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: Sangamon County Democrats get ‘blue wave’ funds

State Journal Register

Friday, August 10, 2018  |  Article  |  Bernard Schoenburg

Political Parties (Incld Tea Party) (39a)

The Sangamon County Democratic Party has gotten something tangible from the “blue wave” push to elect Democrats across the state.

 

The party’s central committee had $33,308 on hand as of June 30, and had raised less then $1,600 in the three-month period ending on that date. But in mid-July, the party got $48,125 from the Rock Island County Democratic Central Committee. The chairman of that group, DOUG HOUSE, said the donation was part of the blue wave effort and in response to a proposal from the Sangamon County party.

 

He said he expects the money to be used for “conventional party building types of things,” adding that his organization is doing “all we can to help build our party up.”

 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. PRITZKER’s campaign announced in May that it would be contributing to other Democratic committees to help with races up and down the ballot, and while Pritzker self-funded in the primary, he also said he would accept donations for the blue wave program.

 

Pritzker’s campaign fund gave $1 million to the Rock Island County Democrats. In May, GALIA SLAYEN, spokeswoman for Pritzker, noted that House is also president of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association.

 

“We are confident in his ability to build a statewide, grassroots infrastructure that invests in counties across the state so we can beat (Gov.) BRUCE RAUNER and win campaigns up and down the ticket,” Slayen said at the time.

 

Biden at fundraiser

 

It is the county chairs’ group that is hosting former Vice President JOE BIDEN as keynote speaker at the Democrat Day brunch at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield on Aug. 16.

 

Biden is also scheduled to be at a $1,000-per-person cocktail reception for Illinois congressional candidates on Aug. 15 at the Springfield home of JOAN and RON KANOSKI. The event, which has donation categories up to $10,000 listed, is hosted by Biden and U.S. Sens. DICK DURBIN and TAMMY DUCKWORTH. It will benefit the senators as well as four Democratic U.S. House candidates: BETSY DIRKSEN LONDRIGAN, running in the 13th Congressional District; SEAN CASTEN in the 6th; BRENDAN KELLY in the 12th; and LAUREN UNDERWOOD in the 14th.

 

Aldermanic hopeful

 

SHAWN GREGORY, 34, who took over last year as organizer of Springfield’s annual Juneteenth celebration, says he will run for Ward 2 alderman in the spring.

 

“I’m just eager to continue to move the ward forward,” Gregory said.

 

Gregory had run the basketball portion of Juneteenth — which commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas — for three years before taking over the full event. He is also director of the Capital City Classic youth basketball tournament. He’s also been running Springfield Lions youth basketball, and is in the process of changing the name to Gregory Youth Foundation.

 

Gregory — who works for Green Family Stores as floor manager, linking customers with staff — was born in Denver, briefly lived in the Metro East town of Madison, and came to Springfield to stay with his grandmother when he was 6. He’s a graduate of Lanphier High School, took classes at Lincoln Land Community College and is an assistant football coach at Southeast High.

 

Gregory said when he was in sixth grade at Feitshans school, incumbent Ward 2 Ald. HERMAN SENOR was his mentor. “We have a great relationship,” Gregory said.

 

Senor — who is the Republican candidate for state representative in the 96th House District, taking on Democratic Rep. SUE SCHERER of Decatur — said Gregory has been “very visible” in the community.

 

“I don’t have anything but good things to say about the young man,” Senor said.

 

Senor, of course, hopes to be in the General Assembly by the time the city election rolls around.

 

Election records for Gregory, under his formal name Willie D. Gregory, show he has only voted three times in recent years, in general elections of 2004, 2008 and 2014. He doesn’t claim a party, saying he has “great friends and supporters on both sides.” City races are officially

13th Congressional District; SEAN CASTEN in the 6th; BRENDAN KELLY in the 12th; and LAUREN UNDERWOOD in the 14th.

 

Aldermanic hopeful

 

SHAWN GREGORY, 34, who took over last year as organizer of Springfield’s annual Juneteenth celebration, says he will run for Ward 2 alderman in the spring.

 

“I’m just eager to continue to move the ward forward,” Gregory said.

 

Gregory had run the basketball portion of Juneteenth — which commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas — for three years before taking over the full event. He is also director of the Capital City Classic youth basketball tournament. He’s also been running Springfield Lions youth basketball, and is in the process of changing the name to Gregory Youth Foundation.

 

Gregory — who works for Green Family Stores as floor manager, linking customers with staff — was born in Denver, briefly lived in the Metro East town of Madison, and came to Springfield to stay with his grandmother when he was 6. He’s a graduate of Lanphier High School, took classes at Lincoln Land Community College and is an assistant football coach at Southeast High.

 

Gregory said when he was in sixth grade at Feitshans school, incumbent Ward 2 Ald. HERMAN SENOR was his mentor. “We have a great relationship,” Gregory said.

 

Senor — who is the Republican candidate for state representative in the 96th House District, taking on Democratic Rep. SUE SCHERER of Decatur — said Gregory has been “very visible” in the community.

 

“I don’t have anything but good things to say about the young man,” Senor said.

 

Senor, of course, hopes to be in the General Assembly by the time the city election rolls around.

 

Election records for Gregory, under his formal name Willie D. Gregory, show he has only voted three times in recent years, in general elections of 2004, 2008 and 2014. He doesn’t claim a party, saying he has “great friends and supporters on both sides.” City races are officially nonpartisan.

 

Gregory and his girlfriend, HAYLEE FAIRCONNETUE — a saleswoman at the Green stores — are expecting a baby. Gregory has daughters ages 13 and 8, and a 10-year-old son, who each live with their separate mothers.

 

As for his views on city policy, in general, he said, “I’m gathering all the facts.”

 

Leadership

 

By the time you read this, the folks listed below may not only be getting along, but finding better ways to do things.

 

The Edgar Fellows Program, started by former GOP Gov. JIM EDGAR in 2012, brings together “emerging leaders” each year for an executive training program designed and hosted by Edgar and the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. The program is designed to “inspire respectful and collaborative leadership to address the state’s major problems,” a news release said.

 

The five-day training program, which began Sunday, was to involve hearing from more than two dozen policy experts and practitioners, with discussions on issues such as economic development, health care and education.

 

The 40 people in this year’s class bring to more than 270 those who have participated over seven years.

 

“People who were strangers on Sunday become good friends by Thursday,” Edgar said.

 

Fellows continue to meet twice a year in alumni gatherings.

 

Among this year’s class: STEVE McCLURE of Springfield, the unopposed Republican candidate for state Senate in the 50th District; CATIE SHEEHAN of Springfield, vice chair of the Sangamon County Board; MIKE ZIRI, formerly of Springfield and now of Chicago, director of public policy, Equality Illinois; SARAH HARTWICK of Chatham, executive director of ED-RED — an advocacy organization that represents more than 80 school districts in the Chicago suburbs; AMY BARRY of Springfield, director of communications and public affairs for Illinois Senate Republicans; and BRAD STOTLER of Peoria, district director for U.S. Rep. DARIN LaHOOD, R-Peoria. Lawmakers in the group this year are Sens. OMAR AQUINO, D-Chicago; JENNIFER BERTINO-TARRANT, D-Shorewood; and DALE FOWLER, R-Harrisburg; and Reps. LA SHAWN FORD, D-Chicago; LaTOYA GREENWOOD, D-East St. Louis; MIKE HALPIN, D-Rock Island; and SONYA HARPER, D-Chicago.