Sunday, May 31, 2009

A glorious afternoon

The weather today was Chicago perfect and I spent much of the afternoon campaigning in the Villa Park neighborhood of my district. In all I rang 71 doorbells and found 37 people home. I introduced myself, gave them copies of my literature, and answered questions, if there were any. Some wanted to know who the encumbent was (Deb Mell) or if I was a Democrat (yes). Most just thanked me for coming by and wished me well.

A number of people asked me if had a petition to sign and I had to reply "No. I can't do that until after Aug. 1." I did find two supporters --- one who thought the Mell family was "in receipt of too many paychecks from the public coffers" and one who said "I'm just not happy with my legislator."

"Well, then," I replied, "you know why I'm running."


Yesterday the Illinois House of Representatives passed HJRCA0031, a bill that would allow the recall of the governor, by a vote of 109 for, 6 against, and 2 abstentions. Earlier in the week the Chicago Tribune wrote: “Remember last year when Democrats in the Illinois Senate robbed you of a chance to add a recall amendment to the state constitution? On Tuesday, 61 Democrats in the House did the same thing. Republicans tried to discharge a recall amendment from the Rules Committee, where Speaker Michael Madigan has buried it. They wanted to bring it to the House floor so every member could vote on the amendment, which would permit the recall of state executive officers and legislators. The vote to keep the amendment buried: 61-47.”

Here, once more, is an blatant example of legislatures exempting themselves from the laws they impose on others. As my mother would say, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

Our constitution was designed with representative government in mind. Just as citizens are the first and last voice (or should be) in the election of government officials, that voice should be allowed to recall (aka UN-elect) those same officials when necessary.

Now I want to go on record that using the recall is a serious matter and ought not to be done lightly. Still it is the right of voters to dictate who governs them and to remove those who govern badly. Having to wait for the next election is often cure enough, but as we well know, there are times when the time is now and waiting only compounds the problem.

If the legislature agrees that such an action is applicable to the governor, why don’t they agree that it ought to apply to them as well?

There you have it: One more reason to elect me to the Illinois House of Representatives. One more way that I will vote differently than my worthy opponent Deb Mell.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The campaign trail

I spent the afternoon mostly walking from voter to voter, following the list of registered voters that I have. When I ran out of literature, I came home.

I also spent more than half an hour talking with a former state representative who was helpful in giving me advice as to how to campaign, where to go, etc., and who offered to give me more help in the future. I'm not sure it's right to give his name without his permission, so let's just say it was encouraging to think that a retired politico was willing to talk to me.

For now I'll turn my mind to gardening for the rest of the day.

Saturday on the campaign trail

It's a busy day at campaign headquarters, which means that my dining room table is full of flyers and envelopes and labels. More fund-raising mailings are going out today.

The good news is that there are volunteers helping me to do all of this.

Well, in fact, they'll have to work at least some of the time today without me as I continue knocking on doors to meet my neighbors and tell them that I want to be their next State Representative.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday afternoon

Well times certainly waits for no one the campaign trail. Where did today go?

Had a long and exciting conversation with an experienced videographer who is interested in reform-minded politics and the idea of the common citizen going after entrenched nepotism.

Then I did errands so as to be able to send out my first press release and more fund-raising letters. Then it's back home to address and stuff envelopes.

Anyone interested in grass roots politics is welcome to come into the plot and help me do some hoeing.

Friday over my morning coffee

Last night at my Masonic Lodge meeting, a brother came up to me and asked if my campaign for State Rep was serious. Naturally I assured him it was. He replied "So you're going to become a politician?" I answered, "I am already one. What I want to become is an elected politician."

To do that, of course I need the help of my friends. One of the most important qualities of any campaign is credibility. Nobody likes to back a loser. As my friend's question implied, even he wanted to know that what I was doing was for real.

He had (I think) no reservations about my qualifications to serve. What he wanted was assurance that I was willing to do what it takes to win. Having affirmed that, he agreed that he would be sending a donation to my campaign.

For those who don't know me, there is one mark of credibility that will become public in mid-July. How much support do I have as measured by my fund-raising abilities. If my friends and family believe in me, then there is a clear sign that at least they see me as a credible candidate. Why mid-July?

June 30 is the end of the first semi-annual financial disclosure reporting period. For better or for worse, the hard cold numbers on that document are an indication of my credibility. When Heather Steans deposited $25,000.00 in her campaign fund, she stated to all the world that her campaign was for real and thus began her successful journey to becoming an Illinois State Senator.

I can't do that. So, as do most grass roots candidates, I have to rely on the support of my friends. As of today I have raised $3,507.47. At this rate, I'll be lucky to report donations of some $10,000.00 on my first disclosure. Not bad, but hardly credible. Anyone with political acumen will tell you that credibility comes somewhere around the $25,000.00 mark, as Ms. Steans knew so well.

Besides credibility, as if that weren't important enough, there is the reality of costs. A campaign manager will cost some $3,000 a month, an election attorney $250.00 an hour, one campaign mailing to the voters of my district about $12,000.00 -- and I'll need six to ten of them just to win the primary.

Mark my words, Deb Mell and her father are going to do everything they can to defeat me. Out-spending them isn't the only way to win, but having the money necessary to win is just as important as speaking well, campaigning diligently, aggressively meeting my constituents, and having a platform that meets the political desires of my voters. And all of that costs money.

There is no doubt that I will have to stretch, and stretch seriously to win this election. Will you "stretch" with me? If you can afford $5.00, please give ten. Make $25.00, fifty and $50.00 a hundred. Most importantly, do it now. Show everyone that you believe as I do, that Joe Laiacona is a credible candidate and has the will, the power, and the potential to win.

Go to right now to donate.



Paid for by Friends For Joe Laiacona. A copy of our report will be on file with the State Board of Elections and the Cook County Clerk, Chicago, IL. Contributions to Friends For Joe Laiacona are not deductible for federal or state income tax purposes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday at noon

Busy day.

Went to the Board of Elections first thing this morning to get some answers about filling out financial forms and making sure my literature had all the necessary disclaimers.

Read the news out of Springfield. Boy, I sure would be a contrarian this week if I were there! I'd vote against the entrenched block and make admendments that would irritate them all.

Why do those who make laws for us think they can exempt themselves from the same laws? I'd love, for instance, to have an exemption from the speed limit when I drove to Springfield.

When I got home I spent time with my first press release, readied an email list of media and edited a fundraiser and recruitment letter to send to my neighboring and fellow part-time instructors at Columbia.

Oh, yeah, I also bought a lottery ticket to help fund my campaign. I bought it with a dollar I had found on the ground.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

As the sun sets

It's been a busy day doing the nitty-gritty of campaigning -- ordering envelopes for my next fund-raiser, entering the names collected over the weekend, catching up on accounting for donations.

I had another encouraging conversation with a gentleman with experience as a campaign manager -- more leads, more ideas, more work.

and once again, the reminder that I am starting off on the correct foot, have a good grasp of what it takes, and that I need to spend 40 hrs a week meeting my voters and 30o hrs a week fund-raising.

Right now though I think it's time for dinner.

Tuesday at home

It's been a busy morning catching up on chores after Memorial Day Weekend. Enrolled nine new volunteers this weekend and donations continued to roll in.
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