IL-14 Update: Perilous Times in Aurora Edition

Wednesday night, in Aurora, Illinois, at 46 W. Downer Place, the Laesch for Congress office officially opened.  We were pleased to see not just many "old hands" on deck, but a large contingent of new faces as well.  As you can imagine, this was a big event for us, most of the campaign staffers were on hand, John was there, Jen was there.  I meant to do a general update diary tonight, blog about our office opening, and invite you all to come down and visit us or call at (630) 801-8900, but something transpired here on DailyKos while we were distracted that we want to address.  

Planned Parenthood Under Attack
Being otherwise occupied Wednesday night, we weren't here to see this diary by Planned Parenthood until pretty late.  

As noted somewhere in the comments to that diary, the clinic in question is actually in IL-13, not IL-14.  Which may have many wondering why both Chris Lauzen and Jim Oberweis, Republican contenders to fill Dennis Hastert's seat, are suddenly out there trying to rouse the more extreme parts of their rabble to harass Planned Parenthood and women in general over a clinic located in Republican Judy Biggert's district.  

There is a two part answer:
1.    They are right-wing Republican nut-jobs.
2.    The bulk of Aurora, where the clinic is located, really is in IL-14.

They are trying to rouse the worst elements among their right-wing extremist followers by whipping up a little misogyny.  (GLBT and Latino communities, please note: you are each temporarily on hold as the hate-monger's target-du-jour in IL-14, but while Chris Lauzen shows a strong predilection for attacking women and may stay focused on this for a while, we are sorry to say Oberweis at least will probably be back to his old tricks attacking civil rights such as civil unions and whipping up anti-immigrant hysteria in no time at all).  But for now it's the women.  Again.

Please go to the Planned Parenthood diary for ways you can help them.  We are also looking into how our campaign can help - for instance, we have many supporters who will be picking up lawn signs in our office shortly, so we hope to bring in a supply of theirs and distribute them to Aurora Laesch supporters as well.  We'll be looking for more ways to help too, but since we know Kossacks are creative, I'd like to ask you to leave any suggestions you may have in the comments.

Fox Valley Forge Strike
I don't want to let this Labor Day Week get away from us without mentioning another local issue, the strike at Fox Valley Forge, a division of Cleveland Hardware & Forging Company, in Aurora.

On March 5, 2007 the workers at Fox Valley Forge, who have a combined 414 years of service to the company, went on strike.  The workers had voted in September 2005, 47-2, to be represented by Boilermakers Local 1600, but this was just the beginning of long, long attempt to negotiate a contract for covered employees. When the union and management were unable to reach any agreement a federal mediator began guiding the talks in October 2006.

The major bone of contention is a two-tiered wage structure, with some workers being paid an hourly rate, while others are paid per piece.  The union wants all workers paid an hourly rate.  The company is unwilling, by the way, to reach the same agreement for their Aurora facility that they reached with their workers in other facilities.

At this point, I'll just toss out a bit of info I think is rather pertinent as to why a per-piece rate is still being paid in Aurora and why the company thinks it can continue to get away with not reaching an agreement with its Aurora workers: Almost all the workers come from the same town in Mexico and now live here in Aurora.

Smell discrimination?  Call me overly-suspicious but I think I do, and, hey, since the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) is investigating this, particularly in light of the fact that the worker ethnic profile in the other two plants is not predominantly Hispanic, and there is talk of a possible class action law suit based on discrimination, I guess I'm not the only one.    

While I understand it is bad form to appeal directly for funds for a cause in a diary, there is a strike fund, so I want to offer contact info for anyone interested in either supporting the Fox Valley Forge workers or getting more information:

Contacts: Jose Luis Alcala (630) 201-1164 (English); Ignacio Galindo (630) 750-0436 (Spanish). Fax (630) 566-9877. E-mail: FVFUnionstewards at hotmail dot com
See also the strikers' MySpace page at

John Laesch in Peril?
So, these are perilous times for women and workers in Aurora.  But did you know they are perilous times for John Laesch as well?  According to Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, John is in peril.  Here's what he had to say on the heels of Hastert's retirement announcement:

"Any Democrat thinking of getting into this race does so at his or her own peril"

Yeah.  Thanks, Ken.  Am sure John Laesch, Navy vet, will be taking your warning under advisement.  In fact, I, personally, can not decide whether John is more scared of Mr. Ice Cream or Mr. Anti-Breast.  I suspect it's a toss-up.

Sometimes I think these guys are just trying to make me laugh.

On a happier note, over at Swing State, we were pleased to see John Laesch on the chart of Hot ActBlue Candidates.

Heh, but we were slightly disappointed he didn't make it into this update:

Update: Following the suggestion of an astute and loyal reader, I've added another column for the average contribution. It's quite clear that, in terms of small donors, Darcy Burner, Charlie Brown, and Donna Edwards are all basking in the warm glow of people power.

John's close, so very close, but I'm afraid you guys are just giving money to his campaign in a bit too big of amounts for him to be officially "basking in the warm glow of people power." Stop that.  

Well, ok, that may be going too far.  Don't let me discourage you from giving him a thousand if you really feel you must!

On the other hand, your five, ten, (or 14 for IL-14!) dollar contribution will help us get that "warm glow of people power" feeling, so please do send that love! And no, that is not snark.  Most of the contributions to Laesch for Congress, both in and out of district, come from a multitude of small-dollar donors - we proudly count it as a show of the grassroots support that is the driving force behind John's campaign - and that really does give us a warm glow.

Lisa Bennett
aka Downtowner
Blogging for the Laesch Campaign

Cross-posted at Fireside 14, Prairie State Blue, Diatribune, DailyKos

Tags: 2008 elections, Boilermakers Local 1600, Chris Lauzen, Dennis Hastert, Fox Valley Forge, House, IL-14, Jim Oberweis, John Laesch, Planned Parenthood, Unions (all tags)



hey you guys
everything you learned last time and the contacts you made will be an asset this time.  I think you will win in 2008, I know you will.  Keep coming back.  Eventually I will be back at work and will be able to send a donation.
Keep us up on what's happening!
by TeresaINPennsylvania 2007-09-07 07:18PM | 0 recs
Re: hey you guys

Thanks Theresa!  Your support means a lot.

We did learn oh, much, but what makes me most hopeful for the district over the long term was the amount of organizing we did.  We took a pair of new Dem state rep seats in IL-14 - previously Republican seats - and have so many Dem candidates for things like mayoral offices, county board seats, etc, in places where previously "R" was the only option on the ballot.  And 80 new precinct committeemen!  Many of them personally recruited by John, and many of them in areas where there previously was no one.

John took organizing in the district to heart at the beginning of the last race, never stopped between elections, and is still at it.  We will turn IL-14 Blue, one precinct at time I think!

by Downtowner 2007-09-08 05:04AM | 0 recs
Re: IL-14 Update: Perilous Times in Aurora Edition

So it will probably be Lauzen... since Oberweis can't seem to buy a primary, given the number of times he run and the amount of money he has thrown at the race... in IL-14.  Good Luck guys, I live in Aurora, but other side in IL-13.  I hope we can beat Biggert.  Man, do I despise her.

by yitbos96bb 2007-09-08 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: IL-14 Update: Perilous Times in Aurora Edition

Judy, Judy, Judy...yeah.  Last night I got in a comment-exchange that led to a question about Scott Harper, running against Biggert in IL-13 and turns out his website is not up yet, so I went hunting around and managed to turn up an e-mail address for him.  E-mail me at lisa at john08 dot com if you want it and I'll be happy to pass it along.

I don't know that it will be Lauzen.  There is actually a bit of an internal Republican war brewing in IL-14 from what we can tell.  The signs are subtle, but from what we see it looks like Lauzen and a "reform" element vs. Hastert/Ingemunson crowd, and since Lauzen is already taking shots at Oberweis (and Hastert) for saying that his whole intention is to follow in Denny's footsteps, I suspect they are getting ready to rip each other to shreds in the primary.

Here in Kane (I'm in St. Charles) which is the most populated county in IL-14, where Oberweis dairy products are everywhere, and where Oberweis carried the county in the Senatorial primary against Jim Ryan, the most common comment I hear from Republicans is "anyone but Lauzen."

Thanks for your good wishes!

by Downtowner 2007-09-08 07:58AM | 0 recs
harper walked through his views...

at prairie state blue, if you're interested...

by bored now 2007-09-08 09:16AM | 0 recs


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