Maureen On The Panel At Women Against The Machine
Moderated by former Mayoral candidate Amara Eniya, this forum introduces progressive and independent candidates for Aldermanic races across the city.
Come and hear their stories about what it means to be a woman in Chicago politics. Please join us in understanding the women who are on the front lines fighting for our communities, our city, and our future.
How I Helped Fight The Coal Plants — And Helped Us Win
Like a lot of people in Bridgeport and Pilsen, my family has struggled with respiratory problems tied to the nearby Crawford coal plant. In 2010 I read a report detailing the plant’s terrible health costs to residents, including premature deaths, asthma episodes and heart attacks every year. Beyond that, I learned the dollar costs were more than $120 million to the people in the community.
I knew this situation was wrong. I decided to get involved to change it.
That was the year I and a core group of community leaders co-founded a group called the Bridgeport Alliance and steered it to join the city-wide and Pilsen-centered efforts to end the coal plants’ costs to the community.
I had first gotten involved in the specific coal plant issue after attending Green party community meetings where I learned that Pilsen-based PERRO had been working on closing the plants for years. We first made contacts with Dorian Breuer from PERRO and then later Christine Nannicielli and her staff at Sierra Club in 2011.
I own a business, so I’m always mindful of what works for commerce. But I learned these plants were open for one reason: to sell power outside of Illinois and to contribute to an Enron-style national market for electricity. We know how Enron ended up. There was no way it was right to pay for that kind of business with the health and lives of our people.
That year, I became part of a big effort. My allies and I worked on volunteer organization, educating residents, raising awareness, collecting signatures on South Halsted, collecting photo petitions and enlisting the support of 11th Ward businesses. We were on the streets, engaging our neighbors. Our work, organized and presented as the Clean Power Coalition, culminated in a City Hall action Dec 2, 2011.
Along with the Coalition’s city-wide pressure, which included the Bridgeport Alliance, I personally asked 11th Ward Alderman Jim Balcer to sign on as a co-sponsor of the City Council Clean Power Ordinance, which was introduced in April 2010.
The Old-Boy Leadership: No-Go and No-Show
Alderman Balcer never signed on, and in fact sold out the people of the 11th Ward by delaying the vote on the Council floor twice, putting it off until after the end of the Daley administration.
Also, my election opponent Patrick Daley Thompson, at that time an executive of the South Loop Chamber of Commerce, was a no-show on the coal plants. Patrick made no appearance nor statement about the health hazards faced by the people of the 11th Ward during the entire fight. If he’s ever said anything about people in our community dropping dead thanks to coal plant pollution, I’ve never heard it.
No thanks to Thompson’s absence or Balcer’s interference, it was ultimately the threat of the City Council vote — that threat created by community pressure city-wide through our Clean Power Coalition — that eventually ended the pollution in 2012 and improved the air quality in our community tooday.
Today, as President of the Palmisano Park Advisory Council, it’s one of my greatest joys to climb the hill and look north to the now-smokeless smokestacks, take a deep breath, and remember what can happen when people get together to stop footing the bill for an operation that doesn’t even serve them.
What can happen?
We can win.
(Photo credit: ELPC.org)
NDFA Endorses Maureen Sullivan For Alderman
On Thursday night before a packed house at Chief O’Neil’s, Maureen Sullivan received her first major endorsement in her campaign for 11th Ward Alderman. Progressive political action committee Democracy For America‘s North Side chapter cast 35 votes to endorse Maureen amid wild cheers and applause.
Sullivan, who had addressed NDFA the month before, missed a unanimous vote by only one delegate who abstained for not having seen her address to the group.
At the endorsement, supporters spoke in favor of her campaign and even had some choice words for a competitor whose late-entry platform had been noticed to have striking similarities to her own. Maureen has received campaign training from DFA’s national team in the past and has worked on NDFA-endorsed candidacies including that of Rob Martwick (IL-19th) and Jay Travis.
Democracy For America is a progressive political action committee headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont and was founded by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.
Said Sullivan: “I’m thrilled to accept this endorsement and I’d also like to mention another candidate who was also endorsed that night. My congratulations go out to CM Winters, who is running for 21st Ward Alderman. She’s a friend, a fellow South Sider and a big part of the progressive wave coming to retake the City Council in February.”
Gathering Volunteers, Petitions And Momentum
The popular progressive challenger receives a sharp expansion of support, gathers volunteers
After kicking off her bid for 11th Ward Alderman one week ago, Maureen Sullivan‘s campaign is already reaching thousands of voters.
Gathering dozens of cheering supporters in front of the ailing Ramova Theater last Monday, Sullivan started things off by calling for a major change in the local political leadership, unveiling her campaign platform and promising to bring accountability to the Alderman’s office.
The message is very well-received. Online engagements are off the charts for the campaign, says campaign Communications and Policy Director Rob Warmowski.
“We’ve reached nearly ten thousand people in only the first week,” said Warmowski. “Social media, web and community channels are buzzing about her candidacy, and the conversation is in her favor. People in the 11th Ward are already excited about her thanks to her many years of community service, and people who are just learning about her are impressed by her record and platform. She’s inspiring volunteers to stand up and ask to help.”
Gathering Volunteers On The Eve Of Petition Circulation
Snagging over 600 likes on Facebook right out of the gate is great, but the campaign runs on real-world support — and that means showing up and helping out.
The campaign’s volunteer force will be hitting the streets starting this week to gather signatures for Sullivan’s position on the February 24th election ballot. Readers wishing to join up and help Sullivan get on the ballot can sign up at the campaign volunteer page.
How many volunteers does the Sullivan campaign have currently?
“Dozens and growing every day” says Warmowski. “But there’s always room for more.”
Sullivan Kicks Off Campaign In Front Of Ramova Theater
Casey Cora’s DNAChicago piece yesterday really did justice to our kickoff rally yesterday in front of the Ramova Theater. Way to pick up on the symbolism, Casey!
BRIDGEPORT — Maureen Sullivan, the homegrown activist, author, organizer and neighborhood historian, has announced her candidacy for 11th Ward alderman.
At a campaign kickoff event outside the shuttered Ramova Theater on Monday, Sullivan came out swinging against sitting alderman James Balcer and the Daley clan — political heavyweights who she said have an icy grip on the city’s oldest neighborhood.
Choosing the rundown theater as the backdrop couldn’t be more poignant.
The city-owned building is surrounded by boarded-up storefronts on an ailing stretch of Halsted Street, and it’s also located within eyeshot the 11th Ward offices and next to Cook County Commissioner John Daley’s private insurance business.
On Monday, about 50 supporters gathered outside the theater to back Sullivan’s candidacy.
Among them were Kieran Delaney, 40, a graphic designer who said he’s been frustrated with Balcer for about a dozen years.
“When we ask the alderman for anything it feels like we’re imposing,” he said.
Sullivan said she’s hoping to turn that pent-up frustration into votes.
“I know I can win. When I knock on doors in this neighborhood, this ward, people already know who I am. We went to the same schools, the same church … I love to talk directly to my neighbors. I’m not afraid to knock on doors. Knocking on doors and engaging neighbors is exactly what we’re missing in this ward. That’s how I plan to win this race,” she said.
Read the entire article here.