FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2021
Press Contact: Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth | (773) 216-2067 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Indivisible Illinois Slams Machine-Controlled Appointment Process for Party Chair
CHICAGO — With Michael Madigan resigning in disgrace from one of his many political jobs, the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) must now choose a new party chair. This process remains eerily similar to what we’ve seen across Illinois this year—with Heather Steans resigning in the 7th Senate District, Representative André Thapedi planning to resign in the 32nd House District, and the revolving door of resignations of Madigan and Edward Guerra Kodatt in the 22nd House District, the secretive and Machine-led appointment process is the outrageous norm.
Instead of being a fair, democratic process accountable to voters, all major political decisions in Illinois are controlled by a privileged few. This is undemocratic and we demand a transparent and public process from our party leaders.
If Illinois wants to clear its reputation as being one of the most corrupt states in the country, we need to open this process fully to the public and get Michael Madigan’s hands out of political decisions. We can not allow the status quo to anoint another party leader in a closed back room — we need transformational change in DPI leadership if we truly want to be an inclusive party.
“Indivisible Illinois is not going to stand by and allow Michael Madigan and his corrupt colleagues to close this process once again,” says Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, co-state coordinator of Indivisible Illinois. “If they truly want to brand themselves as Democrats, they shouldn’t be hiding from the people that elected them and treating relationships with grassroots like us as purely one-way transactions to boost their own egos. The result of their poor grassroots engagement under Michael Madigan is the proliferation of backroom deals and scandals instead of investing in a needed, 102-county strategic plan with ‘off-cycle’ goals to advance democratic values at all levels of government.”
“The Democratic Party of Illinois has left out communities of color and progressive voices my entire life as Michael Madigan has been in charge,” added José Torrez, co-coordinator of Coalition for Change IL3 (CCL3). “What does it say about our so-called ‘democratic’ process if 36 people are going to choose the direction of DPI with no public meetings or input beforehand? It is laughable and an embarrassment on everyone in DPI if we are trying to plan for the future of the party and we can’t even get a public Zoom link in 2021.”
Indivisible Illinois is circulating a petition calling for open election of the party chair and many other structural reforms, which include:
- Public, in-district candidate forums before the Chair election
- Commitment to a state convention and creation of committees to ensure that inclusive and democratic processes are implemented and upheld
- Commitment to open/transparent hiring searches for the Executive Director and DPI staff
- Creation of a process for removal of indicted elected officials from governor to alderman and provide a democratic process for their replacement
“The DPI is supposed to reflect the whole state, not just Chicago and the suburbs,” says Jessica Motsinger of Indivisible Metro East. “Grassroots from the entire state need to have a say in Party matters, and we absolutely deserve transparency and a say in the selection of the next Illinois Democratic party leader. Whether that person ends up being Michelle Harris or Robin Kelly, they will have to answer to this undemocratic process unless they open it up for public participation.”
Indivisible Illinois is a grassroots coalition dedicated to protecting democracy by ensuring safe and fair elections, and holding elected officials to their oath to represent all constituents fairly. We demand transparency, inclusion and engagement from the Democratic Party of Illinois for us and for all other grassroots organizations devoting our time, money and bodies to defending our democracy.
Indivisible Illinois is part of the locally-led, people-powered Indivisible Project network, a grassroots American movement founded in 2016, with thousands of chapters in urban, suburban and rural areas, with at least two groups in every congressional district. Indivisible Illinois engages and empowers people in the Land of Lincoln, the Home of Obama, the Heart of the Midwest, to promote a progressive agenda, elect progressive leaders, and realize progressive government.