Thursday, December 09, 2021

Five ward committeemen write letter protesting loyalty pledge to Chairman Preckwinkle

FWIW received this copy of this letter, dated December 9, and addressed to Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Toni Preckwinkle and Party Executive Director Jacob Kaplan. The letter is signed by 33rd Ward Committeeperson Iris Y. Martinez, 49th Ward Committeeperson Kelly Cassidy, 26th Ward Committeeperson Angee Gonzalez, 30th Ward Committeeperson Ariel Reboyras, and Raymond Lopez 15th Ward Committeeperson. I have reason to believe that this letter is genuine.

I don't know how many committeepeople object to the loyalty pledge, but this letter certainly suggests that the loyalty pledge has not exactly brought about the enhanced party unity that was intended. At least not so far.

Herewith, the letter in its entirety:

Dear Chairman Preckwincle & Executive Director Kaplan:

We, the duly elected committeepersons indicated below, object to the recent action taken by the Cook County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee.

To wit:

This past Monday, December 6, 2021, the Cook County Democratic Party sent an email to candidates wishing to file nominating papers to run in the Democratic primary election to be held on June 28 of 2022.

First and foremost it should be noted that the document titled “Potential Candidate Agreement, Promise and Pledge (herein after simply referred to as “pledge”) was conceived without the party engaging in due process or transparency in that, except for those members of the party’s executive committee, none of the other 80 Ward and Township Committeepersons were made aware that these meetings and/or deliberations were being held and that they were for the sole purpose of stifling open discourse and competition in the electoral process.

Further, it is ironic that in paragraph 1, sub-section “c”, the party talks about a “coordinated and unified effort including all 80 wards and townships and promulgating a cohesive slate of candidates rich in the diversity within Cook County without regard to race color creed, etc.” And yet, it is interesting to note that based on information and belief, this so-called pledge is designed to do completely the opposite. If, for example, women of color choose not to sign this pledge and submit it to the party bosses no later than 10:00 AM on Friday, it is implied that they will not be able to present their credentials to the Committeepersons for possible slating by the party for the offices they are seeking.

It is one thing for a slated candidate to sign the pledge once he or she has secured the party’s endorsement. It is quite another to not even be able to present their credentials because they did not sign the pledge in advance. This will have a chilling effect on those candidates that do not want to be bound by party rules in the event they are not chosen for slating. Our party does not stand for the stifling of competition. It stands for quite the opposite. An open and fair process to give every candidate the chance to be supported by the party.

Most troubling are the restrictions placed upon them pursuant to paragraph 3, sub-sections (a) and (b) as indicated in the pledge. Without a doubt this will place severe restrictions on their rights to freedom of association and assembly which is guaranteed to them under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. In fact, this kind of speech (political speech) is at the very top of the different types of speech protected under the First Amendment because it is the fundamental to the principles of a Democratic Republic.

Those restrictions in and of themselves are very disturbing to us as Democratic Ward Committeepersons. Our party has always stood as a fierce defender of our first amendment rights and to restrict an individuals rights to associate themselves with any other candidate or campaign is abhorrent to our very sense of democracy.

Therefore, we respectfully ask that the party reverse the decision made by the party’s executive committee and that this unjust and unconstitutional edict be declared null and void.


Iris Y. Martinez
33rd Ward Committeeperson

Kelly Cassidy
49th Ward Committeeperson

Angee Gonzalez
26th Ward Committeeperson

Ariel Reboyras
30th Ward Committeeperson

Raymond Lopez
15th Ward Committeeperson

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and thoughtful response by these Committeepersons. I wonder if this is just something on the surface or reflects some real ground swelling of dislike for Toni. If so, this is the first time I can recall of a public argument among this group.
We are looking forward to more coverage on this Jack