Wednesday, March 21, 2018

WBEZ: What’s A Democratic Ward Organization?

We just had an election yesterday and the day before WBEZ educates us on these fabled ward organizations. Of course to bring it down to reality your alderman may be a Democrat ward committeeman or woman - such as Ald. Roderick Sawyer (Ward 6), Ald. Michelle Harris (Ward 8), Ald. Anthony Beale (Ward 9), or Ald. Howard Brookins (Ward 21).

Another controversy to bring up is how they were able to appoint - not through a special election where the voters choose - representatives to the Illinois General Assembly for example. These organizations and the committeman who run them may not have the clout they did say during the 1960s, but they still have clout regardless.

Anyway, let's allow WBEZ to educate us
Each of Chicago’s 50 wards has a Democratic party representative called a ward committeeman or committeewoman. Elected every four years, they serve as the party’s link to the patchwork of neighborhoods and communities that makeup Chicago. In more than half of the city’s wards, the committeeman and the alderman are the same person.

“Just to open up our doors on election day, it costs you on average $10,000,” said Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward), speaking at a recent press conference to defend Pritzker’s gifts to ward organizations. The candidate gave Burnett’s own group $15,000 on March 5.

But Burnett said that’s nothing unusual and ward organizations need those donations from candidates to survive.

“You literally have to pay people to stand outside in the cold and pass out literature and convince people to vote,” he said. “Not one person is gonna be putting up a sign, not one person is going to be passing out literature for [a candidate] unless he’s paying them.”
Read the whole thing to know the history of these often little know elected offices. As you may or may not know each ward has not only Democratic committeemen they also have Republican committeeman (although for the most part in Chicago the Democrats are solidly the majority). Every year during a presidential election such as 2016 and we'll do it again in 2020 each of the 50 wards will elected a committeeman or committeewoman. As stated these positions don't have the clout they used to, but they're still very important!

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