By Jack Jodell, Nov. 16, 2011
As you are all aware, I have been pessimistically and deservedly lam-basting conservative Republicans here almost since day one. This may have led some of you to believe that I hold an especially sour outlook on the future. I assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. While the past 30 years of heavy conserva-tive, and even increasingly reactionary, influence in politics, economics, and even our mainstream media have added considerably to our ever-widening gap of wealth and have caused our current economic woes, I remain optomistic that we in rhe majority 99% WILL eventually triumph and achieve economic justice to a degree that is nonexistent today. I was very pleasantly surprised to learn last weekend on the new and brilliant Chris Hayes show “UP With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC TV about an exciting new PROGRESSIVE candidate running for Congress in the 10th Congressional district of Illinois, ILYA SHEYMAN. A first generation Jewish refugee- immigrant from the old Soviet Union, Sheyman came to this country with his parents while a small child. He attended public school here, and graduated from nearby McGill University with dual degrees in Political Science and American History. His first job was at a local Jewel-Osco store, where he became a proud member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, UFCW- Local 881. He served as an intern in then-Senator Barack Obama’s office, and in his role in Constituent Services he aided Obama’s Illinois constituents to navigate through the bureaucracy of the federal government , helping them with their questions about Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and Military Affairs aspects. As a result of his experience in public service, he was soon drawn to community organizing, much as the President had been long ago. Today, in fact, Sheyman serves as a community organizer in his home city of Waukegan, and this spark plug has already seen success in his efforts on behalf of public education. He has brought together students, educators, organized labor, faith groups, and local citizens in a fight to fix a broken education funding system that leaves far too many students behind in his 10th district. Ilya was a founding member of the Community Connection Center in downtown Waukegan, and from here has connected everyday citizens with government and social services which have helped better their lives. Sheyman was also instrumental in electing progressive candidates to all levels of government with his work at Americans for Democracy between 2006-2008. He has been a progressive activist who has definitely made a difference, and has proven to be a positive inspiration for all of us.
Ilya Sheyman’s accomplishments would be notable for a person of twice his years, but the astounding fact is that he is only TWENTY-FIVE years of age! But make no mistake: this young man is the real deal! U.S. Congressmen Keith Ellison, Raúl Grijalva, and Jesse Jackson, Jr. , pro-gressives all, each endorse his candidacy. His progressive goals are impeccable. Sheyman believes in a simple idea at the heart of progressive politics—an idea
best articulated by the late great Senator Paul Wellstone:
“Politics is not just about power and money games, politics can be about the
improvement of peoples lives, about lessening human suffering in our world and bringing about more peace and more justice.”
He has said that politicians in Washington D.C. should be fighting to create jobs, rebuild the middle class, and restore the American Dream. Instead, too many of them are busy giving tax breaks to billionaires and waging a direct assault on Social Security, Medicare, health care, and the core services our communities depend on. He is grateful for the education he has received here, and is far-sightedly concerned that continued economic disparity will destroy the opportunities which have been afforded him here – the very same disparity which is currently eradicating the middle class and adding greatly to the ranks of our poor.
THE AMAZING THING ABOUT ILYA SHEYMAN IS THAT HE IS BEING SUCCESSFULLY FUNDED BY A VARIETY OF GRASSROOTS, SMALL-DONOR METHODS, NOT BY CORPORATIONS, OR BIG SPECIAL INTERESTS! According to Open Secrets.org/, an astonishing 92% of his campaign has been funded by these small, individual contributions! That means he will be beholden to no force other than his passion to serve the diverse middkle class and poor constituents of his 10th district. Should YOU be interested in making a donation to his campaign, you can go to his website at http://www.ilyasheyman.com/ and click on the “DONATE” tab at top right. This is definitely one candidate who will provide us with a ray of hope for the future! In introducing him to the TV audience, host Chris Hayes made the very relevant point that the cynical conservative Republicans and their reactionary Tea Party extremist allies are trying to drive a wedge between younger workers in their 20s-40s, and the elderly population on the issues of Social Security and Medicare. Hr pointed out how, paradoxically, OLDER voters were the only age category for vote for Repub-lican John McCain in 2008, and that the younger age groups overwhelmingly supported President Obama. He stressed how Republicans are actively trying to eradicate Social Security and Medicare by scaring more youthful voters into believing these hugely successful programs will not be there for them once they retire. He made it clear that these conservatives and reactionaries are doing all that they can to convince younger voyers that these programs must be privatized. Then he offered us young candidate Sheyman, who definitely believes these programs should be strengthened rather than abandoned or privatized.
Sheyman’s opponent in this election, first-term Republican Robert Dold, is your typical well-funded conservative Repub-lican who has received endorsements and generous backing from both the notorious anti-tax trust-funder Grover Norquist the viciously anti-labor, pro-corporate U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many conservative special interests. As such, you know HE’LL oppose all tax increases for whatever reason and will repeatedly vote for bills which will hurt workers, the elderly, and those in need, as he’ll be voting WITH the 1% rather than FOR the 99%. The fact that Open Secrets.org/ shows him being funded overwhelmingly by LARGE individual contributions (62%) and conservative PACS (33%), and that he is heavily funded by securities and investment firms as well as insurance companies, prove that Dold is just another corporate stooge who must be defeated.
As this is a diverse swing district that thas been called the most Democratic of all the Republican-held districts, ILYA SHEYMAN HAS A VERY GOOD SHOT AT BEATING DOLD! With the Occupy Wall Street movement under establishment attack, it is now more imperative than ever and absolutely crucial that Sheyman wins this battle! He is a very fine example of an up and coming true progressive leader who is completely worthy of our support!
LET’S ALL GET BEHIND ILYA SHEYMAN FOR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, FOR THE ILLINOIS 10TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, AND OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY AS WELL!