Tag: Westville IL

How I will fill out my Illinois Democratic primary ballot on March 15 (plus other Illinois endorsements)

On March 15, I will be a Democratic primary voter in the State of Illinois, Vermilion County, Georgetown Township, Precinct 7. My precinct includes parts of my hometown of Westville, Illinois.

Below is a complete list of races on my ballot (for the presidential and U.S. Senate races, the order in which candidates are listed on the ballot for a particular race may vary from one part of the state to another), as well as which candidates I will vote for (if any).

President of the United States

There are six candidates on the Illinois Democratic presidential primary ballot: Hillary Clinton, Willie Wilson, Martin O’Malley, Rocky de la Fuente, Larry Cohen, and Bernie Sanders, from top to bottom. Additionally, there is a line available for write-in candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, although I know of no write-in candidates who have filed official paperwork to run as such.

I will vote for Bernie Sanders. Bernie is the only candidate who strongly supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, making higher education tuition-free, restoring American manufacturing jobs, and protecting America’s environment. In the extremely unlikely circumstance that Bernie were to drop out of the presidential race before March 15, I would write-in the name of an individual who is not running for president, although I won’t publicly name that individual. In any case, I will vote for the Democratic presidential nominee in the November general election.

United States Senator

There are three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Mark Kirk: Andrea Zopp, Tammy Duckworth, and Napoleon Harris, from top to bottom.

I will vote for Tammy Duckworth. There’s not really a progressive candidate in this race, but Duckworth served our nation during the Iraq War as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, and Duckworth will stand up for those who served our country in uniform if elected to the U.S. Senate. Andrea Zopp voted for Rahm Emanuel’s school closing scheme in Chicago as an appointed Chicago school board member, and Napoleon Harris refused to vote for marriage equality as a member of the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois Comptroller (Special Election)

This is a special election for the last two years of what would have been Republican Judy Baar Topinka’s second term as Illinois Comptroller (Topinka died not long after being re-elected in 2014). The current Illinois Comptroller is Leslie Munger, who was appointed to the Comptroller’s office by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

There is only one Democrat seeking the party’s nomination for this office (Susana Mendoza), so I’ll leave this race blank for the primary, since I think that it’s worthless to vote for a candidate in an uncontested race. I will vote for Mendoza in the special general election in November, however, as she will face opposition from Munger in the special general election.

United States Representative – 15th Congressional District

No Democrat filed to run for this office.

Delegates to the Democratic National Convention – 15th Congressional District

Illinois is unusual in that Democratic primary voters are asked to vote for both a presidential candidate and delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Delegates are elected by voters in each of Illinois’s 18 congressional districts, although I’m not sure of the exact formula that is used. There are seven individuals who have filed for four delegate slots out of the 15th Congressional District: four delegates pledged to Hillary, one delegate pledged to O’Malley, and three delegates pledged to Bernie. Democratic voters in the 15th Congressional District can vote for as many as four delegates.

I will vote for the three Bernie Sanders delegates (Cory Douglas, Amanda Benefiel, and Barbara Lawrence), and I will also vote for Hillary Clinton delegate Ann Sykes. Since I’m voting for Bernie in the presidential preference poll, I’m obviously going to vote for Bernie’s delegate slate here in the 15th Congressional District, and I’m grateful that Douglas, Benefiel, and Lawrence are supporting a fantastic presidential candidate in Bernie. However, since Bernie is one delegate short of a full slate here in the 15th Congressional District, that gives me three options: either vote for only the three Bernie delegates, vote for three Bernie delegates and O’Malley delegate John Warner, or vote for the three Bernie delegates and one of the Hillary delegates. I’ve decided on the latter-most of those three options, and my vote for Hillary delegate Ann Sykes will be a tribute to the late former Vermilion County Clerk and incredible public servant Lynn Foster, who passed away not long ago (Sykes worked for Foster when she was county clerk here in my home county).

Illinois Senate – 52nd Legislative District (4-year term)

There is only one candidate on the ballot in this race (incumbent State Senator Scott Bennett, who was appointed to the seat after Mike Frerichs was elected Illinois Treasurer), so I’ll leave this race blank for the primary, although Bennett will get my vote in the November general election, as he’ll be going up against Republican Mike Madigan in November.

Illinois House of Representatives – 104th Representative District

No Democrat filed to run for this office.

Vermilion County Circuit Clerk

No Democrat filed to run for this office.

Vermilion County Recorder

No Democrat filed to run for this office.

Vermilion County State’s Attorney

Despite this being an open seat due to the Republican incumbent retiring, no Democrat filed to run for this office.

Vermilion County Auditor

There is only one Democratic candidate seeking this office (incumbent county auditor Linda Lucas-Anstey, the only Democrat to hold a county-wide office in Vermilion County), so I’ll leave this race blank for the primary, although I will vote for Lucas-Anstey in the general election.

Vermilion County Coroner

Although we don’t get too many Democrats running for county-wide office here in Vermilion County, there is a competitive primary for county coroner (believe it or not, Illinois county coroners are elected in officially-partisan races). There are two Democrats running for coroner: Steve Cornett, the Village of Tilton police chief, and Butch Fields, a paramedic from Tilton.

I will vote for Steve Cornett. Butch Fields is a convicted arsonist, so that completely disqualifies him from receiving my vote in a Democratic primary, although I will vote for the Democratic nominee in November.

Vermilion County Board of Supervisors – County Board District 4

There are two seats up for election in Vermilion County Board District 4, and there are two Democrats running for the party’s nomination in the district, which includes all of Georgetown, Love, and McKendree townships in Vermilion County. There are two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in this race: Dale Ghibaudy and John Barton. In county board races in Illinois, voters in the Democratic primary can vote for as many Democrats as the number of county board seats in their district that are up for election (in my district this year, this is two, although this number varies from one Illinois county to another, as well as within Illinois counties and from one election cycle to the next).

Although both Dale Ghibaudy and John Barton will be on the November general election ballot, I’m not sure if one candidate receiving more votes than the other would have any affect on general election ballot placement, so I will vote for Dale Ghibaudy. I know absolutely nothing about John Barton, and I know extremely little about Dale Ghibaudy outside of the fact that I attended high school with two people of the same last name (Kody and Karly Ghibaudy, who are siblings, but I’m not sure how they’re related to Dale, if at all).

Vermilion County Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman – Georgetown Township Precinct 7

In my home precinct, no candidate filed for a Democratic Party precinct committeeman slot. Georgetown Township Precinct 7 includes parts of the Village of Westville in Vermilion County, as well as some rural areas immediately to the west and east of Westville.


Additionally, I want to take this opportunity to endorse candidates seeking Democratic nominations in other parts of Illinois. Please note that I do not live in any of the constituencies listed here, so I am encouraging people who live in an area of Illinois where one or more of these races are on the ballot to vote for the candidates that I’m endorsing. The two U.S. House races where I’m endorsing a candidate are in the Chicago suburbs, whereas the state house and state’s attorney races where I’m endorsing a candidate are all in Cook County.

United States Representative – 8th Congressional District

I endorse Michael Noland in Illinois’s 8th Congressional District. As an Illinois State Senator, Noland has been a strong champion of good government and ethics reform, and he’ll bring his pro-good government mindset to Washington if nominated and elected.

United States Representative – 10th Congressional District

A while back, I endorsed Nancy Rotering in Illinois’s 10th Congressional District, so, for the sake of completion, I’ll reiterate my endorsement of Rotering on here. As mayor of Highland Park, a Chicago suburb located in Lake County, Rotering helped to provide legal aid to people who couldn’t afford to sue their landlord after their landlord wronged them. Rotering’s Democratic primary opponent, Brad Schneider, is a D.C. insider who opposes President Obama’s deal to keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands.

Illinois House of Representatives – 5th Representative District

This race pits incumbent State Representative Ken Dunkin, a Raunercrat (i.e., a Democrat who is a political ally of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner), against primary challenger Juliana Stratton. I endorse Juliana Stratton in Illinois’s 5th Representative District. Ken Dunkin has voted with Bruce Rauner in opposition to funding child care and other important state government services, and Dunkin has benefited from big-money Rauner allies like Dan Proft.

Illinois House of Representatives – 22nd Representative District

This race pits powerful State House Speaker Mike Madigan (not the same Mike Madigan who is running as a Republican in the 52nd Legislative District state senate race) against primary challenger Jason Gonzales and two other primary challengers planted by Madigan in an attempt to split the anti-Madigan vote in the Democratic primary. I endorse Jason Gonzales in Illinois’s 22nd Representative District. Madigan is anti-abortion, supported a pension theft bill that was unanimously struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court, has strongly opposed many common-sense good government measures, such as independent redistricting and term limits, and supports corporate-minded politicians like Rahm Emanuel.

Illinois House of Representatives – 26th Representative District

This race pits incumbent State Representative Christian Mitchell against Jay Travis, who nearly defeated Mitchell in the 2014 Democratic primary for this seat. I endorse Jay Travis in the 26th Representative District. Christian Mitchell has taken money from the same anti-public education/pro-school voucher lobby that supports far-right Republicans like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Cook County State’s Attorney

This race pits incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez against primary challengers Kim Foxx and Donna More. I endorsed Kim Foxx for Cook County State’s Attorney a while back, so I’ll reiterate that endorsement here for the sake of completion. If nominated and elected, Foxx will restore public trust in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Anita Alvarez played a key role in hiding the video of the police shooting of LaQuan McDonald for many months, and Donna More donated to Bruce Rauner’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

Westville, Illinois Lions Club condemns anti-LGBT postcards sent out by local Catholic parish

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: The following blog post is an update to an earlier blog post, which I’ve linked to below.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: The blog post has been corrected to include information provided by Westville, Illinois Village Board member Darren VanDunyn, who also is the head of the local Lions Club chapter here in Westville.


Here in my hometown of Westville, Illinois, it’s rare for major controversies to occur in local politics. However, a recent political controversy involves St. Mary’s Church, the local Catholic parish here in Westville, sending out “public notice” postcards spewing anti-LGBT bigotry and railing against homosexuality.

The parish’s decision to send out these postcards to area residents has now cost the parish a major partnership. The Westville (IL) Lions Club chapter, which is led by Westville Village Board member Darren VanDunyn, is no longer partnering with, or promoting events held by, St. Mary’s Church here in Westville because of the anti-LGBT postcards sent out by the parish not reflecting the local Lions Club chapter’s values:

The Lions Club wants to make sure a controversial mailer doesn’t affect a big event this weekend. Now, they’re distancing themselves from St. Mary’s Church.

The church sent out an anti-gay mailer last month. On the other side was information about the upcoming Labor Day celebration and parade. The event is partially sponsored by the church.

Members of the Lions Club decided to drop that partnership. They say the message does not reflect their club in any way.

While I’m not Catholic, it is an indisputable fact that, in his tenure at the helm of St. Mary’s Church, Father Sauppé (I’m not sure what his first name is), the current head of the local parish, has repeatedly embarrassed Westville and has alienated a ton of people. Now, the local Lions Club here in Westville is distancing themselves from St. Mary’s due to Father Sauppé’s actions.

Westville, Illinois Catholic parish “welcomes” LGBT people with bigotry

St. Mary’s Church, the local Catholic parish in my hometown of Westville, Illinois, is very desperate for membership these days. They’re now sending out postcards asking people from the LGBT community in Westville (which is a very small target audience, and possibly a non-existent one, since I don’t know of any LGBT people in my hometown), and welcoming LGBT people…with a ton of bigotry. I have received one of their postcards containing the statement in question, even though I am an atheist who does not attend any place of worship.

Here’s the full, unproofreaded (except for line spacing between the header and the body that doesn’t exist on the actual postcard), statement from St. Mary’s regarding the recent Obergefell v. Hodges U.S. Supreme Court decision, which made marriage equality the law of the land across the entire country:

A PUBLIC NOTICE

I am Fr. Sauppé, pastor of St Mary’s Catholic Church & the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!  The US Supreme Court has issued a new “civil right” recognizing same-sexed “marriages”.  However, Justice Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority, also states that citizens & institutions holding religious and/or philosophical beliefs do not have to condone this new “civil right”.  (It seems this is also a Constitutional civil right not to condone!) The Catholic Church does not condone for both religious & philosophical reasons.  The Biblical condemnations are too many to list, but Romans 1 is based on the Natural Law i.e. two men or two women cannot produce, naturally, any children.  We also hold that children have a natural right to a mother & a father at the same time (if at all possible) and are not to be used as pawns in the homosexual culture war.  While we are all affected by Original Sin, the Grace of Jesus Christ can help anyone and everyone to live a holy life–regardless of orientation!  I invite all to repent and to live a holy life and worship God on Sunday–either at St. Mary’s or at a church of your choice!  If you have no church or want to learn more about defending your children, your family, and your faith please call 267-3334 & may God Bless!

(In case you’re wondering, Westville is in the 217 area code, so the phone number for St. Mary’s Church is (217) 267-3334.)

I have a ton of issues with this postcard and the statement on it:

  • The heading of the statement stated that it was a “public notice” from the church. The only time an entity of any kind should be sending out anything with “public notice” on it is if said entity is a government agency or other type of government entity, which is not the case in this instance.
  • There are a ton of grammar errors in the body of the statement, most notably double spacing between most of the sentences, although there are quite a few other grammar errors.
  • The statement, while asking for LGBT people to attend their church, included a ton of LGBT bigotry. Examples of this include:
    • Putting “civil right” and “marriage” in quotation marks in a manner that would imply that the church thinks that civil rights for LGBT people and same-sex marriages are somehow fraudulent in their view, which, sadly, is in line with Catholic teachings and right-wing bigotry towards LGBT people.
    • While organizations of worship, such as the Catholic Church, don’t have to recognize marriages that violate their religious beliefs, the statement implied that individual people have a “civil right” to discriminate against LGBT people, which is in line with the right-wing mindset that has also produced religious discrimination laws in states like Indiana.
    • While it is scientific fact that two people of the same gender cannot conceive children through normal means, same-sex couples can have children though other means. Additionally, marriages are not only for those who want to have children, but for any two loving people.
    • The statement claims that children “are not to be used as pawns in the homosexual culture war” and asks people to “learn more about defending your children, your faith, and your family”, which are textbook talking points used by right-wing bigots opposing LGBT rights.
  • Amidst all of the bigotry that was directed towards LGBT people in that statement, St. Mary’s called for people, “regardless of orientation”, to attend their church. This amounts to trying to welcome LGBT people to their church while, at the same time, spewing a ton of hateful remarks towards them.

To their credit, St. Mary’s does some good in the Westville community, such as serving as a polling place for much of the Westville area (although elections are administered by local election officials, not by the church) and having a Red Cross-certified disaster shelter on-site. However, St. Mary’s, like a lot of Catholic parishes across the country and around the world, has repeatedly advocated for right-wing political views on social issues.

If you want to call St. Mary’s Church in order to tell them that you’d never attend their church and complain about their statement on the recent U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality case, call them at (217) 267-3334.