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Witt, Lewis step down from DPI positions

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Things have been a bit tense at DPI, to say the least, and several contributions made out of the party’s precious federal funds “hard money” account just before the July 30 chair’s election to some of Chair Kelly’s supporters didn’t help matters much. Click here for a couple of them, but I’m told others will be reported later.

Letter to Democratic state central committee members from Abby Witt, the executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois…

Dear Members,

I’m writing today to share some news about staff changes. While I know the hope was that our staff would continue on in its entirety, the reality of any organization as it grows and evolves over time is that some departures are inevitable. This time that includes the departure of myself and DPI’s Deputy Director Jake Lewis.

We share a respect for this body and its decision to elect a new Chairwoman. And as Illinois Democrats, we are counting on Chair Hernandez’s success in this role. But it has become clear that we are no longer the right people to implement the new direction for the party.

We have both been extremely proud to serve the party and all Illinois Democrats since last year. The work we’ve done together has been important, modernizing the DPI and building a new foundation for Democratic success. We know this foundation will serve Chair Hernandez well and wish her the best as she executes her plans for the November elections and beyond.

To ensure a smooth transition for the Chairwoman and DPI, my last day will be Friday, September 2. Jake will depart earlier, ending his time with DPI this Friday, August 12.

To our incumbent members: it has been an honor working with you as members of the Democratic State Central Committee, as well as Democratic campaigns, local organizations, activists, and volunteers over the past seventeen months. Thank you for welcoming me into this role and for your trust and partnership along the way. To our new members: thank you for taking on this challenge.

I deeply understand the promise of a modern Democratic Party that serves all Democrats, and know that with your guidance, the Democratic Party of Illinois can and will fulfill that promise.

Thank you,
Abby

* From new state party chair Lisa Hernandez…

Members of State Central Committee,

I am grateful to Abby and Jake for their demonstrated commitment to supporting Democrats across the state and dedication to the Democratic Party of Illinois. They played critical roles at DPI in service of the Party and I wish them the very best in their next endeavors.

For next steps, we will prepare to have an Interim Executive Director following Abby’s departure and establish a committee with SCC members to conduct an executive director search.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I look forward to working with you on this.

With thanks,

Lisa

       

21 Comments
  1. - Unfortunate! - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:30 pm:

    Two great people departing.


  2. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:31 pm:

    Errr, yeah, wow, those last minute payouts are quite something.

    Shame about Witt and Lewis. They’re pros.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===…several contributions made out of the party’s precious federal funds “hard money” account just before the July 30 chair’s election===

    One “really-really” sticks out. Whew.

    To the post,

    My best wishes to both, they are outstanding individuals and I’m sure won’t be “un-busy” very long. Changes in politics, as in sports or any organization, are more often part and parcel of it “coming with the territory” first.

    My best to both. Looking forward to hearing where they go next.


  4. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:39 pm:

    Does it sound like they were not too thrilled with the incoming party chair? Time to jump ship..


  5. - ;) - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:42 pm:

    Good luck to both of them. Always like to see people land on their feet when they depart a gig, hope they land somewhere good.


  6. - Amalia - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:43 pm:

    that money stuff is not cool.


  7. - Playing in Peoria - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:49 pm:

    I’m sorry - am I reading this right? Bill Houlihan transferred $50k of the state party’s money two days ago to his own political committees??? What??!!! What is he claiming this is for? Why did only Sangamon County get that money? What possible justification could exist for this? I’m sorry but this is a genuine wow.


  8. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:55 pm:

    === two days ago===

    It was reported two days ago.


  9. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:58 pm:

    Not a great time for a leadership change, but if they facilitated the financial transfer, it is appropriate. They should have known better.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:58 pm:

    If I recall… the Grinch… left only small crumbs that even for a mouse were too small…


  11. - The Real Downstate - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:59 pm:

    You’d think that if anyone was semi-entitled to this federal money, it’d be Kelly. It’ll be interesting to see if she partakes.


  12. - changes - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:59 pm:

    That letter wreaks of arrogance and is disrespectful to the new chair and the committee members.


  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 4:04 pm:

    ===if they facilitated the financial transfer===

    I don’t think they did.


  14. - What are you talking about - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 4:08 pm:

    ===wreaks of arrogance and is disrespectful===
    1.) It’s “reeks” not “wreaks”
    2.) What part is arrogant or disrespectful?


  15. - Been There - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 4:22 pm:

    ==== that money stuff is not cool====
    Chicken feed compared to all the transfers Madigan use to do.


  16. - Hannibal Lecter - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 4:26 pm:

    === Chicken feed compared to all the transfers Madigan use to do. ===

    Madigan didn’t start sending out transfers to people once he decided to step down as chair.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 4:43 pm:

    ===…didn’t start sending out transfers to people once he decided to…===

    There’s zero reason to think Witt or Lewis were involved. I don’t.

    I do know, given the timing and … well… the what to where… and when…

    It’s a wow.


  18. - Yiddishcowboy - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 4:48 pm:

    C’mon Bill. Just not kosher, dude. Your last name is Houlihan, not Hooligan. I expected more from you. (But, hey, what do I know…maybe this is common practice…by all defeated groups/people.)


  19. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 4:52 pm:

    Those final transfers out of the hard money account seem like a very fascinating final move that would be worthy of the expectation that someone responsible for it may need to step down.

    Best of luck to Miss Witt. It’s a thankless job.


  20. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 7:12 pm:

    Financial transfers - not cool… Senator Durbin, do you have anything to say?


  21. - Rabid - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 5:51 am:

    “we have both been extremely proud ” pride comes before fall


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