act or her more expansive Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act she introduced Sept. 15 will become law, she hopes it will get more people thinking about getting people back to work.
“We need to change the conversation,” Schakowsky said. “When polls tell us 91 percent of Americans want to tax the millionaires and billionaires more and 75 percent want to preserve Medicare that has to include Republicans. You don’t get those numbers without them.”
Schakowsky was introduced by state Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) who also asked the group for help circulate petitions to spread her message in a race against Republican challenger Jonathan Greenberg of Northbrook.
West Deerfield Township Supervisor Julie Morrison and Michael Bausone of Des Plaines were two more candidates asking for signatures. They are both seeking the Democratic nomination to replace retiring state Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest). Arie Friedman of Highland Park is the sole Republican candidate for the spot.
While Schakowsky and Dold encouraged supporters to carry petitions to get their names on the ballot, two of the three people hoping for the opportunity to challenge Dold were doing the same thing.
Waukegan community organizer Ilya Sheyman organized a canvass in Highland Park. Deerfield management consultant Brad Schneider walked door to door in his neighborhood. Schneider, Sheyman and Mundelein attorney Vivek Bavda are running for the Democratic nomination.
Sheyman is not only getting petitions signed but has his volunteers talking to voters to learn their feelings on issues.
“We are going door to door to Democrats asking them to help us get on the ballot,” Sheyman said. “It’s also an opportunity to have conversations about the economy.”
Schneider plans to collect signatures from 600 people and have his “volunteers collect a multiple of that.” Though he was in Washington last week where three members of Congress and a former Representative held a fundraiser for him, he places as much value on hearing what his neighbors think.
“I get a sense of the mood of the community and what’s important at this moment in time,” Schneider said.
On Wednesday Rep. John Carney (D-DL), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Alyson Schwartz (D-PA) and former Rep. Barron Hill (D-IN) held a money raising event for Schneider in Washington.
Through his efforts as a volunteer advocate for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish United Fund, Schneider has developed relationships with a number of members of Congress.