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SDems unveil female candidate program and other campaign news

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Press release…

Today, the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund announced a new initiative to support female candidates running for the Illinois Senate: Wings.

“We are proud to introduce Wings as an initiative to support our female legislators and candidates running for the Illinois Senate,” SDVF Communications Director Courtney Zientek said. “The amount of enthusiasm we’ve seen from women across Illinois looking to run for office has been so inspiring, and we are looking to harness that energy as we head into 2018.”

Wings will bring a special focus to our five female Senators up for re-election in 2018, and our seven female candidates working to get on the ballot and challenge Republicans next fall to join the ranks in the Illinois Senate. Wings will highlight their campaigns across the state and give women a platform to reach historic heights in Illinois government.

“There has been a lot of talk about the lack of women running for Governor of Illinois, but we have heard from many women at the local level looking to make a difference for their communities,” Zientek said. “Senate Democrats strongly believe that our historic number of female candidates will lead us to victory in the 2018 elections and add to our majority in the Illinois Senate.”

We are proud that Illinois currently has more female Senators than any state legislature in the country. However, women are still sorely underrepresented in state government and the Illinois Senate Democrats are dedicated to ensuring we add to our historic number of female legislators serving in the Illinois Senate.

Stay tuned for more information on how to get involved in our Wings campaigns and learn more about the female candidates running for the Illinois Senate here:

* In other news, US Sen. Tammy Duckworth won’t take a side in the governor’s race

On Illinois politics, Duckworth said she is not taking sides in the crowded Democratic primary race for governor. But she said she has offered to help all of them, even making available her precinct-by-precinct election results from Downstate counties that both she and Trump won. Some Democrats have taken her up on the offer — she declined to name them — but not all.

She said J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy are past contributors, and state Sen. Daniel Biss was an intern in her failed 2006 race.

* Meanwhile, in the attorney general’s race

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday declined to say how much input community members will have in finding a new head of the just-launched police oversight agency that’s a key piece of his effort to increase public trust in the Chicago Police Department.

Talking to reporters for the first time since sources acknowledged Monday that Sharon Fairley had told the mayor she was planning to step down to run for attorney general, Emanuel offered few specifics about the search for a successor.

“We’re going to have a process to — I’m going to be naming a process, working with a lot of different people, working, and I’ve had a number of discussions with individuals about how to create a process that has input to have a set of names that reflect, I think, the independence and authority that we’ve built over the past 22 months,” Emanuel said.

The mayor praised Fairley and said she has left the agency ready to carry on without her. Fairley took over the widely distrusted Independent Police Review Authority following the crisis sparked by the fatal shooting of black teen Laquan McDonald by a white police officer, turning the agency into the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

As far as I can tell, Fairley has made just three local/state campaign contributions totaling $5k. Her first was $1K to Democratic gubernatorial candidte Paul Vallas in March of 2002, then $1,500 to the eventual nominee Rod Blagojevich in August of the same year, then $2,500 to John Stroger in 2006 while she was in law school.

This NY Times article about Fairley’s 2002 marriage to Ariel Investments CEO John Rogers (they’ve since parted ways) said she was “executive director of consumer marketing and trademark development at Pharmacia, the pharmaceuticals maker in Peapack, N.J.” at the time of her first contributions. According to the piece, she “graduated magna cum laude from Princeton and received an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.”

She got her law degree from the University of Chicago and she is listed as a law lecturer. From her bio

After receiving her J.D. degree from the law school in 2006, Sharon served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Appeals section of the Office of Illinois Attorney General. In March 2007, Sharon joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. As an AUSA, Sharon investigated and tried a variety of criminal cases involving federal criminal law violations such as illegal firearms possession, narcotics conspiracy, bank robbery/murder, murder for hire and economic espionage.

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police is not a Fairley fan, to say the least.

* Moving right along, we’ll just have to see if anyone in the media will take this bait…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Curl of the Burl - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 1:49 pm:

    I can feel Will Guzzardi’s smugness through my computer screen.

  2. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    Something about the name “Wings” reminds me of my original reaction to the name “iPad.”

  3. - Northsider - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 2:00 pm:

    State Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, now has an opponentMarilyn Smolenski, of Park Ridge. From the story:

    “Smolenski, who has lived in Park Ridge for nearly three years, is the owner of Nickel and Lace, a line of concealed-carry bodywear holsters for women, and a member of the Republican Women of Park Ridge. This is her first time running for elected office, she said.”


    “Smolenski points to taxes as her first priority if elected, saying she will advocate for a 1-percent cap on residential property taxes in Illinois and a repeal of the recent income-tax increase. She is calling for “serious fiscal reform” at the state level, but said she will turn to constituents to determine how such reform can begin and what can be done.”

  4. - Alex P. Keaton - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    Does the Governor of Illinois support a U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama? Who cares? Is this the thing to do now? Anytime a controversial candidate comes up its incumbent upon the Governor to disavow them or be considered part and parcel to?

    Its funny that Republicans are the only group of people where it is considered acceptable to lump them all together.

  5. - City Zen - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 2:10 pm:

    I think it’s great to promote female candidates, but the best way is to start with the workers supporting those candidates. Is Communications Director Courtney Zientek compensated as her male communications director counterparts? Does the Senate Democratic Victory Fund offer their employees such as Ms. Zientek a pension equal or greater than the pension the victorious Senate Democrats get?

  6. - Max E. Pad - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 2:23 pm:

    That’s really what they named the campaign, Wings?

  7. - walker - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    Most of the seven new candidates running in the Primary to be able to run against Reublicans in the General, have come out of women’s groups newly active since the Women’s March. Good of the Senate staff to jump on board with these grass roots candidates.

  8. - JoanP - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    Oh, good, another former federal prosecutor.

  9. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 2:54 pm:

    “Its funny that Republicans are the only group of people where it is considered acceptable to lump them all together.”

    @Alex yeah the IL GOP doesn’t lump all democratic candidates together by attaching them to one person, they would never do such a thing.

  10. - Alex P. Keaton - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 3:02 pm:


    Fair enough

  11. - Don Draper - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 3:04 pm:

    I saw “Wings”…thought it said “Whigs”…and remembered that is taken.

  12. - OurMagician - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 3:08 pm:

    Using “wings” to support female candidates is an interesting choice. So a group of marketing people came up with that and thought “brilliant!”?

  13. - GraduatedCollegeStudent - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 3:24 pm:

    —“Smolenski points to taxes as her first priority if elected, saying she will advocate for a 1-percent cap on residential property taxes in Illinois and a repeal of the recent income-tax increase. She is calling for “serious fiscal reform” at the state level, but said she will turn to constituents to determine how such reform can begin and what can be done.”—-

    *starts singing “Big Rock Candy Mountain”*

  14. - cdog - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    That FOP link is a head-scratcher.

    Johnson and Emmanuel have their hands full with those public servant ideologues.

    It will be very interesting who replaces Fairley…

    Not a whiff of repentance in that link, from FOP at CPD, for any police brutality or appearance of it.

    Maybe Colin Kaepernick can bring his fight to end police brutality to Chicago. Seriously, bring his friends too and put some real pressure where it might do some real good. At least, an op-ed that moves the discussion where it needs to be.

  15. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 27, 17 @ 6:08 pm:

    Oh, cute, Dan Proft has his lace holster candidate running.

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